|Grand Lodge of Missouri A. F. & A. M.|
I'd like to thank the editor Steve Harrison for affording me that honor--I get the magazine each month as a member of the Missouri Lodge of Research, and it's always full of great articles. And I've got a few Mason friends over there, and it was fun to contact them all and ask if they'd gotten their magazine yet (it's on page 70 in case you missed it).
I knew it had been mailed one day last week when all the sudden my email was full of messages from Missourians. I got home that night and my wife said somebody from Missouri had left a message for me on her phone. His name was Paul Creason (there was something very familiar about that name). So I called him. Of course we tried to figure out if we were related first, and we probably are considering his sense of humor, but we couldn't make the connection, so we just started talking. Then Paul got telling me his story. And what an interesting story it was.
Now I've met a lot of interesting people since I've been a Mason, but I have to admit, Paul is the only retired human cannonball I've ever known. That's right. He was a circus performer. He performed with the Zacchinni act, and if you know anything about circuses, you know that legendary name. Ildebrando Zacchinni invented the human cannon, and his son Hugo was the first human cannonball (Ildebrando was obviously smart enough to invent the cannon, and smart enough not to test it on himself).
This invention lead to generations of Zacchinni human cannonball performers, and for many years, my new friend (and possibly distant relative) Paul Creason performed in that act as Paul Zacchinni. As he pointed out, the stage name didn't fool too many. After talking to him a few minutes, it was pretty obvious to anyone that he wasn't Italian--he was pure Missouri Hillbilly (those are his words). And of course Bro. Paul Creason performed in many a Shriner's Circus during his long career.
I had a great conversation with Paul "Zacchinni" Creason. It never ceases to amaze me the people I've met over the years and gotten to know just because we share one thing in common--our fraternity. We're brothers, one and all, connected by that one shared experience.
There's a great video of Paul Creason being fired from a cannon at the Yesterday's Town blog--scroll down the page until you get to Circus America #18: Cannon Act. I'm thinking about trying that out--wonder if Paul could set that up for me. That would sure cut down on my commute time... well, at least once.