Broadway Prohibition Days
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Brown Paper Bags 4

The Big Apple

Prohibition DaysVivid memories of my apprenticeship on Broadway during the prohibition in New York City often called "The Big Apple," as a strapping eighteen year old came flooding back. New York was at that time the most densely populated city in the United States and a global powerhouse. It boasted a fast pace in all aspects of commerce, media, fashion and entertainment. My boss had sent me out with, "small tokens of our appreciation," little alcoholic gifts distilled, bottled and wrapped for our very best customers all in little brown paper bags. Some recipients were mayors and prominent business people.✞

Two Cases of Bourbon

Chrysler BuildingMy two suitcases of bourbon in brown paper bags seemed to weigh a ton as I hauled them into a cab outside our Whitehall Office Building. Hearing the chink of bottles, the driver suspected what I carried. He joked, "Got a precious load there, hey?" but I didn't respond for the jingling cargo at my side occupied all my thoughts.✞

A Quarter Tip

BroadwayPulling up outside Grand Central Station, the cabby opened the door and as he did, I started to tip him the usual quarter. With a disbelieving look at the solitary coin in his palm, he spat, "How rotten can you get?" Reeling from the harsh memory of that rebuke, I was suddenly shaken back to the present reality. Closing the office door quickly, I turned toward the elevator. Soon, I was hurrying along Broadway, caught up again in the teeming impersonal life of the noon rush hour.✞

Thank You Jesus

Cathedral in New YorkAs I jostled through the crowds, my mind recalled that decisive day when I resigned from my office job to start out on a glorious new adventure. The traffic roared, horns honked, a subway train screeched, but in my heart I sang out, "Thank you, thank you, Jesus!"

"Broadway Prohibition Days"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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