Of all the display advertisements in the Winter 2017 Antiques & Fine Art by far the simplest and yet the one this subscriber found the most interesting is the one purchased by a dealer doing business in Rochester, New York. The object being promoted is a yellow sign with just two words in bold black letters: “HOT SODA.” The sign dates from the time in the second half of the nineteenth century when “fizzy water” was thought to have healing properties, the proprietor who commissioned this sign being one who dispensed fizzy water in the form of hot soda.
That ad stopped me cold because the usual wording on signage is “Cold Soda” or “Ice Cold Soda.” Imagine a vendor walking through the stands at a ballpark shouting “Hot soda! Get your steaming hot soda here!” Even the numerous bottles of sparking waters to be found in grocery stores which are touted for their healthful qualities go in the refrigerator when brought home, not poured in a pan on the stove.
At this time of the year when A Christmas Carol is warming on the back burner, we should acknowledge that Charles Dickens invented a name for one of his characters bubbling over with possibilities. Just picture a sign swinging merrily above a storefront with the words “Fezziwig’s Fizzy Water.” Not to be outdone, his wife might have opened a hair salon called “Lizzy’s Frizzy Wigs.”
After seeing three apparitions, a reformed Ebenezer Scrooge is ready for more spirits at the end of A Christmas Carol as he tells Bob Cratchit they will discuss the clerk’s raise in salary over a “bowl of smoking bishop.” After mulling it over, let’s have no warm port, even in a storm.
This holiday season I will refuse room temperature punch, tepid tea, lukewarm eggnog, hot cider. Just give it to me cold. Everything else is a fizzle.