Saturday, January 26, 2008


Neon signs are always a night time treat. But this particular example is more excellent than most.

Located on Lake Avenue in Ashtabula, Albino's Meats offers deli-style service, plus full catering. The business has been a familiar sight in the city for many years. And it's neon pig is an enduring part of local folklore.

Albino's Meats & Catering
2316 Lake Ave
Ashtabula, OH 44004
(440) 997-0791


First, there was Pick 'n' Pay, a successful grocery chain in northeastern Ohio.

Then came FINAST, FIrst NAtional STores, Incorporated. They absorbed Edwards and offered shoppers in the region quality products with professional service.

FINAST was eventually acquired by Royal Ahold from the Netherlands. In 1996, the giant food retailer would make a strategic decision to merge the chain into their TOPS division, based in Williamsfield, New York.

The result was a backward march in market share. TOPS had store procedures, merchandising techniques, and advertising that were all inferior to FINAST. Sales quickly reflected this reality. Competitor Rini-Rego Stop 'n' Shop began to increase their market share in the region.

After struggling for a few years, TOPS decided that eliminating their butchers and going with a pre-packaged meat program would help fortify their profitability. It proved to be a fatal mistake.

TOPS closed their northeastern Ohio stores in late 2006. Locations like the one at 8555 Market Street in Mentor were left to sit empty - alone and forgotten. Giant Eagle purchased eighteen of the forty-six stores. But the gap in market coverage was obvious.

Giant Eagle assumed a position of dominance after the demise of TOPS. But Wal-Mart, Super Kmart, and Target all benefited from their exit.

Only one major grocery chain remained in the greater Cleveland area. It was completely opposite to the bustling days when Kroger, A & P, Fazio's, Pick 'n' Pay, Stop 'n' Shop, Bi-Rite, Valu King, and Golden Dawn battled for consumer dollars.

Only time will reveal whether another grocery chain might come to operate in our corner of Ohio. Until then, customers are faced with the sight of empty stores around the region, and dwindling choices in their neighborhoods.

“Words on the Loose”

c. 2008 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

Note to Readers: The following manuscript contains several words that may not actually be part of the English language. Discretion is advised when perusing this feature. In the event of a brain-freeze, consult your local librarian for advice and assistance.

Words are the currency of professional writing. It is impossible to pursue the craft without having a fondness for language, itself. Yet in journalism, the roster of terms is always changing. Elements used here continually evolve over time. So the commitment to self-education must endure. What the author scribbles today may be seen in a different light by future generations. Therefore, a balance is required between maintaining traditional verbiage and embracing bursts of hip lingo. Care and insight may help keep the scales level. Good instincts will make the result a pleasure to read.

This is the profession – to get the most from rowdy words on the loose.

Such thoughts were present recently, as I read a message from my father. We often trade notes and notions while browsing for untapped ideas. The shared quest keeps us focused on a similar goal – translating stories from imagination into hard text.

Last week, he offered information about a variety of subjects. The range was broad, including science fiction, folk music, pulp magazines, automotive design, and theology. But the most intriguing tidbit was about groups dedicated to charting the progress of linguistic evolution.

Words for a wordsmith. It seemed undeniably appropriate!

His useful message opened a thoughtstream ripe with potential. From the first entry, there was magic at work. I began to discover creative new words that were battling for genuine public acceptance. Typically, the worlds of business and politics have been rich with manufactured jargon. But these sources offered more. There were urban references, media blurbs, techno-shorthand, and youthspeak.

My journey as a wordsmithing detective had begun:

From: GLM – The Global Language Monitor

Smirting – The new-found art of flirting while being banished outside a building for smoking.

Ideating – Latest in a long line of verbalisms: the descendent of concepting and efforting.

Amigoization -- Increasing Hispanic influence in California, the Southwest and into the Heartland.

Menaissance – A resurgent ‘manliness’ culture or politically-correct male renaissance.

Crunk: A Southern variation of hip-hop music; also meaning fun or amped.

I paused over the last term on this list. It was strangely familiar… even to someone far removed from the edgy coolness of metropolitan culture like myself. But, for what reason? Then, I remembered that it was once a generic, fictitious expletive used on ‘Late Night with Conan O’Brien’ to avoid offending NBC censors.
A deep breath restored my resolve.

Further reading revealed more embryonic words seeking recognition. Each offered insight into the expanding nature of our cultural consciousness. In an age governed by slower forms of communication, these changes might have taken generations to witness. Yet the lightning speed of Information-Age technologies has made such actions nearly instantaneous:

From: Word Spy / Paul Mc Fedries

Affluenza - A social condition arising from the desire to be more wealthy, successful or to ‘Keep up with the Joneses.’

Agonism - An argument or debate in which the opponents use knee-jerk aggression instead of reasoned analysis.

Al Desko – Eating lunch at your desk to save time; dining ‘Al Desko.’

Actorvist - An actor who is also an activist.

Alcopop – Sweetly flavored alcoholic beverages.

Andropause – Male menopause; also characterized as a ‘mid-life crisis.’

Gotcha Day - The anniversary of the day on which a child was adopted.

Push Present - An expensive gift given to a woman by her husband in appreciation for having recently given birth.

Lifestreaming - An online record of a person's daily activities, either via direct video feed or via aggregating the person's online content such as blog posts, social network updates, and online photos.

Upcycling - A process that takes used or recycled materials and creates a new product with a higher quality or value than the original materials.

My collection of improvised verbalities was momentarily satisfying. But the page left me feeling unfulfilled. I needed to conclude the exercise in a more personal sense. These colorful bits of vernacular were precious for today. But would they survive the next wave of conversational editing?

Finally, inspiration took hold. The result was a flood of words that came more quickly than expected. It was my own interpretation of New-Century speech:

From: The Icehouse

Flappervate – To talk incessantly to the point of hyperventilation.

Titanic Seating – Membership in group failure.

Bottle Drool – The last drop of a beverage still left inside, when finished.

Plasticize – To buy with a credit card.

Friendsurf – Checking out someone’s buddy list for potential matches on MySpace.

Sideshuffle – Reassigning unproductive managers as a disciplinary tool.

Aggratize – To make someone upset or aggravated.

Mug Alert – At a party, keeping track of your guests drinking needs.

Spudderific – Having the characteristics of mainstream, midwestern life.

Gone Crispy – Worn out; tired; exhausted.

Agnostelytize – Spreading the doctrine of non-belief.

Plectrum Meister – A skilled player of guitar or other stringed instruments.

Groovage – The amount of music on a vinyl record; the amount of music on a compact disc or in an audio file.

Crabaceous – Complaining constantly.

Golden Shovel – Excellence in the ability to spread bullwaste.

Tailhead – A backward thinker.

Meterblind – Unable to read and understand evidence.

Excremental Logic – Poor reasoning.

Superiority Complex – Misguided notion of being better than others.

Pedal Forward – To take action aggressively, or with zeal.

Whratty – A whining child; one who acts like a wining brat.

Fry King / Fry Queen – An immature teenager employed in fast food retailing.

Telebot – A person addicted to watching television.

Guitarista – One obsessed with guitars.

Threevianity – A belief that the late Dale Earnhardt will one day come back to life.

Full-Case Abs – Flaccid abdominal musculature developed by drinking lots of beer.

Bricked Up – Overinflated; stiff.

NASBAR – A tavern frequented by blue-collar patrons.

Shredpacker – A smoker who makes their own cigarettes to save money.

Pump Splitter – A person who fills more than one vehicle at a time to extend their gasoline discounts.

It was late on a weekend night when I finished writing the list. Peaceful silence had taken hold with the darkness. Everyone else lay reveling in slumber. My neglected mug of coffee had gone lukewarm with disinterest. But a glow of success offered comfort. In solitude, I had finished the task.

My contribution to our national lexicon was complete!

After proofreading the document, I sent it to my father, with a note of gratitude. Somehow, I knew that before long, he would be working on a list of his own…

At last, I had earned the right to occupy my slab of bedspace until daybreak. Another day at the Icehouse home office was complete.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

“Summit at the Laundromat”

c. 2008 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

It was a frosty morning in Thompson. Mother Nature had finished with an impulsive New Year’s thaw that sent local temperatures into the sixties. Now, Old Man Winter seemed to be reclaiming his seasonal authority. Restless winds howled a warning of unmistakable fury – beware! Atmospheric change was on the horizon. Yet in the Ice Household, my focal point was more immediate in nature.


I served up a skillet of fried potatoes, eggs, grits, and sausage. The rest of our family had already surrendered to school or work routines. But my office was here, at home. So I felt no dietary guilt while considering my meal. It could be enjoyed while accomplishing tasks for the newspaper. A prayer of thanks was whispered with vittles still sizzling in the pan. And then, I lifted my fork with anticipation…


The telephone shattered my culinary vibe. After a deep breath, I lifted the receiver. “Hello?”

“Rodney!” a raspy voice cheered. “How good to find you still at home.”

My face was red. “Still at home? Umm… who is this?”

A belly laugh sounded in my ear. “Ezekiel Byler-Gregg, speaking!”

I coughed with surprise.

Ezekiel was a veteran journalist from the bygone Burton Daily Bugle. Given to farm labor before becoming a wordsmith, he had a keen sense of life in northeastern Ohio. It made him a reliable benchmark when charting local opinion. Beat writers from Cleveland to Ashtabula often sought his eclectic advice on such matters.

“It’s good to hear your voice,” I said with mild irritation. “But, I called you over a week ago.”

He sighed. “The calendar is a master for fools. Wise fellows chart their own way toward tomorrow.”

My eyes were still blurry. “Come on! You know what it means to make a deadline. Don’t tease me with platitudes. I’ve got to finish my story.”

Ezekiel lowered his voice. “Of course. We are wasting daylight. What was your need, friend?”

My mood brightened. “Okay! I’m looking for a homegrown slant on the upcoming year. We’ve got high fuel prices, mortgage woes, ongoing conflict in the Middle East, and a primary election in March. You’ll find such reports in every paper. But what do those factors mean for us, in real terms?”

He paused for a long moment. “I think you’ve missed the point.”

I was dumbfounded. “Look, Zeke. This is an incredible moment. Everything is up-for-grabs, politically, socially, economically, and perhaps… spiritually. What does that mean here at home, in Geauga?”

My compadre snorted like a bull. “You’re talking trivia to me, friend. I want you to think about greater things. The very lifeblood of our democracy!”

“Trivia??” I exclaimed.

“Matters of little consequence,” he retorted.

“Could you explain that line of thinking?” I said.

Ezekiel turned defiant. “I hesitate to speak openly, over this unprotected wire,” he said with caution. “May we meet somewhere to converse?”

I sighed. “Zeke, to repeat myself, I’m trying to finish work for the newspaper…”

He snorted again. “If you desire enlightenment, Rodney, it must come at a safe location.”

My cheeks burned. “Alright then. Where?”

The erstwhile reporter was slow to answer. Finally, he wheezed an unexpected reply. “Meet me at the Chardon Plaza Laundromat.”

I was dumbfounded. “Where?”

“At the laundry emporium, in our county seat,” he repeated, stiffly.

My disbelief could not be hidden. “Zeke, of all places…”

“Our interaction must be confidential,” he implored.

I felt a sense of regret taking hold. But it was too late for apologies. “Well then, I’ll meet you there!”

I hadn’t been to the laundromat in years. But their interior décor remained unchanged by time. Ezekiel was waiting in a far corner. As ever, he wore the traditional garb of a Mennonite farmer.

“Greetings!” he bellowed, through a thick beard of gray.

My eyes lowered with respect. “Zeke, I’m not sure if you’ve been touched by genius or insanity. But I treasure our friendship.”

He chortled. “I’ll take that as a compliment!”

“So what about the New Year?” I asked. “What about the challenges we face in Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and…”

Ezekiel pounded a fist on the folding table. “Distractions, all! There is a bigger threat on the horizon!”

“Right,” I said. “Think of the homefront first. So… how do we make sure that our county retains its integrity as a place of history and culture, while maintaining a healthy mix of economic assets?”

He grunted at my ignorance. “Talk, talk talk! You sound like a politician!”

I felt numb. “Okay, look. We’re completely out of the spotlight here. We’re buried in soapy towels and jugs of detergent. Tell me - what exactly do you mean?”

My friend stroked his salty whiskers. “I’ll respond with a question of my own. What does your beloved newspaper represent to you?”

I shrugged while considering defeat. “Ummm… it signifies liberty in action. Traditions of free speech and providing information to our citizens.”

“Yes,” he agreed. “Now tell me, who shares that zeal to serve the public?”

I fumbled for words. “Well, I suppose…”

“The answer is RADIO!” he shouted. “Our closest kin in the business of spreading news to the masses!”

I smiled at last. “Radio? I wouldn’t have guessed you’d champion that sort of technology.”

“It is a very ‘plain’ path for information, in modern terms,” he said.

“Okay,” I agreed. “But what about television?”

“By their nature, video broadcasts usually become theatrical events,” he explained. “Form easily overtakes substance in the medium. Yet with radio, the authentic nature of reporting remains!”

I nodded. “Great. So, how does that translate into a foundation for my story about the New Year?”

“How many stations do we have in Geauga?” he said, quizzically.

My brain was overtaxed. “Well… I can’t name one, actually…”

Ezekiel folded his careworn hands. “The industry is in trouble, my friend. No one makes money anymore. As a result, the variety of content has dwindled. When local outlets do exist, they often simply re-transmit syndicated material.”

I shuddered. “Zeke, you’re on to something there. I’ve got a friend who did a popular morning show in the area. But he was fired recently, when his station switched to canned sports programming from ESPN.”

“Think of it carefully,” he said. “What if your paper stopped printing county news and just ran features from the Plain Dealer with local advertising?”

“We’d soon be out of business!” I exclaimed.

He slapped the countertop. “Yes, yes, yes!”

“So, that’s more important than urban sprawl, gasoline prices, unemployment, and the race for our next president?” I said with disbelief.

Ezekiel sighed. “You can’t control any of those factors. But you can speak on behalf of brave souls like Bill Randle, Kid Leo, Wolfman Jack, or Bruce Morrow. What they gave our society was special. It was more than mere entertainment. Without authentic, live radio broadcasts, their legacy will be lost. That unique bond with listeners will be broken, forever.”

I chuckled. “The Wolfman was my childhood hero.”

“Then do your part,” he said forcefully. “Grab a microphone, and be heard!”

My newspaper feature took on a different tone after our secret conversation. Instead of reviewing challenges for the coming year, I wrote a piece that demonstrated how the Geauga airwaves might bustle with homegrown content.

The headline was an emphatic cheer: A DAY ON THE AIR AT WCDN!

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“Resolutions, Revisited”

c. 2008 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

Making resolutions for the New Year is a familiar habit. Around the globe, these goals are set with great regularity. Yet most of us fall short in terms of execution. Human nature makes it easier to promise than deliver, even to ourselves.

For this writer, such thoughts were persistent while celebrating the arrival of January 1st. I balked while thinking about oaths for self-betterment. New pledges were impossible before addressing those from the bygone year.

But… how had I done in personal terms? The answer was elusive. I needed a scorecard for real comprehension. To chart my own progress, I decided to review the list from last year. It provided an interesting look at household ideas versus actual results:

“ONE: I resolve to help clean up my environment. Thrift stores and yard sales around Geauga are always cluttered with collectable books, kitchen appliances, vinyl records, furniture, car parts, paintings, old radios, 8-track tapes, magazines, and beer cans. In the New Year I will do my best to purchase more of these items to help beautify the greater community.”

This wasn’t a difficult plan to follow. I ‘cleaned up’ several old radios, a case of dusty beer bottles, two vintage telephones, another typewriter, and lots of collectable stuff. While this activity did little to help our living space, it offered aid to communities around the county. I felt gratified as a result. Score: ten points.

“TWO: I resolve to begin recycling. Household conservation will begin with a tire-garden row around the house. Then, foil pans can replace our expensive cookware. Old sheets may reappear as ‘retro’ clothing. Discarded phone books might make excellent facial tissue! Even old tablecloths can be sewed together for use as curtains. Our careful innovations will do much to stretch household finances.”

The tire garden failed to meet wife approval. My alternative household goods were also rejected, despite abundant potential savings. Additional pleas on behalf of traditional rural culture fell on deaf ears. This resolution simply didn’t make the final cut. Score: zero.

“THREE: I resolve to be more health conscious. Typically, medical professionals focus on issues of diet and fitness when considering their patients. Too often overlooked is the need for emotional wellness. In the approaching calendar year, I promise to help address this need.”

Emotional wellness was no problem. I kept grinning with every plate of Buffalo wings. Any more happiness would have caused our favorite pizza & chicken restaurant to need more employees! Ditto for smokies, White Castle Hamburgers, and ribs. Happy, happy, happy! Score: ten points.

“FOUR: I resolve to drink more water. My doctor insists that it is the nectar of life. Therefore, I promise to chug more water, along with hops, barley, yeast, and malt.”

Bottoms up! I made sure to source my hydration from a variety of places, like Milwaukee, St. Louis, Golden, and various Canadian sites. Another resolution kept. Score: ten points.

“FIVE: I resolve to lose weight. I promise to eliminate meal portions in the interest of self-betterment. I will give up fruits completely. Ditto for vegetables. (Except celery stalks with blue cheese dressing, as a side dish for hot wings.) If this sacrifice leaves me hungry, I will simply drink more water. (See resolution number four.)”

Okay, the strategy didn’t work. But bratwurst still tastes better on the grill than tofu. I had a net loss of two pounds for the year – a solid effort, worth building on for the future. Just not enough for my wife or our doctor. Score: zero.

“SIX: I resolve to clean out my closet. I promise to donate unused clothing items to locations of The Discovery Shop. The result will be extra space, and thrifty garments for those in need!”

I actually did this, without any help from my wife. Hoo-boy! Of course, it was easy because only garments purchased in the last six months actually fit. Score: ten points.

“SEVEN: I resolve to think globally, and act locally. For the New Year, I promise to act as a goodwill ambassador for America. I will find a ‘pen pal’ in France, and send them copies of our newspaper.”

I came close to observing this resolution… several Maple Leaf issues went to friends in California and New York during the year. While the gifts did not authentically enhance our international awareness, it kept the post office busy! Score: five points.

“EIGHT: I resolve to commit more random acts of kindness. I promise to clip coupons from the ‘Country Savings Magazine’ and give them to people I don’t know.”

My acts were so random that I can’t remember them now – except for giving away copies of Davie Allan’s ‘Fuzz for the Holidays 2’ CD. And, our new ‘Thoughts At Large’ book. But the yield of goodwill was impressive. Score: five points.

“NINE: I resolve to become more politically active. Each year, Election Day typically produces a sense of frustration for our voters. We grumble with dissatisfaction, but accept the status quo without any attempt to create a climate of change. With that in mind, I hereby declare my candidacy for Governor.”

Again, Liz said no. She would not agree to making public appearances, moving to Columbus, or dressing like Hillary Clinton in the 1980’s. My dream of winning an election was stalled for yet another year. Score: zero.

“TEN: I resolve to learn a foreign language. America’s version of the English tongue has been so influenced by urban culture and technology that it often sounds like gibberish. Sports metaphors add to the confusion. High-speed linguistic abbreviations rattle anyone over thirty. In the New Year, I pledge to get a handle on this timely reinvention of how we speak to each other.”

While building a website for this column, I began to learn the strangest new language of all - HTML. (Don’t ask what it stands for.) After pondering the ‘information superhighway’ I proved that even someone raised on air-cooled Volkswagens and 8-track tapes could succeed in cyberspace. Still, ‘knowing the code’ was elusive. So I tried to guess on my own. Did it mean ‘HOPE THEY MADE LOTS’ because a mistake could blow up your personal computer? Or was it based on a programmer’s cheer of ‘HERE’S TO MILLER LITE!’ at the end of a long workday? Maybe the anguished cry of ‘HEY, THAT’S MY LEXUS!’ over a runaway vehicle? Finally, an expert advised that it was a riddle best left unsolved. I reckoned it must be like they say about hot dogs or Spam - ‘If you saw what went into them you’d never eat one again.’ I decided to be content with my ignorance. Score: ten points.

After crunching the numbers, my total was sixty points out of a possible one hundred. For a sports franchise, that would have been better than average. I reckoned it was an achievement worth celebrating… for at least twelve months to come!


Friday, January 04, 2008

“New Year: 1919, Chapter Two”

c. 2007 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

Note to Readers: After going to press last week, I rediscovered the ‘lost’ photo of our bygone Geauga Republican newspaper headquarters. It hangs in the Chardon Post Office on Center Street. The look of this visual document indicates that it was probably taken at a time close to that represented by the issue I discovered on eBay.


After studying my tattered copy of the Geauga Republican, such adventures began to seem possible. In a literary sense, I had journeyed across the last century to witness events that transpired long before my birth.

I had engaged in a backwards version of what iconic late-night radio host Art Bell calls ‘remote viewing.’

The yellowed newsprint spoke with authority about county life in 1919. It opened a portal to dirt roads, primitive lights, and developing communities that were bustling with rural enthusiasm. Yet one subject dominated the paper.
They called it ‘The Temperance Question.’

My parchment relic was dated January 29, 1919 – just after the eighteenth amendment to our constitution had been ratified. Offered was text of the measure that decreed prohibition of beverage alcohol in America would commence, twelve months later:

“AMENDMENT XVIII – (1) After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited. (2) The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

It was in a joint resolution from Speaker of the House of Representatives Champ Clark; Vice President and head of the Senate Thomas Marshall; and secretary James M. Baker.

The Republican newspaper offered a straightforward assessment of the populist groundswell and its leaders:


Astonishing Action of an Individualistic People With a Strong Sense of Personal Liberty Is Brought About by Lessons of the Great War – Additional Legislation Planned to Enforce Law – Will ‘Wets’ Contest? – Ratification Details.

“We are an individualistic people… yet here we have set out to regulate personal habit, not by statute but by constitutional amendment.
And the manner of the passing of this constitutional amendment is quite as remarkable as the amendment itself. Action on the seventeen previous amendments to the Constitution has taken between nine months and forty-three months, an average of about two years. The resolution providing for this eighteenth amendment was passed by congress December 17, 1917. On January 16, 1919, its ratification by the states is accomplished.

What has brought about this ratification so quickly? Obviously the National Prohibition party has had practically nothing to do with its accomplishment. The answer evidently is that the war has brought it about.

Prohibition (is) both an economic question and a moral question. The war set the American people to looking at prohibition from both viewpoints. We got accustomed to the thought that grain was better eaten as food than swallowed as liquor, inasmuch as we were told that food would win the war. We saw what the enforced sobriety of military service did physically, mentally and morally for young men who had indulged in liquor in peace times.

Some of our allies got into the war in a hurry because they had to – Belgium and France to save their lives, Great Britain to save its national honor. America took its time – a long time – and gradually worked itself up to the determination to fight. Doubtless much consideration of prohibition was a part of this slow process. So that when the opportunity came the states of the Union went over the top just about as the American marines and doughboys did in the Argonne.”

The Republican’s outlook was unexpected, and interesting. What they noted was the rise of a kind of activism that would shape our country throughout the Twentieth Century. We were changing from a nation founded on libertarian self-reliance, into a modern republic with strong centralized authority being wielded in the name of goodness.
Even then, controversy afflicted the political proceedings. The report continued with details from Capitol Hill:

“Senator Morris Sheppard of Texas, author of the amendment, holds that national prohibition will go into effect January 16, 1920, certification and announcement of ratification being merely a matter of form. It is needless to say that the wets do not accept this view and that effort to delay the formal proceedings will be made, preliminary to contesting the legality of ratification.”

Ohio figured prominently in the movement. Both the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and The Anti-Saloon League began their odyssey on our soil. So the Republican had great cause to print an extensive background view for its readers:

“When the movement which has now brought about prohibition began in the United States it was called the ‘temperance movement’ and the phrase ‘temperance question’ embraced all the problems in connection with the use and abuse of alcoholic drink. Temperance, of course, primarily means moderation, while prohibition, as used in this connection, means a form of sumptuary legislation abolishing the manufacture and sale of alcoholic liquors. In the early days, ‘temperance’ was loosely used; sometimes it meant moderation and sometimes total abstinence. Many of the first crusades were against ‘spirits’ – distilled liquors as distinguished from wines and beer. Early temperance pledges were often framed to draw this distinction. However, the word temperance as used in the titles and constitutions of reform organizations soon came to mean total abstinence.

This temperance movement, which shows signs of bringing about prohibition in many parts of the world, began in the United States. The temperance pledge was in existence before 1800. Possibly the first temperance society was organized by the farmers of Litchfield county, Connecticut, in 1779. In 1808 a society was formed in Saratoga county, New York; the 43 members were pledged not to drink rum, gin, wkisky, wine or distilled spirits except by a physician’s advice, in illness or at public dinners, under penalty of 25 cents.

The Massachusetts Society for the Suppression of Intemperance was organized in 1813. The American Temperance society was founded in 1829. Thereafter organizations of various kinds came thick and fast, many of them securing large memberships. Among them were the Sons of Temperance of New York (1842), Order of Reachabites (1835), Society of the Washingtonians (1840) and Good Templars (1851).

In 1873 began the Women’s Temperance crusade in Ohio. Women held prayer meetings in saloons in this campaign against alcohol. This movement grew so strong that in 1874 in Cleveland the National Woman’s Christian Temperance union was formed.”

While it was an exercise that failed ultimately, the temperance movement demonstrated how political action could affect public policy with sheer determination. It also indicated that there were limits to the ability of our federal government to shape citizen conduct. Given enough time, American liberty surpasses all else with dependable regularity.

My episode of time travel had been rewarding. I was grateful to the yonder journalists who composed my issue of the Geauga Republican. Only one question remained – what local item would appear next in the commercial cyberworld of eBay?