Lenny Sherman has been making his rounds for 41 years - an old-fashioned Rhode Island milkman who delivers wire baskets filled with milk in glass bottles sealed with cardboard discs.
Sherman, 62, is, according to an article in the current issue of Country Living, is one of the last of a breed.On two Rhode Island routes with several hundred customers, Sherman rolls along in a vintage snub-nosed Divco delivery truck.
He represents a bit of history that is disappearing as America gives way to instant everything and 24-hour supermarkets full of items in disposable containers. Supermarket milk comes in cardboard.
"Pah!" Sherman said of cardboard-packaged milk. "There's no comparing the taste. Once you've had milk from a glass bottle, you can never accept the other again."
A health-conscious generation of young parents seems to agree. The glass-bottle, home-delivery milk business is booming for Sherman's employer, the A.B. Munroe Dairy of East Providence.
It is one of a tiny handful of survivors of an industry that, during its heyday in the 1930s, saw 23 dairies thriving in the greater Providence area.
"We haven't changed much," said Rob Armstrong, the third generation of his family to own the dairy since they bought it from A.B. Munroe, who founded the enterprise in 1881.
"Lenny's a legend in this business," Armstrong said. "There are very few people who would keep those kinds of hours, carrying the heavy baskets of milk and putting up with the freezing cold of winter and the sweltering heat of summer.
"Yet, he's never stopped from the time he was a kid and he's never lost the spring in his step. We can barely get him to take a vacation. He runs rings around the younger men. Lenny is simply amazing."
Sherman finds nothing extraordinary about his career.
"I started delivering milk when I was 16," he said. "I'd do the milk route in the morning, then drive a cab until midnight. I quit high school after two years.
"Back in those days, we didn't have refrigerated trucks, so we carried the milk in open pickups with a layer of ice on the bottom of the bed and a blanket thrown over the top. When the first real dairy trucks came in, I had to drive standing up; there were no seats. Driving those things was like steering a freight train."
After all these years - and still getting paid strictly on a 131/2-percent commission on what he sells - Sherman believes having a truck with a seat, power steering and automatic transmission is the lap of luxury.
Sherman's day begins when the alarm clock blares at 4 a.m. The days often don't end until 6.p.m.
Sherman has found that as people have become more interested in healthy eating and preserving the environment, skim and low-fat milk have overtaken old-fashioned butterfat or "regular" milk and many new customers are drawn to the delivery service by the recyclable glass bottles.
His job takes Sherman into people's homes and he often puts the milk right into the refrigerator for elderly or disabled clients.