I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37
It gets real hot in North Florida. When I write these stories I always try and remember things that happened in my youth that were either funny or difficult or both. Sometimes though they are just hilarious. When I was about eight years old, my Momma and Daddy were always looking for ways to save a little money. I didn’t know if we were rich or poor and I don’t suppose it mattered. Sometimes it was more obvious but most times it was just life.
I’m not sure how we got started but we began to buy our milk from a family that lived about a mile from where we lived. It wasn’t really a dairy farm it was more like three or four cows. We would go over twice a week and buy a couple of gallons in big half-gallon glass jugs. And let me tell you…this wasn’t the pasteurized stuff we drink today. It was straight from the cow. And one more thing, it was NOT 2%, or 1% or skim milk. No sir, this stuff came fully loaded with milk fat. It was good. We had an old ice cream churn, the kind you had to crank and that milk made the best ice cream you ever tasted. It was always a special day when we went and got milk. And then one day it wasn’t.
We were still driving that old 1957 Plymouth and it was time to get milk. I think Momma was driving and one of my sisters was in the front seat and the other in the back with me. Those were the days before seat belts and rules about kids not sitting in the front seat. In fact in those days the dashboard was made out of metal. Anyway, we got to the home where they sold the milk. Momma paid the lady and I was supposed to carry the milk to the car and carefully put it on the floorboard in the backseat. It was a good plan…almost.
The milk jugs had little handles on the top near the neck of the jug. I picked up the jugs, one in each hand and headed to the car. I put the jugs down on the ground and opened the back door. Then I turned around and picked up one of the jugs and set it on the floorboard. Then I turned around to get the second jug and put it next to the other. You know, next is a nice word. It means close too. Well, I swung that ole jug through the door and well, you might say I got it just a little too close to the other one. There was a sound of glass hitting glass and one of the jugs busted wide open and that nice fresh milk spilled all over the carpeted (remember that) floorboard. Bummer.
Momma came over and of course was upset about the wasted milk. I was too, but you know what they say, “There’s no use crying over spilt milk.” That is true but things were going to get worse before they got better. I suppose we bought another half-gallon of milk and headed for the house. Once there I did my best to clean up the spilt milk. The problem was first there was carpet and then, like they did back then, there was a thick pad underneath the carpet. You could do what you wanted to, but there was no way all that milk was coming out of that carpet and pad.
Remember I told you that it gets real hot in North Florida. Well, by the next morning there was a strange odor in the whole car and it just got worse and worse. By the end of the first day the smell of sour milk made it just about impossible to sit in the car. We already had the windows down because there was no air conditioning but even that didn’t stop the odor. It made it better but when Momma or Daddy hit a stop light, Katie bar the door…it stunk. So for days and days our 1957 Plymouth smelled horrible. I’m pretty sure I was not winning any popularity contests for about the next two weeks. That smell lasted a long after the accident…oh boy did we hate it.
Have you ever broken a jug of milk in your car before? Well, probably not, but let me ask you this. “Have you ever done something wrong, something that hurt someone, something that broke someone’s heart?” You probably know that is really what this story is about. You see when we get all fired up and make some bad choices with big regrets it doesn’t just go away…oh not…it lingers and lingers and lingers. And you know and I know sometimes the scar just stays forever. I know we shouldn’t cry over spilt milk but maybe we should shed a few tears over broken hearts, hearts that we have broken.
I sure wish I had been more careful that day. I know I was just a kid but I was old enough to be careful. My careless behavior caused a big stink and it was a stink we all had to endure. I think we should be more careful with our actions and our words each day. If we would it might save a few hearts and a few big stinks. The Bible says that we will have to give an account for every word and every action that we say or do. Do you know what? If I would have asked, my big sister would have helped me that day…so would Momma but I thought I could handle it. We think that way in life too. Why not ask for a little help from your Heavenly Father before the milk gets spilt? He is always ready to help you carry your milk. Two things are certain…you can count on Him and always, He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne