I know it must be Wednesday because I saw a Calder Bros. Dairy delivery truck tooling around the neighborhood while I was out walking. You really can’t miss that big ol’ step van with the images of cute black-and-white Holstein dairy cows cavorting along the sides and back. Those splotches of black and white look like the old Gateway computer logo. Meanwhile, back at the Dairy on Southfield Road in Lincoln Park, similar black-and-white cow patches are emblazoned on outside benches, planters and across the perimeter awnings as well.
My all-time favorite logo on the Calder’s step vans is the one that depicts an original delivery truck, as is pictured above. When we first moved to Michigan in 1966, those trucks were always zipping around nearby since many of our neighbors enjoyed milk delivery service. The Calder’s milk man would arrive at the door, toting a wire basket with glass bottles filled with fresh milk that clinked together as he set them down on the porch or stowed them in the milk chute.
Milk chute – now there’s an old-fashioned word. Houses built after the 60s no longer have milk chutes, those clever little pass-through doors where the milkman stored the milk, butter, cream, sometimes eggs … and even his bill. He delivered on one side of the door and Mom retrieved the goods from inside the house. Well chute!! Chances are that you might never have seen a milk chute if you live in a more-modern neighborhood.
Seeing that delivery truck always sends me on a mini nostalgic trip because we were one of many stops for the milkman back in the early 60s when we lived in Canada. I recall that we had a milk chute with a pale green painted door. I’ve always loved milk and can distinctly remember my mom swiping whatever dried “milk moustache” I was wearing with her Kleenex and a dab of spit when I was just a little nipper. How I hated when she did that! I would protest “Mommy don’t!”, but she did it anyway.
I was reminiscing about those days this week when I read that Calder Bros. Dairy is celebrating its 70th year in business. Their egg nog and ice cream is to die for. Calder’s ice cream was a big treat for Mom and me back in the mid-70s, especially if I stopped by the ice cream parlor, and my friend Carol was scoopin’ cones in the back part of the dairy. Carol scooped her way through college and then moved on, so there were no more triple-scoop peach ice cream cones, so we had to settle for a single or double of their delightfully creamy and rich treats instead. On a hot Summer’s day, people stand in lines that snake around the entire Dairy … and then some.
As we creep toward Cruisin’ Downriver this Saturday, as early as Thursday or Friday, those cruisers will emerge in their classic cars, circa the 50s through the 70s, and will reign on Fort Street. Who knows – just maybe one of Calder’s original milk trucks might sneak into that queue alongside the parade of shiny cars.
On this cool and refreshing morning, I sure was moo-ving. I walked four miles before I went home to chug down a tall glass of chocolate milk.