When I was about six, my parents took me to a three-ring circus. It was loud, There were animals. The smell of popcorn was in the air.
One of the circus workers came through the stands, looking for children to come onstage (can you call a three-ring circus a stage?) during the last act.
She was offering nifty plastic hats in exchange for our participation. She said we would get to ride the elephant! (Or maybe it was the ponies..?)
I really wanted to — the prospect of riding large animals was very enticing — but I was too shy. Instead, I watched the other kids scamper onto the floor.
There was no riding of large animals, but I still regretted that missed opportunity. It was offered up on a platter, and I refused it, simply because I was scared.
It was a good lesson at age six.