No use cryin'?

Sep 8, 2002

On our way home from a class picnic Thursday, we stopped by the grocery store to get milk. Anna, who has been ill for the last few days, still takes a bottle of warm milk at bedtime, and our fridge was empty of whole milk. So, I skipped down the frozen foods aisle to the dairy section. Plastic half-gallon containers immediately caught my eye, but as I reached for one I thought about our commitment to buying the locally produced milk, which doesn’t inlclude the growth hormone that most big dairies use to pump up production. So instead I grabbed two glass bottles of the local, one of skim milk and the other whole. At the checkout, the cashier asked if I wanted a bag. ”No,” I said. ”I’ll carry them out.”

In the car, I debated about where to put the bottles. I placed them side-by-side in the well of the backseat. As Erin drove home, I looped my arms around my front seat to hold the bottles. Then a horror movie began to unfold. As we rolled down the offramp of the highway and rounded the turn, I, for some inexplicable reason, put my hands in my lap. The bottles teetered, crashing to the floor, and in that instant the sound of a shattering bottle of milk (for whatever luck may have been in the moment, only the skim milk flowed) announced to my nose that the car would never smell the same thereafter.

Erin and I have spent days sopping up milk, soaking the carpets, vacuuming the car. But we missed a key spot, and the Honda CRV that has been such a comfortable vehicle is now a reeking hulk. A two-dollar bottle of milk may end up costing us hundreds of dollars. It will be another day before we can begin to solicit quotes from car shops with experience cleaning and changing auto carpets. But the irony of it all? Today, when Anna and I went to the opening of a new Weaver Street Market shop in the Southern Village neighborhood of Chapel Hill, Maple View Dairy was there giving free ice cream cones.

This last week was busy for us, and stressful. We’re alive, though, and counting our blessings: Anna is adorable, our friends are supportive, family accept us, and schools are nurturing our intellects. Of course, wasn’t I supposed to learn about spilling milk in grade school?

Anton Zuiker

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