The day milk was saved

I can’t be precisely sure when it was, because I was very young. But at some point, I realized that milk was for baby cows, not people. At least, it was in the form that I was getting it – this white stuff that tasted icky.

“Sweet milk,” some called it. Were they kidding?

Years later, I remember an episode on the “Mary Tyler Moore Show,” when Mary warmed some milk in the hope that it might comfort her.

“Yuck!” she said, and continued with something like, “I think the first person to taste warm milk invented the word, ‘yuck.’”

Right on, Mary. Warm or cold, I already agreed with her when it came to milk, though I wouldn’t hear her say it for many years.

I knew my dad loved the stuff, but he was a grownup and those folks were weird, anyway. My mother was even stranger, in ecstacy as she slurped up something called buttermilk, which was even worse than regular milk.

But then came that wonderful day, when I discovered that milk didn’t have to be white and yucky. It could be brown and delicious. Chocolate milk had entered my life.

I didn’t know what kind of cows gave this milk, but I wouldn’t have minded having a whole herd of them in our back yard. I was stunned to learn that even brown cows gave white milk, and the deliciousness was added later.

Of course, that knowledge made me wonder why they didn’t just do it that way all the time. Why torture people – with the exception of some friends who inexplicably liked milk, and of course, my dad – when milk could easily be turned into something out of this world?

Next came a discovery that was almost as momentous as that first taste of store-bought chocolate milk – one could buy stuff at the store, which, when added to regular milk, magically changed it into – you guessed it.

There was syrupy stuff, or there was dry stuff. One simply added it to milk, stirred and voila! I preferred the syrupy stuff, myself, because it could also go on ice cream – yes, chocolate syrup on ice cream was another life-altering discovery I made around that same time.

I thought my love of chocolate milk was impressive, until I got married. Alice, bless her chocolate milk-lovin’ little heart, has me beaten way yonder when it comes to consumption of that marvelous beverage.

Naturally, since chocolate milk is so popular (and justifiedly so), there has to be some controversy.

Is it fattening? Is is a good “recovery” drink after exercise? Is it this, is it that?

I’ll tell you what it is: Almost too good to be true.  The one thing that can compare is eggnog, and that’s available only during the holidays. Chocolate milk is available year-round. Chocolate milk lovers of the world, unite! And guzzle to your hearts’ content.

••••••

In a recent column, I asked that if anyone remembered the exact year that it snowed every Thursday, to let me know.

I was pretty sure I hadn’t imagined it. It was one of those freakishly cold winters we have occasionally, in contrast to the freakishly mild one we’re having now. And there was a stretch of time that lasted, I guess, a month, when it snowed every Thursday, like clockwork. Or so my memory told me.

Lo and behold, it turns out I didn’t imagine it. A lady called me and said she remembered those snowy Thursdays well. She said it was 1978. She said she remembered because she was also pregnant at the time.

I bet she would remember it, as if getting around wouldn’t be hard enough without all that snow.

Anyway, thanks to that lady. Glad to know I wasn’t hallucinating.

••••••

Another reason I’m not too keen on an early spring – pollen.

I know pollen is necessary for many plants. Fine. Does there have to be so much of it?

According to my favorite weather site, tree pollen is “high” as I’m writing this. Why does it have to be high? Is it because pollination is such a hit-or-miss proposition that there has to be so much of it? Okay, that’s probably the case. Conceded.

Having conceded that point, I have another question from a different perspective: If so much pollen is necessary, why must it have the effect it has when I breath it in? I have nothing against trees or grass. Shucks, I’m willing to live and let live when it comes to ragweed. Why do they insist on being so mean to me? And others? Just asking.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: David Nichol is a freelance writer who recently retired from the Times-Herald. He can be contacted at nicholdb@cablelynx.com.)