Saturday, May 12, 2012

From a Reader

Dear Mr. Ruckman,

After reading your article in the news, recently, discussing the history of presidential pardons it occurred to me that you would more than likely have expertise and knowledge that could help me in a small family dilemma. My 90 year old mother recently revealed to me that her father had received a presidential pardon from President Hoover ...

... Grampa was a licensed pharmacist, operating one of the ubiquitous small town drug stores with a soda fountain in northwest Minnesota. One Sunday morning, he was called out of church to attend to a couple farmers wearing coveralls driving a beat up Ford pickup. The driver came alone into the store and told him that his friend was having a heart attack and needed medicine for it.

At the time, whiskey was the medically prescribed treatment to treat symptoms of heart attack. When my grampa asked for the scrip the man told him it was Sunday and everyone was in church. He said they felt bad enough about calling my Grampa from church. When he told them that he had to have a prescription, the man argued until Grampa went into the back room and measured out a single prescription sized dose and gave it to him at no charge. When they pressed him to take money he told them that he could not sell it without a prescription, but the man left the money on the counter and left the store. Grampa was putting the money in the till when both men returned into the store, showed him their FBI badges and arrested him for bootlegging.

In the end, it was learned that some of the ladies in the town had complained that their husbands were buying alcohol somewhere and these agents from the city were dispatched to find the source. Without any luck finding the bootleggers, the agents determined that they could not go home empty handed and so dealt disruption in mom's home and the community. As a result my grandfather, E.S., a highly respected and honorable gentleman, spent some months in prison, and without their pharmacist, the furor in town rose to a level that brought complaints to the desk of the President of the United States.

... I was more than a little surprised when mom revealed all this to me. You can imagine my disappointment when I asked mom, "Where is it?" and she replied, "Oh, Gramma was so ashamed that she burned it right then, that day."

... Any light you could shed on this issue would be much appreciated. appreciated. Thank you, M.B.

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