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Today, the circus came to our small town. In winter, the Kelly Circus lives in Hugo, Oklahoma during the winter. All circuses follow the sun, so to speak. They start south and move north as the cold retreats. In fall, they reverse and go back south again. Circuses like this one have traveled all over America for over 100 years. Ever since trains were invented, the ability to move many animals and circus performers all over the country became a booming business.
The big, three ring circuses got to only the big cities. They still use trains. But small, one ring circuses go to small towns. And Berlin is about as small a town as one can find on a map. Every year, the circus visits us for only one day. They arrive in big trucks and vans and quickly set up the tents on a mowed field in the center of town.Families live together in these big trailers. Some people live in smaller vans. They never stay in one place but travel every other day. This way, they visit over 200 towns each summer.
They don't have any lions, tigers or bears like the big circuses but they do have some very big animals. Here is the tent where the big snakes live. I noticed they didn't have a gypsy moth tent. I find them much scarier than mere snakes. I have snakes here on the mountain. The all live in the stone walls and slither across the grass. Along with the hop toads. None of our snakes get very big. It must be the super-cold winters when they must hiberate and loose weight that cause this.
Houdini the Burmese python gave his owner a shock after swallowing a queen-size electric blanket, including the electrical cord and control box.Needless to say, Houdini didn't visit Berlin today.
Emergency surgery was required to remove the blanket and tangle of wires that x-rays showed was running through 8ft of the python's 12ft (3.6m) body.
There is a very friendly camel that children can ride. The camel even gave the young man handling it a kiss and it begged to be rubbed behind the ears. This looks like a nice summer job, no? Camels don't live here in New York. They prefer the desert and the hot sun. They would be very unhappy living in snow drifts.
Then there were the little ponies. The little girl holding the spray bottle works with her mother, running the pony-go-round. She keeps the bugs off and grooms the ponies. She also gives them treats. She gets to see a lot of America and has probably slept in more towns in one year than most of us will in our entire lives.
And here is a fine example of the present leadership in America: elephants on their stomachs. The elephants are the biggest of all the animals in this small circus. They give children rides going round and round inside the circus tent. They also perform tricks during the shows. The elephants are bigger than my ox team, Chip and Dale. But like my oxen, one gets them to do things by touching them with a stick and talking to them. 'Back, back, step back,' for when one wants them to go backwards, 'gee' for turn right and 'haw' for turn left. 'Kneel' and 'Stand up' are obvious. When these large animals are babies, one trains them to respond. Teaching adults is very hard, ask your parents!
Next year, the Kelly Circus plans on coming back. We hope. See you all next summer, when the crickets chirp and the frogs ribbet.