Saturday, March 26, 2016
Roll on, Big O....
The mind's a funny thing.
When I was in Japan, I saw Lawson stores everywhere; they're the second most popular convenience store in Japan, after 7-Eleven, with some 11,000 outlets all over the country.
And I immediately knew I was familiar with them. That before 7-Eleven, before White Hen, there had been Lawson's in Ohio, where I grew up.
Lawson's began as a dairy in Akron, Ohio, in 1938. As the stores spread, they threatened the milk man monopoly -- you didn't buy milk in stores, y0u had it delivered. Lawson's began the practice of selling milk in gallon jugs, and battled milk inspection laws as they spread their stores —as many as 700 in Ohio and three neighboring states, 200 in the Cleveland area alone. They also fought the Ohio blue laws that kept stores closed on Sunday.
But I really didn't think about their sudden appearance all around me. I hadn't seen one in decades. Lawson's sold out to Dairy Mart in 1985 and the stores were renamed. I hadn't seen the familiar, comforting, familiar, fat white milk bottle on the blue shield in 30 years. But I instantly accepted its presence, a survivor in the Far East.
All I thought was "What a great logo."
It wasn't until I got back home that the full memory returned. We were having breakfast Sunday morning. Edie had set out some orange juice, a new brand, and I was reading the ballyhoo on the label. "Squeezed daily" it said.
Rollllllll on, Big-O,....
Suddenly, I was hearing music in my head.
Get that juice up to Lawson's in 40 hours.
A TV commercial, making heroic "The Big-O Orange Run," rushing fresh orange juice up to vitamin C deprived Ohioans.
Now one man sleeps while the other man drives, on the non-stop Lawson run.
Of course the commercial is on-line.
And the cold, cold juice in the tank car caboose, stays as fresh as the Florida sun.
Now we're used to living in a small world. If our roses come from South America, our bricks from China, well, that's how it works. But once upon a time racing that OJ up from Florida was a big deal. It was something to sing about.