“The who? Bill, what in the hell is a milkman?”
If you’re under 50 years old, maybe even 55, that’s gotta be the first question to pop into your head as you read the title to this piece. If you knew me in my younger years you may even decide, Well, we all knew it was a possibility. Bill’s back to being a drunk again. You may even think I’m doing some kind of dope. (Actually, I am doing the bit with “Captain Hydrocodone“, due to the pain of the incision from my recent cancer surgery, but that’s the fodder for yet another blog post). Anyway, this isn’t an “acid flashback” by any means.
Later they graduated to this level and all the kids hated it.
This was what we ended up with, no matter what he used as a delivery vehicle.
Milk came in quarts and that’s how you ordered it.
The order form was left where he’d see it as he dropped off the day’s supply. It was a big event for us, the kids, in the summertime back there in Michigan. The milkman came by six days per week, so the Friday and Saturday orders were the biggest. Since he wouldn’t be there on Sunday, but anyone with a brain knows kids need milk with their cereal, we had to stock up. There was no such thing as 2% or low-fat milk. He’d have “milk” milk, or chocolate milk, cottage cheese, maybe some orange juice if he was progressive. He’d also have yogurt, real butter, (no clue on margarine), and cream. My folks sure wouldn’t drink their coffee without it. In some places the milkman would also deliver bread, cereal, and even a few kinds of simple fruit such as apples, oranges or pears. Ours didn’t, but we didn’t live in a lah-di-dah neighborhood. We was just po’ folk.
He’d come right to the house, which always had a milk box on the front porch. Something to shield it from the sun and elements. Often the retirees among the neighbors would go next door or across the street to put the milk away in the ‘fridge or the icebox. (I am not making this up; we really had both). Our milkman would also sell ice, although there were many routes where an iceman would also come by daily. He’d use huge metal tongs to carry large blocks of ice and leave ‘em in a special box on the front porch, also shielded.
As kids we’d rush out, always to the other side of the street where I grew up, to feed the horse pulling the wagon. We’d take a carrot, an apple, (horses loved ‘em), a few lumps of sugar from the sugar bowl on the kitchen table, or just leaves if we couldn’t scarf up one of the ol’ plug’s favorites. Since I found out most horses also loved cigarettes, I’d often swipe a few from Mom and feed ‘em to the nag in harness.
It was a piece of Americana I remember and miss that would be impossible today. Back then, we didn’t lock the house when we left. Many moms were also stay-at-home housewives. It wasn’t unusual to trust a neighbor with a key to the house after we finally did begin using a lock when we left for the day.
Yep, those were the days, my friend. I thought they’d never end.
But, they did.
“Real nice, Bill. I appreciate this piece of what I thought was folklore, if I ever thought of it at all, which I seldom did. Or never did. However, what’s this got to do with the price of cheese in Hoboken, New Jersey, or the best way to make pancakes? For that matter, what in the world does this have to do with the homeless?”
Nothing. Who said every blog post I write has to concern the homeless?
I’m just sayin’.
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