Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Deliveries


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In our small town, there was a guy named Harold Hallman who hauled freight for a living, but he didn't change his name to Haulman. He drove 3-plus hours down the mountains to Sacramento, got the stuff, and drove 3-plus hours back, delivering bread, milk, meat, etc., to the grocery store but also delivering stuff to indivuals in town.
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For example, my parents had Harold deliver milk and ice cream for a while. The only ice-cream he ever delivered was Maple Nut because that was the flavor my father liked. --Not a democracy, in case you were wondering. The ice cream came in a huge tub, which I guess held 5 gallons. Maybe ten. All the stuff came in boxes made of hardwood and metal. I think the Crystal Dairy Company in Sacramento owned them, and Harold was affiliated with it.
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At any rate, my father kept some of those boxes, which he flipped over (metal bottom on top) and put in the back of his pickup when he had too many passengers than could fit in the cab. I believe this sort of practice is illegal now, as it should be, especially in late Fall in the Sierra Nevada (when al fresco transportation is not enjoyable), but also because of the whole seat-belt thing, etc. Sometimes there were several of us back there with hounds because my father wanted to drive around looking for deer after work, towards dusk, when the weather was even more lovely.
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Rarely did we see a deer that he might shoot, I presume because the deer were at home with their feet up, reading the newspaper. Nor did we really want him to see a deer and to shoot it--for we were cold and selfish and did not wish the evening to be extended any further.
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A very classy image comes to mind: a family and its dogs riding around mountain roads. The dogs had their noses in the air.
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I'm sure my father asked Harold's permission to keep those unusually durable boxes, but it never occurred to me to ask. The strange boxes were simply part of the landscape immediately around our house. One of my brothers worked for Harold for a while, loading and unloading freight.
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Deliveries
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The time has always come
somewhere, I suppose, for
who knows what. To whomever
time has come, the what usually
becomes clear on delivery. Time
delivers the goods and the bads.
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It's the biggest shipping company,
with offices in every moment and
deliveries to any place. You look
into a moment, see the package,
open it, and say, "Hey, look what
time delivered. I don't really
remember ordering that."
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Copyright 2009 Hans Ostrom
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