As I recently loaded my grocery cart at a local box store cash register, it dawned on me how much things had changed in the “in touch” conveniences we used to experience at grocery stores, gas stations and certain “front door purchases.”

For example, other than mowing lawns in the local neighborhood, my first youthful employment was at a small corner grocery store where it was my responsibility to sack groceries, put them in a cart and push them to the customer’s car where we unloaded them into the back seat or trunk.

In our little town, occasionally, especially in the case of the elderly who had walked to the grocery store, we would walk the cart of groceries to their doorstep and sometimes unload them on their kitchen table.

One of the fun times was when we purchased gasoline at a small town station. There was no need for customers to ever get out of the car. The owner would show up at the driver’s side of the car, inquire about the type and amount of gasoline and then pump it into the car. That would be followed by lifting the hood, checking water and oil and then cleaning the car’s windows.

At one station in our small town, following all of this, the owner would conclude the service by throwing a free candy bar to the children in the car, usually a Clark bar, Milky Way, Hershey’s bar or Reese’s Cup.

At that time, I never imagined the day would come when I would get out of the car, pump my own gas in a sleet and rain storm and walk into the station to make a payment for the purchase.

One of the treats of living in the country would be having milk delivered to our front door step. We would have a milk box on the porch. My mother would place an order for milk which was delivered from the “milk truck” in glass bottles. I recall getting up early, before my mother placed the order to remind her that I wanted chocolate milk to go along with the traditional white milk.

One of the early “in touch services” that still makes me chuckle is the party line of our earliest telephone.

I recall my mother talking on the phone. When she finished her conversation, she said, “I need to call Eleanor. Does anyone know whether or not she is home?”

Immediately seven neighbors on our party line replied, “she was driving out of her driveway. I think she’s gone right now.”

“She told me she had a doctor’s appointment,” said three others.