In contrast to the millions of people that relocated to obtain jobs constructing roads, building ships, or working in factories, substantial numbers of people continued on with their lives in much the same manner as they had done in the pre-war years. However, commodity shortages and rationing affected almost everyone, even imposing adjustments to the daily operations of main street businesses as inconspicuous as John’s Meat Market in Almelund, Minnesota. Furthermore, the meat market even became a supplier to the nation’s massive munitions industry.
Traditionally, John’s merchandise included various cuts of beef and pork, along with chicken, and butter. His customers either purchased the goods with money, or bartered for credit with live chickens or hogs, which John could butcher and sell to his patrons. However, with the advent of the war and the subsequent rationing, consumers also needed government issued food stamps to procure butter and the majority of meat products.
John’s meat suppliers, Swift and Armour, allowed John to enter their trucks and select the cuts of meat that he desired. Nevertheless, frequently during the war, the trucks carried no beef and John resorted to offering his customers lamb or mutton as a substitute. His customers accepted lamb. However, mutton, meat from mature sheep, has a gamey taste and consequently, a number of his patrons refused to buy it.
Prior to the war, John obtained lard for his customers by rendering it himself or buying it from his meat suppliers. The procedure for rendering lard consisted of heating pork fat until nearly all of it liquefied, pouring off the liquid through a strainer, and allowing the liquid to cool and solidify. During the war, much...
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...nfronted Fritz by asking, “What was said to you when your military unit assembled and you weren’t on time?”
Fritz thought for a moment before replying, “Good morning, General.”31
I hadn’t anticipated the punch line and laughed heartily. Consequently, a broad grin triumphantly appeared across Dick’s face. Suspicious that the tale had merely been a joke, I inquired into its truthfulness. Although he couldn’t remember if it occurred after World War II or the Korean Conflict, Dick’s assurances of its validity seemed legitimate. However, my skepticism returned when he followed the General’s story with a yarn concerning a magic lamp and a genie. Although still dubious of the story’s validity, Dick’s explanation that civilian jobs didn’t necessarily commiserate with former military rank accentuated a truth, which prompted contemplation into its ramifications.
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