By William Thomas
Could there possibly be a better name for the world’s oldest clown than “Creeky”? I don’t think so. Funny thing is, the nickname did not emanate from his arthritic knees or his achy, breaky back. Floyd “Creeky” Creekmore was 98 when he passed away last month at his home in Billings, Mo. Honored to be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as The World’s Oldest Performing Clown, Creeky was still making ‘em laugh at 95 years old.
A former cattle rancher, he traded the saddles and spurs for the rubber nose and orange wig in the 1980s and he never looked back … except for that time the lion got loose and mistook Creeky for a slow-footed but tender gnu.
Creeky was a juggler and a magician and, as such, quite adept at tying two scarves together and suddenly separating a very surprised woman from her brassier. A kind man, Creeky disliked only one group of people – feminists, because they didn’t wear bras which always ruined the trick.
Creeky cut back considerably on circus appearances after his 96-year-old wife, Betty, passed away. It’s likely Betty fell for the whoopee cushion trick over three thousand times. Her nickname was ‘Betty The Boomer.’
Creeky joined the Shriner’s Circus after he gave up the farm, performing in big top acts, making personal appearances, electrifying kids’ parties and walking thousands of miles in Shriner parades to raise money for hospitals. The man with the white face and red lips liked to say he ran away with the circus when he was twelve, but the police made him bring it back.
Creeky’s gone, but hardly forgotten, and I can only imagine what the funeral of the world’s oldest clown would look like.
Outside the funeral home, the American flag would be flown at half-mast just like the zippers of all the clowns who attended.
Approximately 150 professional clowns would attend Creeky’s funeral and they would all arrive in the same hearse. Mourners would give them a standing ovation for the best clown car stunt ever!
Creeky would have been given a crazy and colourful sendoff complete with a “21 Honk! Honk! Salute.”
At the end of the tribute, a loud explosion would send Marvin the Human Cannonball flying high and inelegantly over the funeral procession. This would be the highlight of the burial ritual until it ended badly in a death spiral at a Tim Horton’s drive-thru four blocks away.
Inside the funeral home, Creeky would have been sealed inside a closed coffin right up until Mandrake The Magician found a way to open it in under ten seconds.
They struggled and Lord knows they meant well, but the fact is the coffin with Creeky inside would crash to the ground several times when several of the clown pallbearers tripped over their floppy shoes.
There wouldn’t have been a wet face in the whole place because each person had just one tear drop painted under the eye. Real tears make the face pain run so no, crying is not allowed at the funeral of a clown.
It’s just as well nobody cried because at the beginning of the funeral service Binky The Clown had already made over 100 hankies disappear.
The younger performers in the crowd of mourners were told they had big shoes to fill but really when it comes to replacing clowns, who doesn’t?
It would be the only funeral in recorded history where two guys on unicycles were chased around the funeral home by a Saint Bernard wearing a tight-fitting dress.
Somewhere in the funeral home a diminutive fortune teller named Esmeralda would mysteriously disappear, prompting the public address announcer to warn guests that there was a small medium at large.
A mime delivered Creeky’s eulogy. It went on for three days.
Creeky had been a dedicated clown. He wore polka-dot pants and a pointy hat, a bow tie and really loud socks so his feet wouldn’t fall asleep.
And the people, they looked up to Creeky but mostly when he was walking on stilts. He loved it when the circus went on the road but he never much liked rooming with Mister Extinguo – “The man who put out fires with phlegm!”
Creeky The Clown brought joy and laughter to millions of people, he entertained hordes of giggling children under the big top and he never once rear-ended another Go Kart in the Shriner’s musical ride. And what did Creeky ask for in return? As the minister who presided over the funeral of “Chuckles The Clown” said: “A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.”
So long, Creeky, and give St. Peter a wedgie for us all.
For comments, ideas and copies of The True Story of Wainfleet, go to www.williamthomas.ca