the milkman and human kindness
(originally posted 12/9/2018)
The year was 1925. Cars looked very similar to how they appear today but they were pulled by horses as the engine hadn’t been invented yet. Houses had refrigerators but they were still room temperature. They had figured out ice centuries before but they couldn’t figure out how to keep it cool so it could keep other things cool.
The whole domino theory of technology. Which makes you think… one can only imagine what dominos will look like in the future… or how they’ll fall.
Anyway, Sam Cauldwell brought people their milk every day. He didn’t start out being a milkman, in fact at one time in his life it would have been the last thing he thought he would end up doing. He started out selling dry goods before he met the love of his life.
What are dry goods?
I was afraid you’d ask that. I heard the term in an old Western and while I realize that 1925 is a long ways away from the Old West I still imagine, given the aforementioned problems associated with refrigeration, that most goods were probably dry or even dehydrated.
Whatever the case, when he fell in love (we’ll call her Diane) all of that ended. You see, he fell in love just as Diane had decided to stop dating him. Literally the two decisions came within minutes of each other. One of those “I have something to tell you too. You go first” type of things.
He was heartbroken.
So much so that he gave up his promising career in selling dry and dehydrated goods and got the only job where he could visit her on a daily basis. Lady McBeth might have been quoted as saying “Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be what thou art promis’d. Yet do I fear thy nature, it is too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way” but the rest of us typically have warmer sentiments for milkmen and milk and kindness and whatnot. Had Lady M been around to give him some career guidance things might have been different.
Why didn’t Diane love him back you ask?
Outstanding question and one which takes a little imagination to answer. You see, his idea of a romantic game was for the two of them to go to the park and play Duck Duck Goose. Just the two of them.
See what I mean about the imagination part?
I’ll start you off. She would sit in the middle of the field and he would circle her for minutes at a time patting her head and saying “Duck.” Eventually he would say “Goose!” and she would spring up and not know what to do. He would typically run away a few feet then fall over laughing, barely able to contain his glee.
He also believed that when Galileo first concluded that the Earth wasn’t the center of existence it caused small tidal waves and earthquakes as the planet sorted out the new rules. If everyone had reached that conclusion at the same time it would have been an extinction event.
I never implied that she didn’t have a good reason not to love him.
So as her milkman Sam got to have a front row seat to her various romantic endeavors. While math had yet to be invented he figured that she had far more Ducks and Gooses visiting her than most. He would see them leaving her house every morning as he dropped off her cream, cheese and butter for the day. Feeling the bitterness of secretly knowing that these men had recently dropped off their own version of yogurt.
But every day he made his rounds nonetheless, checking up on her and making sure she had enough calcium… and this was before calcium had even been discovered. He just felt that milk was somehow important to her bones and teeth.
Love is like that. It gives us insights into vitamins and minerals and then turns a blind eye to affairs of the heart.
The weird thing is that due to crazy circumstances he ended up starting his own delivery company, due to his reliability all of the dairy farmers trusted him over his competitors, and becoming a very successful milkman. You might even call him a milk tycoon.
Unfortunately Diane didn’t stay around long enough to see him become successful. She moved and eventually he forgot about her entirely. This was before self-help books.
Love was like that back then.