His day starts before dawn and goes until after 7 p.m. I have been asked to not give out his name or phone number. He is not adding any more customers. The route is long enough. No new customers please!
For more than 30 years I worked for Roy Dwyer, who was a milkman in Pacific Beach, southern La Jolla, Mission Beach and Point Loma. He drove an old Divco milk truck with standup driving and a cow “moo” horn. He worked from the early 1960s until the early 2000s.
The route served generations of customers from grandparents to great-grandchildren. There were commercial stops like the Beachcomber, the Pennant, and the Silver Fox. He had his circle of sin in the Sports Arena district, including the Body Shop and Pacers. After that, he would serve customers in The Orchard seniors’ apartment complex. Some things he didn’t do for money. He became a much loved part of thousands of people’s lives.
Dwyer was a World War II veteran. He fought his way across the Pacific, as a special operations type platoon leader. He came back from the war with a strong belief that it is an honor to serve. Bringing milk to customers is an honor, something to take pride in.
Dwyer lost his sense of smell by breathing too much gun powder. I became his taste tester and quite good at that. I could tell if the customer’s refrigerator was to warm, if the milk had been left out, or was about to go bad.
We worked as a team, me running the milk to the door or to the refrigerator inside. Dwyer driving and keeping the books. Some of the houses had large dogs. They would come running at me barking. I put the milk bottle between me and the dog. Right in their nose, with the smell of milk, their opinion of me changed. I am lucky it always worked.
The main advantage of milk delivery is taste. Milk tastes different after it has been warmed on the way home from the grocery store. Once warmed milk has a flatter taste with a slight cooked butter fragrance and a feel of fat on the tongue not quite sour but an off flavor.
Milk that has always been cold keeps its crispness and the creamy smooth flavor of its homogenized butter fat. My daughters have been spoiled by milk delivery. They have had it all their lives and will leave the once warmed “left out” milk for me. The milk is not spoiled, just my daughters.
Milk delivery is almost a thing of the past. I suggest bringing an insulated bag and frozen blue ice to the store to keep your milk cold on the way home. Refrigerated home delivery of your milk and groceries from online is a good modern choice. Delivered cold milk will always taste better.