A Half Pint Of Chocolate Milk

It happened to me seventy years ago. At ten years old I was ‘hopping’ milk with my brother-in-law for McArthur’s dairy. Getting up at 4 A.M. wasn’t something I really cherished and finishing my work on the milk truck was just in time for the school bell to ring… I wanted a paying job and at my early age, there wasn’t much available.
True, I was just a learner, but it was work and I rode on an empty milk crate in the truck with two open sliding doors. Occasionally dogs chased me, and there was a time or two that milk (was always in glass bottles back then) slipped out of my hand. But by and large I did a commendable job.
A man by the name of Tinsley asked for my help on occasions and to me that was a big promotion. He always stopped when we were about half done and bought me a large Dr. Pepper and a sweet roll. He was generous and to this day I favor Dr. Pepper and sweet rolls. On the side he gave me a dollar and back then that was big money.
Both Bob and Tinsley ran milk routes and consumed about the same amount of time. The difference was Bob paid me with one half pint of chocolate milk and that was given when we finished for the day. Even when I received it, I got the feeling he didn’t want to give it.
Tonight that I had supper with my beloved wife Ann and on my tray was a complete meal with ice tea and a half pint of chocolate milk. I thought about Bob and the milk route.
I told Ann “You know, I think I will take that empty carton home with me and put it on a shelf in my office in remembrance of Bob”. She instructed me to “wash it out first and then put it there”. Putting the car in the garage I saw a friend walking his dog by my drive. We greeted each other, mentioned the weather (cold) and he looked at the empty half pint carton. I told him briefly about Bob and then said, “You know Al, I’ve changed my mind. Bob wasn’t all that bad. He was just a skin-flint. Why would I remember the half pint for 70 years? Why would I remember anything or anyone that did things that bothered me? Why would I fill my mind with stuff that’s silly or even serious when there is nothing I can do about it? In some ways Bob was a good friend so why not remember the best of him?
Thinking of the past in a negative way is a ‘killer’. In a measure it is slow suicide. Clogging your mind with things over which you have no control robs you of the space for good memories. I’m better than the empty carton of chocolate milk. In fact I would be wholesomely better if I can lift the bad things in my mind, put them in an empty carton of chocolate milk and dig a hole and bury it.

Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important that food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? . . . Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:25-34).

Worry, why worry? What can worry do?
It never keeps a trouble from overtaking you.
It gives you indigestion and wakeful hours at night,
And fills with gloom the days and weeks, however fair or bright.
It puts a frown upon the face and sharpness in the tone,
We’re unfit to live with others, and unfit to live alone.

   Worry? Why worry, what can worry do?
It never keeps a trouble from overtaking you.
Pray? Why pray? What can praying do?
Prayer really changes things, arranges life anew.
It makes for good digestion, gives peaceful sleep at night;
And fills the grayest days with rays of golden light.
And puts a smile upon your face, a love note in your tone,
Pray? Why Pray? What can praying do?
It brings God down from heaven to live and work in you.
This poem was copied from a church bulletin)(Author unknown)

The Apostle Paul puts it this way, “Do not be anxious (worried) about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanks giving, presents your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7).

“Stone walls do not a prison make
Nor iron bars a cage.
Minds innocent and free
Take that for a hermitage.”

   Spring cleaning? Now is a good time to start. I started today with an empty half pint carton of chocolate milk.


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