The Flying Wallendas ... they fly through the air with the greatest of ease those daring young men on the Flying Trapeze.
Delilah, beautiful, vibrant, light, breezy and clever. It was hard to believe that this lovely woman could actually be a grandmother but the fact was she’s not only a grandmother but a high wire artist as well. A member of the famous "Flying Wallendas" that performed world wide and astounded audiences with their tempts of fate. Perched high above the ground the Wallenda family do their amazing acts of showmanship, flying from trapeze to trapeze, twirling, turning and somersaulting through thin air. But this is not their only fame, the Wallendas are especially famous for their performances on the high wire, far above the ground and without a safety net. Risky? Definitely ! However these are professionals, the Wallenda are artists that never take their skills lightly, theirs is a life of constant practice, practice and more practice. Performing high in the air is in their blood and the gene, if one wishes to call it that, is passed on from generation to generation.
In 1978 Karl Wallenda, the patriarch of the Wallenda family, performed in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It would be a performance that no one would forget, one that would make news world wide. Karl would plummet to his death ! 73 years old at the time, Karl was sharp, stable and knew what he was doing, his death was not caused by diminished abilities but by improper rigging. Rigging is the link between life and death for a high wire artist, just one cable not in the proper position or not tighten enough could spell tragedy.
I first met Delilah in the early 90’s at the Palm Aire Country Club and Restaurant where she worked as their charming hostess. She was one of those rare dark haired beauties that turned heads when she walked by and whenever her name Wallenda was mentioned people would quip; "Oh are you one of the Flying Wallenda’s ?". To which she’d respond; "Yes I am". You could only imagine the jaws that dropped. "Are you serious?" Delilah would smile ever so sweetly and explained that she is the granddaughter of the famous Karl Wallenda and that , yes, she performs on both trapeze and on the high wire.
Tonight, June 22nd, the Discovery Channel will be airing a new series about "Life on the Wire", a true reality series featuring Karl’s descendants his great-grandson, Nik Wallenda and Nik’s mother, Delilah Wallenda. The first episode airs at 10 PM tonight and will take the audience back to San Juan where the grandson Nik will walk across a 300 foot long cable, stretched across a span between two tall buildings, 100 feet above ground ... Delilah will accompany him.
I intend to watch this show as I’ve never seen Delilah perform before. Though it was well known that at the Wallenda house their backyard was home to a full rig of trapeze and high wire equipment and that at certain times the public could witness them during practice sessions. I was never so fortunate to witness this, each time we drove by their home I’d glance into the tree tops to see the high wire rigging empty but filled with promises of an amazing family with incredible abilities.
If you can I suggest you tune in the program, I have a feeling Nik Wallenda will be making his great grandfather very proud.
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