Uncle Albert and the Elephant

Jul 21, 2011

Albert was one of eight children of William and Emilie Zehnder, the founders of Zehnder’s Restaurant. Every family has one…if there was mischief or shenanigans, everyone knew that somehow Albert was involved. He just was that kind of a kid with a mind of his own. Every year the circus came to Frankenmuth and even though the Depression times were tough, Grandpa Zehnder made sure that all of the kids got to go to the circus. The whole family would get up extra early and watch the circus parade into town.

They’d watch as the animals were taken from their trailers and especially liked to watch the elephants erect the gigantic three ring circus tent. One day in school, (it was a one room school back then), Teacher Rogner was talking about Africa. He told the students that the largest land animal was the elephant and that when elephants grew to adult size they were so heavy that they couldn’t lie down because they weighed too much to get back up. Well…immediately, eight your old Albert’s hand shot up and he said, “Teacher Rogner, you are wrong, we go to the circus every year and I watch the big elephants lay down and get up all the time”. Teacher Rogner responded that Albert was wrong and he was correct. Albert’s brothers and sisters knew that Albert was right but they were all too afraid of Teacher Rogner to say anything. Albert, with a determined look on his face, again repeated that grown elephants can lie down and get up – for which he was promptly paddled by Teacher Rogner. Albert accepted his paddling, without a single tear and stood by what he knew to be true. That was Uncle Albert!

Summer not only brings the circus to town, but it is also that time of year when the bounty of nature is at its best. Here in Michigan, we are blessed with fresh fruit of all varieties. What better way to savor these flavors than to make fresh fruit vinaigrettes that can be used for weeks and months to come. At Zehnder’s, we make all of our fruit vinaigrettes. When I’m asked for the recipe, most folks are surprised at how easy it is to make. Click here to purchase the recipe from Zehnder’s cookbook of Iconic Recipes.


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