When The Elephants Took A Bath

It was a beautiful June morning in 1911.  As we were finishing our breakfast, our Dad, Anton Carlson, said, "I have a surprise for you.  We are going into town to see the circus parade at 11 o'clock, so hurry and do the dishes.  We must leave at nine o'clock."  Well, the dishes were not a drudgery that time.  We girls always had to do the dishes and it was not exactly what we loved to do the best.

Dad hitched up Birdie and Polly to the double-seated buggy and we were off to town in our best dresses, which Mother had sewed for us.  But we needed new shoes, so our first stop was at the Larson Store.  There and then I got my first pair of patent leather slippers.  How dressed up I felt! Mother and Dad were busy visiting with friends and acquaintances that they had not seen for some time.

To us children, it seemed such a long time before the circus parade finally started to come through Main Street.  How exciting to watch the wagons with their lions and tigers locked safely inside of barred cages; the clowns with their funny mannerisms; that loud steam organ; all the nicely dressed-up horses with pretty girls riding them; and last but not least the dozen or more elephants - each one wore a brightly colored blanket and rider too.  This was something we children never forgot.

Much later as we drove home past the Dyson place east of Cooperstown, we noticed our horses started to snort and get very excited.  Then we noticed in Dyson's slough east of his barn and along the "State Road" - as it was called then, that the circus people were watering their elephants.  The elephants not only took a drink but also a bath.  What a racket they made as they threw water into the air and over themselves! It was something to behold.  Dad had quite a job to settle down the horses, as they were so frightened.  But Dad was a good horseman so we never had a runaway and we arrived home again with never-forgotten memories.

Caspara Aarestad

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial Page 253

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