Monday, August 19, 2013


Just in time, or from-time-to-time, our net server for mail, after a dysfunctional patch, has deposited all the mail as one fell swoop mass mailing so we will have a double and triple electronic-file dumptruck'd onto us. It makes one think about modern life. . .

Brion Gysin & William Burroughs eyes closed tight with the Dream Machine

It reminds me of the milkman I used to wait for, as a child, roaming into our neighborhood with his old pickup truck and the back bed stocked with rattle glass milk bottles filled to the brim, paper capped, inside their metal trays. There'd be a thick and work-darkened quilt over the cold bottles and chunks of ice — that was it for "refrigeration". He'd stop, lift out from under the quilt what he thought my mother wanted and set two or three bottles into a metal basket he then carried up from the foot of the driveway to our house.

We even had a "milkman" metal door hatch built into the side of the kitchen wall so the deliveries could be made with someone managing the door inside. We'd say "hello" to each other
 as bottles empty and bottles full were exchanged. Of 
course if no one was there to greet on our side, the door stayed closed and the milkman just went about his business and left bottles of milk in the tiny chamber, and took away the empties. 

Sometime later we had a bread man, "Mike," cheery as Phil Silvers, and he brought acres of Dreikorns white bread, muffins, even delicious glazed donuts. All to our door! Both drivers parked their trucks not in the driveway but in the direction of the street, not minding at all the little further walk because when they got back to their vehicles they could just shove ahead to the next house. It all worked like a charm. Rain or shine.

And when it didn't — we mowed a lawn with mowers with churning sharp blades (hand powered reel mowers, not gas powered), or read a book (something with paper pages). Way off in the house, or out in the yard working, we might hear the telephone ring on the wall in the kitchen. No such thing as an answering machine. Whomever it was, they'd call back. Or visit! Need milk or bread because Mike may have had a breakdown, or the milkman got tied up with his cows? Send one of your three sons down the street to fetch a bottle or a loaf of bread, and those three boys ran! or hopped onto their bikes, and there was a variety store on almost every busy corner. One of the boys would be back, breathing hard, before mom needed the last sandwich made — it was an interesting concoction of white bread, butter, sliced bananas, sprinkled with sugar. It's August and we ate them on the run.

Bob Arnold