The Milkman


The Milkman and The Mountain

Just after daybreak I could hear him approaching in the distance.

Clip clop, clip clop then the subtle ring of a metal bell. Standing tall, like the mountains behind him, on the bed of a flatbed wagon pulled by a mule. Summoned by that bell, women in the barrio would bring their coins and a vessel – a bowl, a pitcher, to their gate at the roadside. Ramrod straight, the milkman would dip his ladle into a tall metal canister and bring out the desired quantity at each stop. His balance was impeccable, never faltering as he navigated the cart along the main road with traffic speeding by.

Clip clop, clip clop, stop, ring, ladle and repeat.

It was difficult to guess his age, I suspected he appeared older as did most of the men in this country. Skin weathered as brown and terra cotta red as those glorious mountains in the backdrop and the dust kicked up and swirling from vehicles racing by. Muscular, wiry, wizened as this land, his daily routine, starting before dawn and producing a miniscule income. It was clear from his demeanor he was proud in the knowledge he was providing a vital service to the families counting on his delivery.

I made a point of rising earlier than usual each morning and taking my tea on our porch along his route. Clip clop, clip clop, stop, ring, he was near. I would wait and catch his eye as he passed.

“Adios” I would offer, “Adios” he would reply with a gentle smile.


Day 8 of Writing 101 – today’s prompt and twist involved adverbs – Death to Adverbs”

Today’s Prompt: Go to a local café, park, or public place and write a piece inspired by something you see. Get detailed: leave no nuance behind.

Thoughtful writers create meaning by choosing precise words to create vivid pictures in the reader’s mind. As you strive to create strong imagery, show your readers what’s going on; avoid telling them.

Today’s twist: write an adverb-free post. If you’d rather not write a new post, revisit and edit a previous one: excise your adverbs and replace them with strong, precise verbs.

I chose to edit a post that came from one of the first pieces I wrote just after retiring (a writing class assignment).  It is a favorite of mine, lent itself to the “Death to Adverbs” theme and there was an  adverb I could execute – done!  Published early on in the blog as “The Milkman and The Mountain” it takes place in Costa Rica and is taken from my personal experiences.

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