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Old-fashioned kindness finds place in high-tech world
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When I went to the garden shop of a local big-box store several weeks ago to purchase some flats of pansies and a small bag of dirt to complete the filling of my pots, I happened to talk to a very nice lady who was picking out some bags of dirt for herself.

She had with her a young man whom I assume was her grandson, and when I indicated that I wanted a bag of dirt as well, she instructed him to place a bag in my cart for me. She told him to pick out a good one that was not torn.

He did. I paid for my purchases and rolled my cart out to my car and opened my trunk. I was contemplating how best to pick up that bag and get it into the trunk. I was relatively certain I could pick it up, but because it would be floppy, not rigid, I was not sure how awkward it would be. At that very moment, that same young man came running across the parking lot and picked up the bag and placed it in my trunk for me.

I told him thank you several times. But I want to publicly acknowledge the kindness done to me by that young man and his grandmother. Maybe 50 years ago such kindness was common, but not today.

To my recurring theme that I am getting old, I want to add this incident. I’m not as robust as I used to be, and and I must look it.

But, when it comes to technology, I do my best to enter the 21st century.

About three years ago, I upgraded my home phone to get Caller ID. I realize this is 20th century technology, but it was new to me.

I can’t tell you how useful this has been. I am on the no-call list, but I still get phone solicitations. Someone called me and told me I had to change my health insurance by Oct. 1 and asked me to give him my bank account number and he would handle all the details. How gullible did he think I am?

Charities call and want me to donate or call on neighbors to donate. Periodically, someone calls me to assure me that he can lower my credit card carrying charges.

Someone constantly calls me and says someone who loves me has paid for a magic panic button that I can use if I need help or am sick. It will be shipped to me free and all I have to do is pay a monthly fee. Who believes this stuff?

I have also been offered free blood sugar checking gadgets — free if I just buy their testing strips. I don’t check my blood sugar daily, and my doctor has not ordered me to do so.

My point is, as I ramble, that I like caller ID. I don’t have to answer those calls.

I have also recently acquired a digital video recorder service. We have more than one television, so the recording part of the device is on the television I primarily watch, but you can watch what is recorded on any television. I put it on my television because my husband asks me to set the alarm on his clock. If the electricity goes off and all the clocks and stuff start blinking, they stay blinking until I get home to fix them. I’m not saying my husband couldn’t learn to manage this technological wizardry, but why should he bother if I will do it for him?

I have taken to my DVR with alacrity. I can access that guide and record several things while I am watching something else. If I am to go out for the night, I study the guide and set the DVR to record what I will miss.

When my television provider gives me free access to some premium channel for the weekend, I study the guide and record movies galore. I must have at least 10 movies waiting for me to watch them.

I wonder how much you can keep on that little gadget, because I have things stacked up to be watched.

I know mastering the use of a DVR does not make me a technological wizard, but I do try to keep up.

Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at