Tofik Ahsmel


I remember back in the early 1930's when the Syrian peddlers would come to our place to sell their wares.  One of these was a very nice, gentle and well-liked man, Tofik Ahsmel, (also spelled Asmael) We, here at the Osmundson farm, always called him Tofik.

Recently, Ruth, Anna, and I talked a little about Tofik, and they told of how excited they would get when Tofik came here with his buggy, pulled by a brown horse called Ruby, and of how anxious they were to see what he had for sale in his trunks, and what a nice, clean smell the various cloths, tablecloths, scarves, and other wares had when he brought them out for inspection.  Yes, I can also remember when he came to our home.

Ruth and Anna also mentioned that there was a period of a year or two when Tofik didn't come to our place, and this had seemed so strange.  Pa and Uncle Ole (Aslak and Ole Osmundson) had met Tofik somewhere, and he said that one of the other peddlers had told him that he would be harmed (presumably by us) if he came here again.  Of course he was then told by Pa and Ole that this was nonsense, and so Tofik came to our home again, and was thoroughly welcomed.  There was one of those peddlers who was known to be a troublemaker.

My mom used to tell about the time Tofik came to the farm of her brother, Andrew Larson, and for some reason Andrew and Tofik went driving with the horse and buggy.  For some reason the horse started a runaway with Tofik driving, and then he hollered to Andrew, "Andrew, you got family, you jump out!" meaning that to stay with the buggy would be certain disaster.  Both of them lived many years after that adventure.

Other oldtimers around here could tell much more about him, I'm sure.  I can say that I'm proud of having known him, and I'm glad that Tofik came to our home.

Allen Osmundson

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial page 52

News & Events