I know most of you probably think I was a holy terror at the age of 5. That might be because of some of my past stories. But, truth be known, I was just an average little boy who was being a boy.
If you haven’t seen the holy terror perception, you will in short order — either from this story or others to come.
When I was 5, I looked at what was going on in my life and the lives of others. I tried to do the same things the other boys did. So goes the game of trial and error. The other boys were older, so I just watched and followed their lead. But it did not always work for me as it had for the other boys, as you will see.
As I watched, I saw the milkman was a good friend to have, as he had free samples. I now know those free samples were out of date but who knew and who cared? Not this 5-year-old.
It was free, and to a kid with no money, that was great. But the free samples were not for the very young. It was for the big boys who were always there first to meet the milkman. Being small, I had no chance to even ask for the free samples as the big boys would run me off.
I guess it goes back to the pecking order — bigger is always going to be to the plate first. But my time was coming, I guess I was just in training. It had been a long, hot summer with no free samples to be had. But that was soon to change, as the big boys were going back to school. Yes, my day was coming, I now would be the one to take charge of the free samples, I thought. Greed was to be my downfall.
Had it not been for my lust for chocolate milk, things would have not gone the way that they did. You have to understand that chocolate milk was hard to come by for a poor child in a poor town. It was the treat of all treats. Most of the time, there was not even regular milk to be had. We did get goat milk, but we did not have any chocolate.
Even though I did like goat milk as a child, the thought of chocolate goat milk just sounds wrong.
School had just started and the milkman would come the next day. Oh, joy — the foolish thoughts of a child.
Here he came, my milkman and my chocolate milk. Mister Milkman, do you have any free samples?
He responded with, ‘Sure, son, give me just one moment.’
I was on top of the world. He gave me a 16-ounce carton, and I shook it just like the big boys had done. I opened it up, the cold, sweet foam of the chocolate milk hit my lips and it happened. I was transformed at that very moment into a chocolate milk junkie from Hades, never to be the same. Possessed to this very day with the lust for chocolate milk. There was no way that I could just sip on my chocolate milk to make it last like the big boys did.
Before I knew what had happened, it was all gone and I was brokenhearted. I tore open the carton like some wild dog just to get at the last drops.
What could I do? What could I do to get more?
Then there was a flash, an idea, the lust for more chocolate milk had taken over. Don’t ever think that a 5-year-old can’t think through things if there is something that he wants bad enough.
The milkman had just finished loading the store’s milk cooler and was getting into his truck to go to his next stop. Just as he started his truck, I ran and jumped onto the back bumper and held on to the back door handle.
So here I am, a 5-year-old hanging on to the back door of this milk truck going down the road at 50 miles per hour. As the truck got to its next stop, I jumped off the back bumper and ran to the front to greet the milkman.
Mister Milkman, do you have any free samples?
You would have thought he’d just seen a ghost. “How did you get here so fast?” he asked me.
He even walked to the back of his truck as we were talking to see if there was a car that had brought me. As we got to the back of his truck I responded by pointing at his truck and saying that I had hung onto the door handle.
I know now that the look on the milkman’s face was the look of a man who was scared to death by what this 5-year-old had just told him, that he had done.
He said, “Get into the truck and show me where your mother is,” and I did. I had no idea of the danger of what I’d done. But he did, my mother did, and now I do.
There were to be no more free samples of chocolate milk from that milkman, or any other milkman, as I was not allowed to go to the store or anywhere else by myself for a long time.
I did lose my taste for chocolate milk for a while as my mother tore my butt up for the next two days. But in time, the desire for chocolate milk did come back — to stay.
Robert Lee is a concerned citizen and former U.S. Marine who owns and operates Rockingham Guns and Ammo.