No Use Arguing Over Spoilt Milk

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The day was a usual afternoon at the beginning of June as I pulled into the long gravel driveway of Uncle Sid and Aunt Sadie’s farm. I could see Uncle Sid walking to the garden gate out in the backyard of the family home place. He had a garden hoe in one hand and an orange plastic bucket in the other. The bucket was really too large for garden work, and during this time of the year, most of his crop is just now starting to grow. Getting out of the car and walking across the yard, I wondered just what Uncle Sid was doing with such a large bucket.

Arriving at the garden gate about the same time, the two of us exchanged welcomes, and Uncles Sid set his large orange bucket on the ground inside the garden fence. “What you up to, Boy?” asked Uncle Sid as he sat down on the bucket. And yes, he still calls me “Boy.”

“Just came by to see you and Aunt Sadie,” I answered, “as well as to see what in the world you are going to do with that great big bucket.” I asked about the bucket to get a rile out of him somewhat.

“Oh, all of this organic food growing, turning everything green and carbon foot printing are starting to get me down,” Uncle Sid said. “I just needed a bucket to sit on for a while to think.” He took his saxophone-shaped smoking pipe from the vest pocket of his overalls and tapped it on the heel of his old brogans. While looking down at the pipe, he went on to say, “I don’t even know what a carbon print is, but in the newspaper just now I read that by being a farmer, a lot of those global heatin’ up folks say I’ve been leaving footprints everywhere. And I haven’t seen a thing around here that looks like carbon!”

As the old man continued to talk, I knew for sure he knew a whole lot more than he was telling, and somewhere in this conversation he was going to lead me down the proverbial garden path.

“Your Aunt Sadie has been trying to get me to drink organic milk. I told her if it comes from the milking part underneath a cow, then it ought to be about as organic as it can get, but she won’t listen,” he explained. “So, she has been buying it at the organic place, and I’ve been buying regular milk from the local dairy on the side. I’ve been keeping my milk hid in the old cooler at the barn. During the night, I would pour her organic milk out and replace it with my good stuff. This has been going on for a while until this afternoon.”

From the look on his face, I could tell the results of his adventure was not going to sound too good.

“I asked Sadie to give me a glass of milk with my tea cakes,” Uncle Sid went on to explain. “After I took a drink or two she asked me if my milk tasted good, and I said it was as good as usual. After I said that, she held the carton in front of me and pointed to the freshness date. Would you believe that carton expired six months ago? I had not been replacing the old carton. Just throwing the new ones away!”

I couldn’t help but look away to control my laughter. Uncle Sid at the time was having trouble finding the humor I was seeing. “What did you tell her?” I asked.

“The only thing I could,” he said kicking the ground around the bucket he was sitting on. “I just said, ‘Sadie, that organic milk sure does keep long don’t it.’ And, right after that was when I met you out here in the garden. I came here to keep Sadie’s carbon footstep off the seat of my organic overalls.”

It is never a dull moment with those two around. And, the debate over organic and non-organic continues.

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