The Redhead and the Muffler

The Redhead and the Muffler


As I've relayed in other stories, my father was a milkman when I was growing up. And, after I turned 17 (legal driving age in NJ), I often was expected to give dad the day off and run the milk routes myself. Since, at 18, I had started to work outside the home, first for my grandfather and then for Del Monte, this duty was on an “as available” one.

But, the summer I was 17, I drove the routes 5 out of 6 days (Dad would give me one day off and take my brother Steve who was 14 at the time).

We had two routes, we called them the Pedricktown route (most customers were in Pedricktown, NJ) and the Penns Grove route (you guessed it! mainly customers in Penns Grove, NJ). I know this is not very original and I guess we could have numbered them or called them code names, but the names we used worked!

Anyway, one day, I was delivering milk on the Pedricktown route, which included the towns of Auburn and Center Square. It was a nice summer day, not too hot, but pleasant and I was over half way done doing the farms around Center Square. One of our customers, whose name, like a lot of things, no longer occupies any of my synapses, had three small sons. The youngest was about 2-3 years old and I guess the oldest not more than 6-8. Their farm house sat back about 100 feet from the road and had a large farmyard on the east side. We would drive into the farmyard toward the house where a short driveway led to the back door.

On this day as I drove in, the youngest of the boys, wait I forgot to tell you that all three of these boys had bright red hair and I think that their mother did as well. Getting back to the narrative, the youngest was playing in the yard near the back porch as I walked up with their milk. I said hello to him and asked what he was up to, etc. and proceeded to put the milk by the back door inside the screened in porch. His mom was in the kitchen and we said hi to each other and I returned to the truck.

I had to back out of the short drive into the farmyard to turn around and leave, and had already put the truck into reverse and released the handbrake when (and I know God was looking out for me that day as well as for the family) suddenly, I thought, "Hey where did that little redhead get to?" So I put the brake back on and took the truck out of gear, got out, and went around the truck.

There, at the back of the truck, completely out of sight of the truck's mirrors, was the little boy fascinated by the truck’s muffler as it vibrated up and down!

I picked him up and carried him to his mother and explained what had happened. I know that if God had not intervened, I would be still feeling the effects of that action 60 years later. Not to mention the sorrow and grief of the family. 

Davdan @ 2008-2018