Milk, glorious milk

Remember the days when the milk man left a crate of freshly bottled milk at your door step? Course you don’t. If you do, then you’re the most computer-savvy resident in your nursing home.

Anyway, back to the ye olde days of milk delivery. Martin and I are ‘that’ close to re-living days gone by. We’ve got the farm fresh milk in heavy glass bottles. Just haven’t worked out that doorstep delivery yet.

And it’s not just milk. It’s Chocolate Milk. Martin got me hooked a while ago.

There’s an orchard/farm stand not far from us that sells local produce, along with milk, cheese, butter, etc from a creamery just over the state line. And one summer day, while picking up corn and peaches, Martin snagged a bottle of chocolate milk as well.

Now, I’m not a chocoholic. I’m a vanilla ice cream person. I don’t groove on Hershey’s syrup or Ovaltine or any of those things. But Martin kept pushing this stuff. So I tried it. And got hooked. Big time.

I’m mean, this stuff is amazing. Like creamy, dreamy, milky perfection with a healthy hint of chocolate that just makes you feel….complete. Guaranteed, one taste of this stuff and you will NEVER drink store bought choc milk again. Once, in a moment of desperation I tried, and it was a vile, palate-scarring experience.

So instantly, life went from, “hmm, that milk’s not bad,” to “you forgot my chocolate milk?? Quick! Go back and get it!”

What do they say about addiction? “Do you crave a drink every day? Do you drink alone? Do you drink to forget your problems?”

Um, YES! But my fix is of the chocolate persuasion. I’m itching just thinking about it.

And pretty soon we weren’t just stocking chocolate milk. Bottles were multiplying in the fridge. Red top for whole, blue top for 2%. And the brown top? Well, that goes without saying.

The fridge was getting pretty crowded. Because the kids plow through the cow juice. And I sure as hell wasn’t giving them MY milk. They were getting the plastic jug, store-bought milk from your average hormone-enhanced, pesticide-treated-grass consuming cows. Why waste top-shelf stuff on them?

Replenishing the supply was a no-brainer until winter when the farm stand shuttered for the season. I was distraught.

“You need milk this winter?” one of the orchard workers asked as I clutched a bottle to my chest. “Write your phone number of this scrap of paper.”

A couple of weeks later I got a call from the orchard owner. The directions were simple.

“The milk comes to the orchard at 3 am Tuesdays. Come anytime til 7 p.m. There’s a chain across the entrance so you need to drive in the back. The building looks closed but the red door is unlocked. If you come at night, bring a flashlight. Get what you need out of the fridge. Leave the money in an envelope.”

I relayed the pickup instructions to Martin, my mule.

martin: “Are you kidding me? It’s like we’re buying milk from the mob!”

me: “Just get my stuff and don’t forget, okay?”

And that’s been the drill every Tuesday since November. Only I make the milk run myself. In all the weeks I’ve gone, only once have I seen another customer. Some lady pulled in behind me while I was loading my crate. No words were spoken. We just nodded to one another.

She could have been getting farm-fresh butter. Or eggs. Even half n’ half.

But I’ve seen that semi-crazed look before. I’d bet money she was getting her chocolate fix.

Liquid gold: perfection in a glass.