Wednesday, March 18, 2009


When I was really small I remember milk getting delivered to the slate grey box that sat just out sided the front door on the stoop. The lid lifted up and inside was four glass quart bottles and the empty ones went back in the box to be replaced by fresh ones. This didn’t last too long, maybe my first four or five years. I’m not sure what happened to the milk man or if it just became cheaper to pick it up yourself or some other possibility not known to me. I know we had a neighbor, two doors down, that drove a milk truck. That brown truck, a lot like todays UPS ones, was parked in the driveway every evening and it left way before dawn. So somebody kept having milk delivered because he had that job his whole life, till he retired.

I also remember a milk machine. It was in the middle of no where. Maybe there was a few cows on the property but I don’t have any recollection of them. There was no store any where nearby but one of the older, more original homes of the area, sat a short distance away. Maybe they kept it stocked but I don’t really know. And where was it plugged in to keep it cold? I didn’t ever think to ask those questions but by the time I might have it was gone. So it remains a mystery.

I know I walked, by myself, at a pretty young age, to get milk when we ran out. It was more than a half mile, to the milk machine, from our house each way. I can still recall the feeling of an adventure when my mom would hand me the change that would delivery the milk out of the machine. It was a lot like todays candy and soda machines but quarts or half gallons of cold milk cartons popped out instead.

I was always so happy to be going. Partly because I got to go and no one else did, that they trusted me. But I was not more than eight so my siblings would have been much too young. In later years I would have to take one of my sisters with me which changed the whole dynamics.

This walk went by many homes but the closer I got to the machine the bigger and more magical the trees got and the further away from each other the homes got. It was an older area, not as developed, and the trees were by far the best part. Sun dappling through their leaves made it a walk into another world. They would reach and drape over the road creating a canopy of delight. I’d create fantasies about being in a secret world or on a mission, or finding a hidden treasure. It was all in my mind as the only real adventure was dodging neighborhood dogs. But those little journeys enriched me as they now enrich milk because they think we need all this extra stuff. But I’m sure I did need the extra stuff of my imagination to survive the suburban life I found myself surrounded with in the mid-sixties on Long Island.

I do remember digging in my yard one time, shortly after returning from a milk adventure, and finding a charm bracelet. I thought this must be one of buried treasures I’d imagined on my walk finally coming to me. As I wiped the dirt off from all the charms I was sure God was sending me a reward, a confirmation. Keep imagining, keep digging, keep going for milk and you’ll find your charms.


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