by Derrick Lesnau
Almost everybody I know has a firm stance on how they feel about clowns. Either they enjoy their goofy costumes and good-natured shenanigans, or they are straight-up terrified of them. The latter is usually a result of some childhood experience involving a scary event at the circus or, such as in my case, due to the 1982 movie, “Poltergeist” (1 of many Craig T. Nelson blockbusters). Another adolescent fear resulting from this movie came from my childhood bed being next to a window with a giant tree outside of it…..but I digress.
If you’ve seen the movie, my association of the movie with the fear of clowns needs no explanation. If you have not seen the movie, then you’ll just have to ask somebody to explain it to you as I don’t want to relive the scene from the movie. Now I’m not saying I suffer from Coulrophobia, which would make working at Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) very difficult. If you’ve never been to RMHC, Ronald McDonald (a statue, not the man himself) greets you while sitting on a bench outside our main entrance.
Ronald McDonald, though, seems to be the 1 exception to this fear of clowns. How can anybody be afraid of the red-headed clown that offers Fun with a side of McNuggets?
Well later this afternoon, Ronald McDonald (the man himself, not a statue) will be visiting the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) here in Austin to visit with the families and children staying here. It’s always fun to have Ronald here at the RMH and to watch him interact with the parents who have kids in local hospitals. Even grown adults turn into little kids when Ronald enters the building and you see a brief moment when parents are able to take a break from their daily stresses and worries and act like care-free kids as Ronald juggles, makes balloon animals and offers a few funny jokes and pranks. And the kids’ reactions to Ronald are priceless. Most are shy at first, but take only seconds to warm up to Ronald’s welcoming personality. I know there are several moms, dads, and kids who can’t wait for that brief moment of levity during this stressful time.
I just need to make sure Ronald’s ready to come to Austin again later this year for the opening of our new Ronald McDonald Family Room at Dell Children’s Medical Center. Woops……this was way more than 2 lines.