Haskell’s Milk is just the thing/to make kids strong and full of Zing.
– Augusta dairy rhyme
When Bill Baab, my longtime Chronicle colleague, told me he was working on a book about our region’s old dairies, I’m sure I said something polite, while thinking to myself: “Who would want to read about dairies?”
But Bill, as usual, surprised me.
His Augusta on Glass: The Retail Dairies of Aiken, Columbia and Richmond Counties gives an insight into a time when our town’s suburban meadows featured cows, not cul-de-sacs, and milk-drinking customers could count on delivery to their homes.
While reading it, I began to remember a time in my past when I knew the difference between a Jersey and Guernsey.
In telling the individual stories of nearly 40 different farms, Bill describes how the local milk industry grew, adapted and evolved before national chains and groceries took over.
Among my favorites in his collection was the story of Greene’s Creamery on East Boundary, which started out as a firecracker stand and became not just a grocery, but one that featured one of Augusta’s most popular eating places in the mid-1900s.
There is the inspiring story of Sam Jones Dairy in Clearwater, and his example of hard work and success, despite the challenges of being a minority businessman at a time when that could be a problem.
Bill, an Augustan since childhood, also writes of Sunday visits to Sancken Dairy, where his family would watch the cows being milked for entertainment.
It was a simpler time.
I’m sure Bill, a noted collector of antique and historic bottles, became interested in dairies because they featured the glassware of his book title. And his book is filled with photos of old bottles, old bottle lids or caps, signs, bills, old photos and pictures of the dairies.
“This book isn’t what you’d call complete because of a lack of histories for some dairies,” Bill writes in the introduction.
Still, he gives us a closer look at the days when Augusta and Aiken were ringed with local dairy farms, all eager to deliver their product to your door.
Bill lives at 2352 Devere St., Augusta, and I’m sure he’d like to hear from you if you have any old dairy stories (or bottles) to share.
TODAY’S JOKE: Here’s one passed along by Jim Hope, of Sylvania:
A husband and wife took their 2-year-old daughter to the home-improvement store.
Madison got tired of walking, so the dad let her ride on his shoulders. As he walked, Madison began pulling his hair. Although he asked her to stop several times, she kept on.
Getting annoyed, he scolded, “Madison! Stop that!”
“But, Daddy,” she replied, “I’m just trying to get my gum back.”