THE ICEMAN COMETH

For purposes of this brief little missive, the posthumous forgiveness of Eugene O’Neill for my borrowing of his book title is appreciated.

I was engaged yesterday with one of my readers (in fact, I have dubbed him my #1 reader) who remembers talk of the iceman. Bob is comfortably my senior.

You may even ask what is, or was, the iceman ? Few of us will remember the days before the refrigerator, but indeed, quite older folks did not have them. In fact, yesteryears’ potato salad was kept chilled not in a refrigerator, but in an icebox.

Blocks of ice were stored in a cabinet (icebox) that stored food at a chilled temperature. What happened in a week or so when all of the ice in the icebox melted?

Fear not. The Iceman cometh! On his horse drawn wagon, he ventured from house to house with a new load of ice blocks. If your house was included on his route today, your icebox was replenished ( with ice, not food).

Some obvious questions are evoked. Where does the Iceman get his ice in the summertime?

Refrigeration is not invented yet.

WELL, don’t think the Iceman hasn’t thought of that ! It’s why God made winter. The Iceman is out there, two horses pulling the wagon across the frozen solid surface of the river. He then saws ice into manageable sized blocks, loads them on the wagon and hauls them to his little, insulated storage building.

How is the building insulated? Insulation wasn’t invented yet.

Don’t think the Iceman hadn’t thought of that. The sides and roof of his little building are stuffed with sawdust. It’s just as effective an insulation. The ice lasted, even through Summer.

Then there is the proverbial joke about about the milkman; the kid in X or Y family who looks remarkably like the milkman who frequented local homes weekly.

Well, don’t think the Iceman hadn’t thought about that !

P.S… In earlier days, America built refrigerators as well as she did farm tractors. My folks purchased a used Kelvinator. They brought it home, plugged it in and it ran for thirty years. After that, the sold it : USED.

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