Saturday, September 03, 2005

Lactose Recollection

I made a reference recently about someone being "the milkman's kid." I received blank stares as my response. Oh, that's a reference that has been made culturally irrelevant. I still remember the pre-dawn arrival of our milkman. The big Watts-Hardy Dairy truck came rumbling up the street, stopping first in front of the Cunning's house, then a faint tinkling of glass bottles in a wire rack. Sometimes I would lie in my bed and listen as he finished the delivery next door, then moved to our house. Sometimes I would stand up on my bed and stick my head up under the curtains to watch him work.
I have a sentimental notion of our milkman wearing a starched white shirt and clean, pressed pants - with a bow tie and a cap worn at just the right jaunty angle. It's more likely that he wore a grey jacket with the Watts-Hardy logo painted on the back. We had a milk box on our front porch where we put our empty bottles to be picked up and exchanged for fresh, full ones. I recall feeling that our personal space was somewhat violated when, on occasion, our milkman would use our hose to rinse out the empties.
There was a wonderful rite of passage in our house that involved the milkman. When you were old enough, one of the ways you could show your newfound responsibility was to be allowed to mark the milk card. It wasn't a difficult job, but you had to be very detail-oriented. We wanted one bottle of whole milk, two small cottage cheese, and one skim. At Christmastime we would get eggnog. If you were clever enough, you might just write a "2" instead of "1" in the eggnog column. The next morning, you could go out on the front porch, open up the box, and have them in the refrigerator before anyone was the wiser. I wonder what our milkman's name was - maybe I should ask my little brother...

1 comment:

mrs. id said...

I want cottage cheese on demand!