Archived Story

Cardinal Charlie: Minuteman stood his patriotic ground

Published 3:47pm Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The other day, while sitting in my recliner, I looked over at our big, curved-door china closet full of a bit of everything.

Lots of cardinals and mice from my and Child Bride Wife’s collections.

I spotted an inverted two-inch shot glass with an embossed mountain scene that we had picked up at a souvenir shop on one of our trips out West.

The glass contained extra white sand to make the mountain scene stand out.

The shot glass was inverted and sealed at the bottom. I asked Peg if she remembered after we got home on a trip in 1976, the year of the Bicentennial, that I had a special liquor bottle.

Embossed on the bottle was a gold “Minuteman” soldier in the middle of the pretty large-sized bottle.

I told Peg to take the bottle over to the Murphy greenhouse and have Patricia do something with it for us.

Well, Pat did this. She put about two inches of fine, red-colored sand at the bottom of the bottle.

Then she used extra white fine sand next, enough to make the Minuteman really stand out.

She then finished it out with blue sand all the way to the top and even in the top hollow stopper.

Funny, with my long-term memory, I don’t remember the name of the liquor or how I even acquired it.

I do know that old Fred Ismay, who owned the bar in Cassopolis used to buy some liquor in the pretty bottles and gave me quite a few of these over the years.

I know at one time Jim Beam would come out with a set of four dogs, birds, fish and other animals.

Old Fred sold a lot of Jim Beam and he gave me a set of empty bottles of all different kind.

The last I knew Fred was in a nursing home and I think he passed on a while back.

Fred also rented once of his studio apartment rooms to my clerk, Ron Grover, when he couldn’t find a place to rent when he came to work for me at the state liquor store years ago.

I keep in touch with Ron and he now works at the prison in Coldwater, just waiting to retire.

Also, when Ron lived there, we took our camera and took a lot of pictures of the beautiful woodwork in the house.

The stairways were really something. If I’m not mistaken, contractor Raymond Phillips bought it years back and made apartments in it.

And when I was in junior high, my teacher, Miss Warren, had an apartment in the old carriage house.

I went there once to a meeting of some kind, as I recall.


“Cardinal Charlie” Gill writes a nostalgic weekly column about growing up in the Grand Old City.

Email him at


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