A rosebud by any other name. What does it conjure up for you?
I have enjoyed it in poetry and in song. I have savored it on the bush and in perfume. I have heard it in motion pictures and on television shows. Simpsons fans might recall a famous episode called “Rosebud” in which the iconic 1941 Orson Welles movie “Citizen Kane” was parodied. I have visited places with that name and eaten at Rosebud restaurants.
I also have fond memories of the former Rosebud Creamery in Plattsburgh when local and regional milk processors dotted the landscape. I worked on farms and marveled at how the milk hauler could lift the heavy, full cans of cool milk onto his truck for delivery to the local dairy plant.
As I sat in my comfortable kitchen on a sunny January morning, I searched my brain for how much one of those thick steel, 10-gallon milk cans weighed full of whole milk. Unpasteurized milk weighs 8.6 pounds per gallon. That would add up to 86 pounds in those big cans. Ah, yes, but how much does the can weigh?
Anyone who passed by our house on the morning I began this column might have done a double take as they saw this old fat guy in his pajamas step onto the front porch with bathroom scales under one arm. I picked up one of the two old milk cans that flank the door and set it on the scales, balancing it delicately to get an accurate reading. Sixteen pounds, as near as I could tell.
Do the math. For the can full of milk, 102 pounds. Imagine the muscles on that man who could grab the handles of two cans — one in each hand — and lift them from the cooler and easily put both up on the truck in one, swift motion. Those were the days when men were men and stayed in shape without ever visiting a gym.
And did you know that those big, old milk cans had two different kinds of lids? Mine are referred to as “umbrella” tops with an over-hanging lip you grab to take them off. The other variety is called the “plug cover” with a handle in the middle. Aha. You forgot them, didn’t you?
In days of yore, when you ordered coffee in a diner, your cream came in a tiny, glass bottle. You might recall that I wrote about spotting a Rosebud Creamery creamer bottle in a North Georgia antique shop last October. I was so excited seeing it there, that I failed to buy it; but I did take photos. After reading my comments about it in this column space, a man from that area wrote, promising to go and look for it, purchase the creamer and send it to me. Never happened. You know, like the check’s in the mail.
I received an email message from Press-Republican Editor Lois Clermont last week saying she had a present for me. I hurried to her office and was handed not one, but two Rosebud Creamery glass creamer bottles. For me, little things mean a lot. Those little bottles were a thrill.
I was introduced to Josie Tripp, who is the Press-Republican Business Office Manager. She said her dad, Joe Tripp, worked for some time at the former Rosebud Creamery. Josie found a paper bag in her mother’s possession. It contained Rosebud Creamery glass creamer bottles. She was delighted to have found them for me.
I have a number of old milk bottles on a shelf in my garage, but no creamer bottles. Sadly, one of the mild earthquakes that rumbled around here a few years back caused several of my precious bottles to tumble down onto the cement slab. Smithereens is a good word to describe the result.
Needless to say, my precious Rosebud Creamery creamer bottles will be ensconced in a safe spot inside the house and it won’t be where they are vulnerable. Hey, maybe I can put them in my sock drawer.
Have a great day and please, drive carefully.
Gordie Little was for many years a well-known radio personality in the North Country and now hosts the “Our Little Corner” television program for Home Town Cable. Anyone with comments for him may send them to the newspaper or email him at email@example.com.