Claude McConkey had his delivery truck almost full of groceries to be delivered from Fred Weaver’s store when he would tell me to hop in.

I knew it was time to start our delivery runs because the phone had been busy most all morning and Fred had been writing a lot of things down on “grocery tickets.”

Do you remember those days when all you had to do was pick up the phone, call Fred’s store or one similar and tell him all the items you wanted delivered to your home? Fred wrote the items down on a “ticket” with a carbon copy, which was sent in one of those old bushel baskets to your house along with your order.

Fred would give your phoned-in order to me or Glen Mainnis. I or Glen would go around through the store picking up the items you wanted and putting them in the basket. We priced each one and wrote it on the ticket. Some orders took more than one basket to hold but we had plenty of baskets in the back of the store building.

I would take the full baskets out the back door and slide them up into the back of the panel truck Claude drove. He would look over the names of those customers and figure out the best route for delivery.

I remember quite a few people to whom we delivered groceries and Ms. Adalade Tinnel on East First Avenue was one whose details have stuck in my mind very strongly.

Claude would pull the truck up to the curb at the back of her house where I would get out and take her basket of groceries into the back door after Claude verified it was her order and the credit ticket was correct. I would even put some things such as milk or meats into her ice box for her out on her back porch. There weren’t electric refrigerators in those days. Some of the other things she would ask me to put up into her cabinet shelves for her. Everything had its place to go and I put it where she said it went.

She checked everything on her order as I took it out of her basket and we never had any problems. Ms. Tinnel would even add up the price of everything on her order and be more than willing to sign the original copy of her order.

This was the procedure for each delivery to every house we went and these signed tickets were taken back to the store, given to Fred and placed alphabetically by customer’s name in a big ticket-holding, spring-loaded, metal contraption. I honestly don’t think anyone had issues paying what they owed for groceries by payday. That’s the way it was in them days.

We had customers not only all over east side but all across town, up to the Highland Park area and over into Martel. I guess there were hundreds of customers ordering deliveries in this manner. Yes, Claude and I stayed busy.

I’ve told you already about Evans and Hines Grocery being the last of the merchants who delivered groceries here in town. My mama never had a car or a telephone, so she walked to town sometimes just to turn in her grocery list to Burt Hines. He operated in the same manner as Weaver’s and she would leave her list with him, walk back home five or so blocks and wait on delivery from the store a few days later in the week. His son, “Sneeze,” had the same job that I had with Fred and he delivered my mom’s groceries until the family gave up their store.

Just like we’ve said before — time changes everything. Not all, but most, of the changes are for the worse, ain’t they?

Herb Linginfelter is a Lenoir City native who often writes of his years growing up here. Contact him at 865-986-7248.