Pat Shingleton: "P's and Q's"
Near our hometown of Ellwood City, PA are roads that would have been identified as routes of transport during the Revolutionary War. These roads connected Pittsburgh to Erie where Admiral Perry's Fleet was located during the War of 1812. There are many locations, such as Rachael's Road House near Grove City that displays a house that General Washington visited. In those “early” days, local taverns and public houses or pubs provided lodging, food and drink from inclement weather. Libations were originally a convenient means of combating the winter chill and a “wee nip” could break the bone-chilling cold. For politicians a journey was tedious and they would utilize their assistants to gauge the opinions of their constituents. These assistants were instructed to “sip some ale” and hear the people’s political concerns. When they would “go sip here” and “go sip there” the two words were combined, forming the term “gossip.” Ale would be served in pints and quarts. A bar maid needed to be diligent as to which patrons were drinking a pint or a quart. This duty resulted in the phrase, “minding your ‘P’s’ and ‘Q’s.”
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