Another tale of our pets - a little humor, too
|Heidi vs. the Milkman
If you remember the Milkman, you are of the age of majority (or more). If you don’t, at one time – a much simpler time, a man came to your house and actually delivered milk. This was before the age of 7-Eleven. It was before the age of instant gratification – available 24 hours a day. Stores closed early, and stayed closed on Sundays. Gas stations only sold gas. The Milkman delivered milk. It was a simple system. . Even the Russians and their arsenal of nuclear missiles didn’t keep the Milkman from delivering milk.
Only Heidi could do that.
Heidi hated the Milkman. We suspected that she really hated his truck, but he was the one driving it, after all.
One theory says that the war began because the Milkman “brushed” her back with his truck one day. Another says that she couldn’t stand the noise that the squeaking rattletrap made when he came up the driveway.
Cause notwithstanding, Heidi hated the Milkman.
Most of the time, Heidi was inside the house while no one was home, but when the weather was nice, she could be chained in the back yard. She was a good dog – protective of her family and her yard, just like she was supposed to be. And, she hated the Milkman.
So when the Milkman arrived for his delivery, the first thing he did was wait in his truck to see if Heidi was loose. He knew that if she didn’t show up at his door a few seconds after he got to the garage, the coast was clear. He’d make his delivery and continue on his route. If she was loose, he’d stay in his truck and beep his horn until someone corralled her. If no one came to rescue him, he wouldn’t deliver our milk.
He delivered our milk when the world was on the brink of annihilation during The Cuban Missile Crisis, but he wouldn’t deliver our milk if Heidi were loose.
Generally, this routine worked for everyone.
We learned that if we wanted milk, a) Heidi better be inside the house, or b) securely tied up outside.
He learned that if he didn’t want a 90-pound German Shepherd biting his backside, he’d make damn sure that either a, or b were true.
Please note that these were the days when Milkmen, Mailmen, and Paperboys were routinely bitten by neighborhood dogs – with and without cause. No one was “mauled”. No one got sued. No one got arrested, and the evening news didn’t show up with some “investigative reporter” sticking a camera in your face. I’d give anything to have those days back again.
But once again, I digress.
This is about Heidi and the Milkman, not my longing for simpler times.
As time passed, Heidi learned the Milkman’s routine. Even if she was loose, instead of charging his truck with much barking and gnashing of teeth only to be rebuffed by a closed door, she began to wait. She’d sit quietly at the end of the house. Watching. Waiting. Then, when the Milkman was past the point of no return, she’d make her move.
These were scenes worthy of Funniest Home Videos – except back then, it would have been Funniest 8mm Home Movies. Milkman running. Heidi chasing. I swear, you could see that dog smiling with every nip at his heels.
One notable bout occurred on a hot summer day when Heidi was chained in the back yard. Under normal circumstances, the chain was more than enough to secure her, but Heidi hated the Milkman. This particular day was like every other. The Milkman pulled up to the garage and waited. Then he got out of his truck and looked around the corner. Sure enough, Heidi was safely chained in the back yard. Secure in the thought that he could make his delivery unmolested he started around the house.
At that moment Heidi lunged one more time, and don’t you know it, that chain snapped freeing 90 pounds of snarling dog with only one thing in mind. Heidi hated the Milkman.
Now, the Milkman wasn’t a rocket scientist, but he wasn’t stupid, either.
He had a Plan B.
“In the event of emergency, if you can’t get back to the truck, lock yourself in the garage.”
So, in what was probably a world record dash, the Milkman beat Heidi to the garage and slammed the door, just in the nick of time. He was safe. If he had to, he could stay there all day. It was a Milkman’s haven. Sooner or later, the dog would give up and he could escape.
Just like he figured, Heidi got bored fairly quickly. She had done her job anyway. The Milkman had been chased, if not bitten. She could go about her business, and so could he.
The Milkman had escaped un-bitten. Heidi had chased him, and we had gotten our milk. It seemed like a win-win-win situation.
As Heidi headed off to chase a rabbit, or bark at a squirrel, the Milkman made his move. He quickly sneaked out the side door of the garage, sprinted to his truck and closed the door. On this day, he had outsmarted the dog.
Or so he thought.
In what had to be the cruelest of twists of fate, his day with Heidi was not over.
The next stop on his route was two houses down. In our rural neighborhood, that was probably about 1000 feet through the woods.
As he stepped out of that rickety milk truck, Heidi crept around from behind the truck and without so much as a growl, gave him a tug on his pants leg. The neighbor’s delivery crashed to the driveway in a sea of broken glass and Grade A Pasteurized Milk.
No blood, no foul – just sweet victory for Heidi versus the Milkman.
She then turned away and headed home secure in the knowledge that once again, Dog was smarter than the Milkman.
I’ll bet she was smiling, too.
Author's Note: This report has been compiled through the testimony of the Milkman, and the neighbor, both of whom took an oath of honesty prior to telling us their versions of the day. We all swear that it’s true.