Milk Man

I went to a conference this week on the other side of town. To get there, my choice was to go all the way around town on the beltway or cut straight through the city. I’m so glad I chose to cut through.

The street on which I traveled for most of the east to west portion of the trip was North Avenue, which was once a thriving commercial district. It still has many small businesses and although the streetcars that once ferried citizens back and forth from Druid Hill Park to downtown Baltimore are long gone, the bus lines that run along this route are heavily used.  All this means that when I was traveling in the morning rush hour and then again in the beginning of the afternoon rush, it was a teeming with life.

North AvenueWould I want to be there late at night? No. Was it safe in the middle of the day? Totally. And the sights and sounds I would have missed if I’d taken the beltway. The colors. The faces.

One face in particular made my day.

The conference was great — I learned about some new instructional technology, and I made some new contacts of other folks in the field. On top of that I was able to visit with a good friend whom I had not seen in way too long. But it was tiring, as these things are. I am some weird mix of introvert/extrovert. I seek out opportunities to be with people but then am exhausted and drained by being “on” all the time at these things.

So although it was a great day, it was all catching up to me when I was driving home.  I waited at a red light, window open to enjoy the warmth and sunglasses on to dim the brightness of the early afternoon sun. I had my elbow propped on the open window and my head resting against my hand. I yawned. I yawned big time. And at just that moment of yawning, an older man was in the crosswalk just passing my car. In the strong afternoon sun, his bright blue shirt was striking against his dark skin. But what really caught my attention was when he smiled a broad smile at me and said “Come on now, you know you can’t be that tired!” and continued on his way, carrying two gallon jugs of milk in his right hand.

And then he was gone.

The light turned green. I smiled and drove on, headed east with the sun at my back. And you know what? I was not that tired, after all.

(photo courtesy of


4 thoughts on “Milk Man

  1. Chance encounters like that can really make your day! One of the things I remind myself often is that you never know when some cheery word or smile you give to someone else might make a difference in their life that you will never know about.

  2. You have a new blog! Yay! 🙂
    I was thanking you this weekend for introducing me to the Carolina Chocolate Drops in a post a couple years ago. I finally got to see them this weekend at the Ottawa Folk Fest (twice no less) and they were amazing.
    I love those unexpected moments in life as we go about days, people can be just wonderful.

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