Buddy Ledlow

copyright 06/29/2013

I don't remember the milk trucks.  Much.  Faintly, I remember a big old flat bed truck that would come rumbling down the gravel road to our house.  I remember the milk cans.  They were nearly as tall as me and made out of heavy sheet metal.  I couldn't lift one myself but me and my brother who was four years older could.  We lived on a little farm.  Since Daddy got a job at the tire and rubber plant, we didn't grow cotton anymore but Mother and my older brothers milked cows and sold the milk for extra money.

Buddy Ledlow drove that milk truck.  Not only did he drive the truck but he loaded those milk cans on back of it.  He could take one in each hand and heave them up onto the bed of the truck.  When he died the Preacher said he never believed there were giants on the earth until he saw Buddy Ledlow.

But now that I've grown much older and heard and seen things I never dreamt of then, I think - ah Mr. Preacher man, your eyes deceive you.  Buddy was not a giant because of his size, he was giant because of what he did.  He like countless others, got up everyday and worked doing heavy and repetitive tasks so that his family would have food and clothing and shelter.

And it was even more than that.  When his children were big enough to sit alone, he hoisted them on his shoulders so they could see the world that was.  He kept them there so their feet should not follow in his footsteps but rather find easier paths to tread.  Buddy's father did the same and so on back as far as the first father who held his baby in his arms and loved it.

Yes Preacher, Buddy was a giant.  But giants are not rare.  They are as common as the guy waiting behind you at the gas station.  And it is the reason we need that gas because otherwise, in our primeval world we would only be concerned with what wild animal we could kill or wild berry we could pick.

Happy belated Father's Day, Fathers.


Phillip Oliver said...

Great story. I don't remember milk trucks at all and always wondered by milk was delivered door to door? It seems very odd!

David Oliver said...

Thanks Phillip. I'm sure the lack of preservation techniques was the reason milk was delivered door to door. But it was not delivered door to door in rural areas. People there depended on their "milk cows" for milk and it was hard times when all the milk cows went "dry" at the same time. That meant not only were they out of milk but also butter. I'm pretty sure the milk that the trucks picked up was not used for drinking. Most likely it had soured by the time it got to its destination, especially in the warmer months. Likely it was used for making butter and cheese.

By 1960 there were no more milk trucks. We think of the 1960's as being a decade of great change and it was. But it was the 1950's that fueled that change both socially and technologically.

Phillip Oliver said...

That makes sense. Of course the whole concept of door-to-door milk delivery comes from all those old TV shows from the 50s.

David Oliver said...

You are right! I had forgotten. Those shows were always showing milk deliveries, milk bottles at the door and then there were all those jokes about babies looking like the milk man.

Lorna said...

I like it that you wrote this for Father's Day.

David Oliver said...

Thanks Lorna. I don't think I originally intended this to be a Father's day message, at least not when I began writing it. It just turned out that way.

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