Saturday, May 6, 2017
Saturday fun activity: Where IS this?
Dropping the Saturday fun activity must have been a good idea, because nobody ever mentioned it, never mind complained, and I never gave the change a second thought.
Until Monday. My pal Bill Savage, Northwestern literature professor, baseball scholar, and salvager of lost works, was talking about the Women's Christian Temperance Union and prohibition at the Whiskey Thief bar in Evanston. I thought I'd slide by for illumination. I enjoyed listening rather than taking notes, so can only touch upon how he wove the national drive against alcohol to class, culture and politics.
Let's put it this way: the goal wasn't so much to suppress booze as to thwart the sort of people who drank it.
The talk was to promote publication of George Ade's "The Old-Time Saloon," a 1931 celebration of drinking establishments that Bill rescued from obscurity and released, with the help of the University of Chicago Press, including his own sharp forward and notes.
When Bill was done, I thought I would lead the charge and buy a copy. The trouble was, I already have two copies of my own. A dilemma I brushed aside by rationalizing that I could give the book away here, by reviving the contest just this once. I asked him to sign it to the winner and he did.
A toughie, I know. But one reason I was so happy about scrapping this is that you guys always solve it within the first 10 minutes. Not so, I have reason to believe, today. Where is this charming old car dealership sign? Because it is so difficult, I will give a hint: it is more than 80, but less than 100 miles from Chicago. The prize is a funny, thought-provoking and timeless read and well worth the effort. Good luck.