Tale of 'growlers' touches readers' memories


September 04, 1991|By ROB KASPER

Today we are dealing with growlers, a guy called Gomer, creeping humor and theories of ice-cream eating.

All this came in the mail, in the form of handwritten communications. In a time when stacks of computer-generated mail descend upon anybody with a mail box, it is a pleasure to spot an envelope that has been addressed by a person, not a computer printer.

Inside such envelopes are usually honest messages, artfully stated.

I think it is called letter writing. My mother keeps telling me I should try it sometime.

Night of the growler From: Marie Storm, Towson

Re: Column on beer container called "growler."

Dear Happy Eater,

Such fun to read about the growlers, what memories.

I was born in 1917 and raised across the street from a Seitz Brewery in Easton, Pa.

I can still recall the night . . . when Prohibition was repealed, there was such a celebration on our street. Trucks from as far away as North Carolina lined the streets waiting for beer.

Prohibition meant very little to the brewery.

Even during Prohibition, the use of growlers was common in our neighborhood and the phrase "rush the growler" meant it was time to have it refilled. On Saturday morning, you set your empty growler out on the doorstep. By noon it was back, full of beer. Beer that had a head on it that stayed.

Thanks for some pleasant memories.

South Baltimore growled From: Nancy Clift Whitford, Baltimore.

Re: Growler column

Dear Happy Eater,

I read with interest your column on growlers. I don't know where the term originated, but I do know that my mother and father, both from South Baltimore, talked about the men carrying their pails to the corner saloon to get their beer. My folks said they were "rushing the growler."

Eater Replies: Those were the days when growlers were made of metal and rumbled or "growled" as they scooted across a bar. Nowadays the containers of fresh beer, sold in Baltimore at Sisson's and at Baltimore Brewing Company, are made of glass and make little or no noise as they traverse the bar. Recently, however, I got a growler of wheat beer. It was so strong that it made my innards growl.

Gomer nails it From: Ed "Gomer" Moody, Kansas City, Mo.

Re: Comments on column admitting that when I was back home for myparents 50th wedding anniversary party, I followed my yuppie instincts and bought too much wine and too little brown booze from Gomer, a fellow who runs and liquor and ran for mayor in Kansas City.

Dear Happy Eater,

A good customer sent me your article on your visit to KC -- very interesting. I wish you had asked one of our experts about what you needed for the 50th anniversary party. We usually nail it pretty good.

You might like to know while I finished 5th in the mayor's race, I only spent $10,000 and received 8,000 votes. My opponents each spent over $500,000 and received only 20,000 votes.

Not bad for my first run at office, with no formal backing. Especially for a guy named Gomer.

Eater Replies: I get the feeling that while this "guy named Gomer" (whose real name is Ed) may give the impression that he is "rough as a cob," he is really "sharp as a tack."

English creeping here From: Priscilla R. Evans, Baltimore

Re: Column on ice cream sundae

Dear Happy Eater,

In your column, you wrote "and things like nuts 'creeped' into the dish." I wasn't sure whether or not this was intentional, an example of humor. However, the past tense of creep is crept.

Eater Replies: While all attempts at humor are intentional, all grammatical mistakes are not.

Ice cream is slow food From: Leonard J. Levy, Rockville

Re: Column on finishing last in Lexington Market's speedy ice-cream-eating contest

Dear Happy Eater,

Ice cream was not created to be eaten quickly, never was, never will be. Ice cream is to be savored, spoon by spoon. If the people who sponsored this event wanted a proper contest, they should have seen who could eat the most ice cream, or who could get the most pleasure out of eating a large sundae.

Eater Replies: Philosophically, you're right. And competitively, if I find an ice cream contest that scores by the "pleasure principle," I may have a shot. But if the contest rewards speed, I am sucking syrup.

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