Dad Dumps John from Milk Truck

Dad Dumps John from the Milk Truck

From other stories on this site, you should have found that our dad owned a dairy (Nipes Dairy) and delivered milk door to door. For anyone reading this born after 1980 or so, this is probably a very foreign concept and may even defy belief, but it is true none the less.

About the time, I entered 7th grade, my father no longer bottled the milk himself due to the economics of maintaining the business and relying on consistent availability of the product from his two brothers who were his suppliers. His routes had grown to a point that, at times, there wasn't enough milk for bottling, producing cream, butter, cottage cheese, etc. He and his brothers entered a co-op (then known as Foremost Dairies and later merged into Martin Century Farms) which worked to everyone’s mutual benefit. 

Unfortunately, dad had to let his driver, Harry Drabold, go which was the worst part of the deal. This meant that he delivered the milk each day, six days a week. If you read “My First Paying Job” also found in this section, you will discover that I had been working in the milk house daily for several years at this point. Any hopes I might have had that working at the dairy were very quickly dashed. From this point on, during school, I would be awakened each morning (about 5:30 AM) except Thursday {supposedly Steve’s day, but he often wouldn’t awaken and I filled in} and I would help dad load the truck from the walk in cooler and then help deliver for the first part of the route. In summer, I went until the route was completed for the day, usually about 1:30 PM.

One summer day, before my 17th birthday ( I know this since after I turned 17 and had a driver’s license, I took the entire route!), we were delivering the Penns Grove route (we had two - see “The Redhead and the Muffler” for more detail) and were about ¾ finished. So, it was about 11:30 AM and we were in Carney’s Point approaching Charlie Kohler’s house. The Kohlers got 2 half-gallons of milk on Tuesday and Thursday and 3 half-gallons on Saturday. Since Steve usually worked with dad on Thursday, this must have been a Tuesday because I was standing in the open doorway with a half-gallon tucked under each arm.

we approached their house, which was on the left side of the street, we normally eased over to the left curb and I would check traffic and exit the truck before it completely stopped. On this day, dad pulled over more abruptly than normal and I lost my balance standing in the door. We were probably doing between 10-15 MPH and I realized my only option was to jump and hit the street running. I executed this perfectly and continued to the side porch, placed the milk, picked up the empties and returned to the truck.

Dad was visibly shaken when I got back. He thought that I was going to hit the street rolling with broken glass and for sure at least one broken limb. I was actually pretty calm and proud that I had handled the situation with no problem.

One good benefit came out of the day’s adventure, I didn’t have to help him unload the truck when we got home, in fact, I got the rest of the day off!

Davdan @ 2008-2018