Friday, September 4, 2009

Mama's Milk

I’m reading the new Bon Appetit. Cuz I do. And there’s a really cool blurb on the resurgence of milk home delivery. They’re calling it a trend that supports local dairies. My grown self thinks that’s pretty cool. My child self, however, went fucking ape shit.

See, I’m juuuust old enough (wipe that smile off your face!) to remember the Milk Man. No, not because he was the first man I called “daddy.” Just because during my grade school days, we lived where such delivery was available. And I thought it was the most amazing thing ever.

I begged—seriously, begged—my mother to sign us up for a Milk Man. It wasn’t some latent attraction. Never really wanted to do a Milk Man. But I was completely captivated by those cold clear bottles, right outside your door, next to the morning paper, EXACTLY like it was in every TV show and movie I’d ever seen. At least the ones that involved milk delivery.

I thought the milk tasted better, richer. And it made me feel better. And richer. There was something decadent about its simplicity. Then I discovered that they delivered CHOCOLATE milk, too. Are you fucking kidding me? For a ten year old kid, that’s like discovering that your mom’s tit produced milk in multiple flavors (which apparently it does, reflecting what you’ve ingested. Mine would be tequila and asparagus. But that’s another story). I needed that chocolate milk fix.

Lo and behold, my sweet southern mama knew her shit. She knew my “special” (that’s what they called adolescent gay in the south back then) way of thinking would quickly tire of the idea once it had lost it’s “specialness.” So she signed us up. And the milk began to flow. At first, it truly was manna. I wanted it every day, but mama reminded me that we hadn’t drunk the one from yesterday, so it would be wasteful for us to take EVERY day delivery.

Even that one-day gap caused me to quiver with anticipation. This lasted all of three weeks. By then, I knew the routine. I anticipated my anticipation. Which takes all of the fun out of it, and fills the void with stress and indifference. And one day, it might as well have been buttermilk. The taste was gone. I was milk fickle.

Now, all these years later, I realize my mom probably DID order buttermilk that day. She was rather fond of it and loved to crumble her cornbread into a cold glass of buttermilk. But once that taste was in my mouth, I could easily draw a line to the shared flavor profiles with whole milk. But I’ve outgrown the memory of lost anticipation.

And I can now start to wonder, when will the milk man get here?

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