2.17.2007

Crying over spilt milk

It's been a rough month. This week we received our last home delivery of milk and juice from Rosenberger's Dairy. Rosenberger's was the last dairy in our area to continue to tradition of "milkmen" bringing milk, butter, eggs and more right to the door.

I can still remember the excitement in our house when the truck from Martin's would pull up on Glenside Ave. and the milkman would bound up the steps with his metal carrier with a couple of quart bottles of milk (the ones with the paper seals), a carton of eggs, a pound of butter and on some special occasions a quart of buttermilk for my grandfather. Though, truth be told, it wasn't as exciting for us kids as when the guy with the big cans of Charles' Chips showed up. By the time I was in high school, all of these home delivery services had stopped in our area of the Philly 'burbs.

So I was excited to find, after being in Bucks County a while, that Rosenberger's still delivered. When we started with Rosenberger's many years ago, they even brought the milk in half-gallon, returnable glass bottles! I swear that you really can taste the difference, that milk in glass bottles is so much better than milk out of those waxed paper cartons. The milkman didn't come to the door anymore -- who'd be home? -- and the milk, OJ and iced tea would appear early in the morning. Then they switched to plastic bottles, but we stuck with it, because there was something so comforting about knowing that these essentials would arrive, like clockwork, every other Friday morning.

Business being what it is, though, the dairy decided enough with this. It's probably very hard to convince folks to get milk delivered when they're stopping at the convenience store for everything else -- hard to get them to pay another bill, expensive to track and manage. Probably, I say, because I was convinced. So last month they announced they'd end the routes but give their drivers the option to buy their routes, and this week our driver, Bryan, left a note saying that it'd been fun, but he was on to other work.

So now we have to remember to put milk on the store list -- lots of skim and a container of whole for my wife's coffee. It's not like I'm going to give up milk. I hardly drink much, anyway, just the odd bowl of cereal and with Girl Scout cookies. But it won't be the same lugging the plastic home from the store, and I'll always remember how much better even skim milk tasted out of glass.

That's kind of how I feel about the other big change in my life this month. More about that in the next post.

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