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Working Hard on an Amish Farmette

Winona grew up near where I did–this is the home and farm where I grew up; hers was just several miles away on a different road. Our farm is now owned by an Amish family.

Another Way for week of July 6, 2018

Working Hard on an Amish Farmette

Guest columnist: Winona Miller

Editors note: Winona Miller of Middlebury, Indiana, reads Another Way in The Goshen News and responded to Melodie Davis about her own growing up days. First of two guest columns by readers. (Photos from Melodie Davis’ own files.)

I grew up on a five-acre farmette, the second of eleven children. We lived so close to a busy U.S. highway that when semi’s would pass by fast, the house would kind of shake.

We had two milk cows and two horses. The cows provided us with plenty of milk and cream that Mom would dip off the top. She put the cream into a glass urn that had a paddle inside and a turn-handle outside, and we kids cranked until it turned to butter.

Typical haymow in a barn.

We grew about two acres of field corn for the cows and horses. We kids kept most of the weeds out of the corn. In the fall we husked the corn and brought it to the barn with Dad’s help. It kept us “out of mischief.” Dad promised us a new bike after all the work one summer, but I think we waited two summers, the funds must have been low. But we did get a new red Western Flyer, the Cadillac of bikes back in the day. One bike for all of us. It got lots of use.

We also had a big garden: lots of planting, weeding and harvesting. In the fall Mom would also order six or seven bushels of peaches from somewhere. To can them, we cut the peaches in half, pried out the stone, and peeled them. Then we stacked the halves nicely in clean quart glass jars, face down. Next a hot sugar syrup was poured into the cans. We put on the lids and gave the jars a boiling hot water bath for 20 minutes in a blue granite canner. We’d have yummy peaches all winter long. Mom was always there to help and teach us how. We also had five nice pear trees bearing pears to eat and can.

My dad was a carpenter by trade. Often after work in the summer, he would take the horse and buggy with his trailer and a big homemade wooden fishing boat, and went to a small local lake to fish. One or two of us kids would always go along. Many times, we’d catch a big bowl of fish. My sister, brother, and I would sit in the yard to scale and clean them. What a yucky job, but good eatin’.

We didn’t have running water, so we did the running. Dad built a washhouse a little ways out from the house, with a big iron kettle over an enclosed fire pit. The night before laundry day, my sister Bonnie and I would carry buckets of water from our outside well that had a small gas engine to pump water. It took quite a few trips to get the kettle filled.

The next morning, Mom got up early to start a fire to heat the water. ‘Twas great news if one of those big semi’s had a tire blow—that gave Mom fuel for a hot fire and the water heated quickly. With a large family and a wringer type washer, laundry days were usually an all-day affair.

Sometimes hobos would walk past on the busy highway and ask for food. Mom would graciously fix them an egg sandwich and tin can of chocolate milk. They were ever so thankful.

My own daughter Tanya scrubbing the sink after helping with dishes.

Oh the dinner dishes we had after the evening meal! That was my sister’s and my job. On nice summer evenings it was tempting to run outside and play for a while before dark. We’d play “Andy I Over,” throwing the ball over the washhouse roof to someone on the other side. If they caught it, they’d sneak over and try to hit us with the ball. We also did lots of cartwheels, skated the sidewalk with our one pair of clamp-on skates, played badminton, climbed trees, played Gray Wolf, Kick the Can and Hide and Seek.

In the meantime, the dirty dishes waited. Mom was busy with the little ones or doing mending or sewing.

We did have lots of fun, not always doing work and chores. Mom and Dad played Rook (card game) with us. Every Saturday Mom went to town for groceries and often she brought home a jigsaw puzzle for us. Many good memories!

***

If you would enjoy reading weekly stories like this from an Amish columnist with eight children, check out Lovina’s Amish Kitchen and subscribe to her weekly column which we at MennoMedia syndicate. Plus like the Facebook page we keep for her if you’re on Facebook.

***

Nostalgia for your growing up days? Do you remember the work, or the play? Comment by emailing me at anotherwaymedia@yahoo.com or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at FindingHarmonyBlog.com a week after newspaper publication.  

 

 

 

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How Often Should You Change Your Sheets?

If you sleep with pets, the sheets need to be washed more frequently. This cat, Riley, used to like to sleep beside me (he has gone on to his reward).

Another Way for week of June 22, 2018

Thoughts Upon Changing Sheets

What’s your worst cleaning-related job? Around your own home, what chores do you dislike most? Do you keep as clean of house as your mother—or your father —did, or do? Or maybe it’s the little job or jobs that you just put off from day to day?

I was amused by a recent email newsletter by author Sarah Quezada who wrote a book we published at Herald Press, Love Undocumented: Risking Trust in a Fearful World. She sends out a weekly email of her best finds—things she’s enjoyed reading or viewing or discovering—usually things online. She shared an article by another writer who detailed the various lengths of times adults change their bedsheets, and confessed to going as much as two months between changes, a practice that surely would have made our mothers’ generation “clutch their pearls” in dismay, as the article put it.

I love sleeping on clean sheets, but we now have a big thick foam king size bed (for which I am very grateful). But I’m not so thankful for the job of changing sheets. It’s heavier work changing sheets with a thick mattress than a thinner type, so sometimes I postpone this needed chore for weeks. Maybe as long as a month. (Dare I confess that here?) I was certainly brought up better than that—thanks, Mom. It was our weekly ritual to pull off all the sheets, wash them, and in earlier days, hang them out to dry (best way ever to have wonderfully smelling sheets!).

Really, it doesn’t take that long—I timed myself recently. Nine minutes from start to finish (including changing 3 pillowcases, and figuring out which end of the king size blanket needs to go at the head). I didn’t rush or push myself. A small job with dreamy dividends. The writer of the article said the job usually takes only 5-10 minutes. Making the bed every morning is another one of those things most of our mothers taught us, but many of my kids’ generation don’t worry about that daily trick which makes me feel at least a little organized and energized to start my day.

I’ve had my share of housecleaning jobs especially when I was a teenager and college kid, and I remember the family—rather wealthy and the county judge—who had me change the bed sheets twice a week in the master bedroom. I got the job through my mom’s friend, so I didn’t really know them. I felt like a bed is kind of intimate private space and I always felt a little funny—doing that job in the inner sanctum of their home.

But this is really more about more than clean sheets. I’ll confess I also didn’t like that particular cleaning job because it made me feel like a maid. I confess that reveals some hidden (or not so hidden) indications of class-ism or job discrimination or superiority based on job status. Of course a doctor or lawyer or judge or teacher gets more respect in our society than waitstaff, cleaning personnel, or sanitation workers. The Bible reminds us, “Show no partiality … if someone wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor person in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ while you say to the poor, ‘You stand over there,’ or, ‘Sit down at my feet,’ have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”

We may not be guilty of overt discrimination like this but most of us struggle with quick snap judgments about people based on job or appearance. As I age, I hope I can learn the secret to being more generous with my thoughts towards others, showing (and feeling) no partiality.

Love Undocumented

What’s your worst/most dreaded household chore? How do you feel about changing sheets? Who makes the bed at your house? Do you dare share here?? I’ll never tell. 😉

Here’s where to find that original article about changing sheets, if you go online https://www.esquire.com/style/news/a43134/washing-sheets-towels/ . Or use my address below to write me for a copy if you don’t use the Internet. And if you’d like to check out Sarah Quezada’s email updates called Road Map, you can sign up here. Or buy her book, Love Undocumented, here.

You can write me at @anotherwaymedia@yahoo.com or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at FindingHarmonyBlog.com a week (or two!) after newspaper publication.
I’ve been on vacation so things are a little behind here.

 

 

 

 

There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy

Another Way for week of June 29, 2018

Thoughts on Mercy

It’s a song I’ve sung most of my life at church. As so often happens, I often do not really pay that much attention to the words. We enjoy the tunes and the sound but so often are minds are not open or connecting with the message of the hymn.

I’m guessing you know this one too, if you are a churchgoer: “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy.” It’s a verysingable and familiar tune, and my hymnal Glory and Praise says it comes from a sturdy Dutch folk melody.

The line that grabbed me profoundly on a recent Sunday was this: “There is no place where earth’s sorrows are more felt than up in heaven.”

When we are hurt or in pain—particularly emotional pain such as after the death of a loved one, divorce, a child’s illness, the many horrific shootings we’ve become too accustomed to—we need to remember that it isn’t a matter of “God took him or her” or “God knows best” and even “God doesn’t make mistakes.”

But especially in the case of a too-early or tragic death, if we believe the line of the hymn, God grieves right along with us.

To me, that is very comforting. When terrible accidents and tragedies happen, God laments with us. When accidents happen—like an accidental gun shooting—God doesn’t cause or allow the tragedy to happen. They just happen—sometimes because of the evil thoughts and actions of men and women. There may be many reasons for accidents—carelessness, overconfidence in one’s ability, showing off, engaging in a sport one loves, making a mistake in speed or other judgment, or taking one’s eyes off the road. God didn’t “allow it to happen,” it just happened.

Rather than focusing on what is the cause, we can focus on supporting those whose lives have been changed forever by the accident or tragedy.  

The week we sang this hymn, I had struggled with a particular weakness of mine. Another line of the hymn reminds us, “There is no place where earth’s failings have such kindly judgment given.” When we can’t forgive ourselves, God does.

When I think of abundant mercy, I think of women and men I have known who have poured out mercy when they were cheated on by a spouse. My husband is not perfect and neither am I (big surprise) but I am so grateful we have not had that problem in our marriage. Or, I think of Wilma Duerksen and her husband Cliff, a family in Manitoba who forgave the killer of their adolescent daughter. I had the opportunity to interview Wilma as our staff at Mennonite Media worked on a documentary, Journey Toward Forgiveness a number of years ago (2001). Hearing the stories of those who’d forgiven enormous wrongs affected all of us deeply who worked on the film, and the viewers we heard from by phone, email, and website.

When there are accidental tragedies, those too take a special gift to be able to forgive whoever was involved. I was touched and deeply moved by the story of Rachelle Friedman who was paralyzed from her neck down the night of her bachelorette party. She and her friends decided to go for a swim in a pool at one of their homes, and horsing around, one friend pushed Rachelle in. It was very shallow water at that end of the pool and Friedman’s head struck the pool’s bottom. She broke her neck, instantly paralyzing her from the collarbone down. A year of so after rehabilitation, she and her fiancé were able to go ahead with the wedding they’d planned, and have since had a child and love each other devotedly. Her mother lives with them to assist as they raise their little daughter, and Friedman forgave her friend, saying she in the past had pushed friends into pools also. Eventually the friendship was too hard to keep up with such a weight on it, and they are no longer actual friends. Friedman has written a book about her accident and the love she’s been shown by her husband and family in The Promise.

I felt this story was worth sharing not only because of the illustration of forgiveness and mercy shown by Friedman, but a prompt to be extra vigilant around pools, rivers, lakes and oceans as you enjoy nature this summer.

***

Here’s the tune and version of “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy” that I love: https://youtu.be/k-JDxOHTy5I

***

What is a hymn that struck you recently in a new way?

***

A helpful book that deals with the problem of suffering, mercy, and understanding God’s role–especially where children are involved–is Lord Willing? Wrestling with God’s Role in My Child’s Death, by Jessica Kelley. You can read more or purchase here.

And the film we made, Journey Toward Forgiveness, is still available for sale or download from Vision Video. 

***

If you have comments or stories to share, send to me at anotherwaymedia@yahoo.com or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at FindingHarmonyBlog.com a week after newspaper publication.  

In Memory of the Grandfather I Never Knew

My grandfather Ivan C. Stauffer. Note the glint of mischief in this mostly serious face.

Another Way for week of June 15, 2018

In Memory of the Grandfather I Never Knew

The other week I wrote a column responding to my oldest grandson’s query to his mother, “Mommy, what did you do when you were little?”

That column inspired my mother, Bertha, who reads my column in The Goshen News (Ind.) to sit down and write a letter responding to my ending question, “What did you enjoy doing when you were a little girl or boy? Write your own letter for your children or grandchildren.”

I love the letter she wrote in response, mostly about the fun things her father created or brought home for pennies during the depression years of the 1930s. I am happy to share those memories. Her letter is especially poignant for me because her father died in a terrible car crash seven months after I was born. So I never had the chance to know my grandpa Ivan Stauffer.

Ivan C. Stauffer, circa early 1900s.

Most of Mom’s memories of playing revolved around her dad (three children in the family). Usually her mother was too busy with sewing, gardening, or housework to join in, but had more time to play with them in the wintertime.

Here’s Mom’s letter—which I offer as a tribute in her own words. I’ve added my comments in parentheses.

We played croquet, a lot. Dad would get bargains at sales and bring them home (such as the croquet set). He got my first bicycle at a sale for 25 cents.

Dad would “knock out” flies with him at bat, and me catching on Sunday afternoon. I don’t remember if my sister (Florence) played or not, Mom never did. Daddy made us a basket to play basketball, out of an old bucket with the bottom banged out. I could even make baskets standing backwards. You didn’t know that, did you? Ha!

Florence and I, after a rain on the bare ground under the swing in the cherry tree, played our own game. She took a stick and drew pictures in the damp dirt, and I would “buy” what she drew on the ground in pictures. I bet few kids have ever done that. Cheap toys!

My mom, Bertha, far left, sister Florence, and toddler brother Paul.

(Aunt Florence became quite a renowned artist in the northern Indiana area who won ribbons in numerous art shows.)

Dad made all kinds of stuff for us. He made a merry-go-round out of a wagon wheel, quite big, with seats for us. It was lots of fun. We rode down our barn hill with a big cart he made from some more old wagon wheels—very exciting. We played like we were cooking catalpa tree beans and pretended to have lunch.

(Our own children also played with catalpa long bean pods “making dinner” on a pile of rocks under the tree.)

In winter, we played tic tac toe on a real slate blackboard with chalk, or Hangman—which was good spelling exercise, if you remember how to play Hangman. We made our own Authors card game using old cardboard.

None of this cost anything. Last of all I remember Dad making a chair swing from the wringer of an old wringer washer, and putting a round piece of old broom handle on a chain from the tree. I would climb a ladder and swing out over the gravel lane. What fun. That didn’t cost a cent either. I was a depression kid! We played hopscotch a lot when we could find nice cement. Indoors, we often played jacks with neighbor kids.

I do remember my sister playing piano; I used the piano rolls that came with our used piano. I spent hours pumping and listening to great music.

I love this portrait of the grandfather I never knew. It makes me sad though too, that we never knew him. But that’s life. Right now, I’m just grateful to still have my mother, and for her to write these things down, so I have at least these snippets of the creative and fun-loving father my Grandpa Stauffer was. I salute all the dads (my own dad and husband included) who created great toys and fun for their children and took time to play! Ask my grandkids about the wagon with seats and cushions Stuart made to haul them around the yard behind a lawn tractor.

***

A few years ago, I also wrote about Grandpa Ivan Stauffer here.

Do you have memories from your father or grandfather to share? I’d also love to hear! Comment below,

 

Or send to me at anotherwaymedia@yahoo.com or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at FindingHarmonyBlog.com a week after newspaper publication.  

 

 

 

 

Psalm in the letter “M” – Creative Writing Exercise

My online friend (who I’ve not yet met) and sometimes colleague, April Yamasaki, blogged recently about her experiments to do creative interpretations of Psalm 23 with every letter of the alphabet. She invited like-minded wordsmiths who enjoy word play into her mirth. I was mesmerized.

Ah, now, I’m getting carried away with “m” which I have chosen for my own Psalm 23 in the letter M. (Somehow this reminds me of mothering my daughters through their Sesame Street days!)

And while this can be a somewhat devotional activity, it is also clearly having fun with words and letters and any spiritual gravitas should be gleaned mainly from King David’s unforgettable and perhaps all time favorite passage of the Bible.

If you need freshening on the exact text, here is David’s Psalm as rendered by the New International Version, and with photos for inspiration:

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.


He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,


I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

And here is my Psalm using M…

Psalm in the Letter M

1 The LORD is my mediator; Melodie shall not miss out.

2 He maketh me merry in marvelous meadows: he monitors me beside mild marine bodies.

3 He makes over my mobile inner self: he moves me in the methods of morality for his name’s memorability.

4 Mwah, though I meander through the murkiness of mortality, I will fear no madness: for thou art with me; thy miraculous wand mentors my members.

5 He manages to set a mouthwatering meal (metaphysically) with mine enemies: he makest my head murky and messed; my metaphors mirror each other.

6 Surely his mysterious mercy shall follow me mindfully all the measure of my marvelous life: and I will mellow in the house of my Maker for millennia.

–Melodie Davis

***

To find M words, I used the computer’s readily supplied thesaurus, and then Googled for a list of “good M words.” Google went right to work and brought me this marvelous list, all grouped together like you see below, and all in some way “good” or positive. I was spellbound and set to work.

Feast your imagination and then if you are similarly intrigued by creating your own Psalm, write yours after first checking out April’s post to see which letters she still has “available.”

April is a Mennonite pastor in British Columbia and is the author of several books and studies including the forthcoming book Four Gifts: Seeking Self-Care for Heart, Mind, Soul, and Strength from Herald Press, where I serve as managing editor. Her marvelous and mesmerizing new book (oh, opps) can be preordered here.

Good M Words – According to Google

MADE , MAESTRO, MAGIC, MAGICAL, MAGICALLY , MAGICIAN , MAGISTRATE , MAGNANIMITY, MAGNANIMOUS, MAGNANIMOUSLY , MAGNETIC, MAGNETIC TO LOVE, MAGNETICALLY , MAGNIFICENCE, MAGNIFICENT, MAGNIFICENTLY , MAGNIFIES IT, MAGNIFY, MAGNITUDE, MAIDEN, MAIN , MAINTAIN, MAJESTIC, MAJESTICALLY , MAJESTY, MAJOR , MAJOR LEAGUE, MAJOR-DOMO , MAJORITY , MAJORLY , MAKE, MAKE A DIFFERENCE, MAKE DREAMS COME TRUE, MAKE MY DAY, MAKE THE PENNY DROP, MAKER, MAKING AN IMPRESSION, MAKING-A-DIFFERENCE, MALLEABLE, MALLEABLY, MAN, MANA , MANAGE, MANAGEABLE, MANAGER, MANAGERIAL, MANAGERIALLY , MANIFEST, MANLY, MANNER, MANNERLY , MANEUVERABLE, MANY, MARKED, MARKEDLY , MARKING DIVINE, MARVEL , MARVELED, MARVELOUS, MARVELOUSLY, MARVELOUS, MARVELOUSLY, MARVELOUSNESS, MARVELS, MASCULINE, MASSAGE, MASTER, MASTERFUL, MASTERFULLY , MASTERLY, MASTERMIND , MASTERPIECE, MASTERPIECES, MASTERS, MASTERY, MATCHLESS, MATE, MATERNAL, MATERNALLY , MATRIARCH, MATTER , MATTER-OF-FACT, MATURE, MATURELY, MATURING, MATURITY, MAXI, MAXIMAL, MAXIMUM PROTECTION, MEANING, MEANINGFUL, MEANINGFUL WORDS, MEANINGFULLY, MEASURABLY , MEDIATE, MEDITATE, MEDITATION, MEDITATIVE, MEDITATIVELY , MEEK, MELIORISM, MELLOW, MELLOWLY , MELODIOUS, MELODIOUSLY , MEMORABLE, MENCH, MENSCH, MENTOR, MERCIFUL, MERCIFULLY , MERCY, MERIT, MERITABLE, MERITORIOUS, MERITORIOUSLY , MERRILY , MERRIMENT, MERRINESS, MERRY, MESMERIZE, MESMERIZED, MESMERIZES, MESMERIZING, MESMERIZINGLY , METAPHYSICAL, METAPHYSICALLY, METEORIC, METEORICALLY, METHOD, METHODICAL, METHODICALLY , METICULOUS, METICULOUSLY , METTLESOME, MHM, MIGHT, MIGHTILY , MIGHTY, MILD, MIND-BLOWING, MINDER, MINDFUL, MINDFULLY , MINDFULNESS, MINDSIGHT, MINIKIN , MINISTERIAL, MINT, MINT CONDITION, MIRACLE, MIRACLE WORKER, MIRACLES, MIRACULOUS, MIRACULOUSLY, MIRACULOUSNESS, MIRTH, MIRTHFUL, MIRTHFULLY , MITIGATE, MITIGATIVE, MITIGATORY, MM-HMM, MMM, MMMM, MODEL , MODERN, MODERNISTIC, MODEST, MODESTLY , MODESTY, MOM , MOMENTOUS, MONEYED, MONITOR , MONUMENTAL, MONUMENTALLY, MOPPET , MORAL, MORALE, MORALITY, MORALLY, MORE , MORPHING, MOST , MOST CERTAINLY, MOST FORTUNATELY , MOTHER , MOTIVATE , MOTIVATED, MOTIVATED WORDS, MOTIVATING, MOTIVATING WORDS, MOTIVATION, MOTIVATIONAL, MOTIVATIONAL WORDS, MOTIVATOR , MOTOR , MOURNING, MOUTHWATERING, MOVED, MOVEMENT, MOVER, MOVER AND SHAKER, MOVING , MUCH, MUCHO, MULTI, MULTIDIMENSIONAL, MULTIDISCIPLINED, MULTIFACETED, MULTI-PURPOSE, MULTITUDE , MUNCHY, MUNIFICENCE, MUNIFICENT, MUNIFICENTLY , MUSCULAR, MUSCULARLY, MUSICAL, MUSICALLY , MUST , MUTUAL, MUTUALITY, MUTUALLY , MWAH, MY, MY MY, MY WORD, MYRIAD

***

Do word games or puzzles grab you? Once I got started on this, I couldn’t let it go until I’d put together a Psalm. It was fun to do something I didn’t need to do. Thanks, April for this great exercise!

***

What do you do just for fun?

***

Has anything you googled recently utterly amazed you?

 

Save Those Summer Vacation Memories

Another Way for week of June 8, 2018

How to Make Sure You Save Those Summer or Vacation Memories

I was flying somewhere, back in the days when my work took me out of state maybe five to six times a year. I no longer remember the details except for some notes I took in a notebook I recently discovered—and loved the story those notes contained!

A mother of three young children clearly had her hands full flying without a partner: by my judgment, they looked to be about six, four, and a toddler. The four-year-old girl looked particularly mischievous and earned a quick “You will sit over here” when she tried to claim a seat across the aisle with her brother.

The mom, to her credit, definitely had the children under control, yet the four-year-old consistently challenged her mother and at one time, in some way, ended up on the floor, my notes say. I think my own days of raising three under the age of six were not that long past at the time. So I was happy to be flying solo. Flying with littles is not for the faint of heart.

I absorbed myself for most of the flight reading or working on materials. At one point though I noticed, to my somewhat frozen horror, that the children were now reaching back from their row and placing their hands on the seat tray that the well-dressed businessman had pulled down in front of him. What on earth were they doing? How annoying! They wiggled their hands closer and closer to the man’s hands, which were busy writing (with pen and paper).

Then the man finished his writing and tore off a short note and put it in the boy’s hand. I realized they were passing notes through the seat gap! Just for fun, the business traveler was creatively entertaining the two would-be potential handfuls!

Then I saw that the children were drawing pictures and sending them back, and he was captioning them, or something. I noticed that at least two other passengers seated directly behind this row started enjoying the little game as well. We were all smiling.

Counting the mom, her three kids, himself and three passengers, that was eight people being entertained and amused. I instantly loved that man, for his ingenuity, imagination and apparent love of children.

As I reflected on this incident these many many years later, I’m pondering two takeaways. How like Jesus this man was, engaging with the children who ended up by his side, or in this case, the seat in front of him on an airplane! Biblically, I’m referring to the story of Jesus and the children, who the well-meaning disciples wished to chase away—not wanting the teacher to be bothered by little ones interrupting their discussion.

Three of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) include variations on this story: “And they brought young children to him; and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, ‘Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.’”

“Suffer” here is the archaic usage meaning “allow to occur or continue, permit, tolerate.” The man on the plane not only tolerated the natural playfulness and curiosity of the children, but blessed them—and their mother, by entertaining them in his low-key way. Blessed be all those adults who welcome children whether as teachers, daycare providers, parents and grandparents.

My second take away is I would have never remembered this true tale from my travels if I had not written it down. So when you or your children have special moments and little experiences this summer, jot them down in whatever notebook or smart phone or scrap of napkin you have handy—just a few words to jog your memory. Then take the time later if need be, to flesh out what happened, with the little telling details that will bring a smile or a tear many years later.

People often talk about making memories to last a lifetime. Sorry to tell you this: the memories may be in our heads, but digging them up takes notes and in my book, written-down descriptions. You don’t have to write down each experience (heaven forbid) but make time this summer to make sure you record some of those precious moments.

Later, you will thank me. You’re welcome.

 

I’d love to hear about any memorable moments from some of your travels! Share here if you will…

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at FindingHarmonyBlog.com a week after newspaper publication.  


 

What Did You Do When You Were Little?

Another Way for week of June 1, 2018

What Did You Do When You Were Little?

My oldest grandson, Sam, asked his mother recently, “What did you do when you were a little girl?”

So that evening she put him on the phone with me and I recalled a few pastimes or activities, and promised I would think about it more. Some of those details from 35 years ago have gotten swallowed up in time, but pictures helped me think about the particulars. I’m writing this as to him (and of course some of it applies also to his cousin who’s just two months younger than he is). If you have littles or grandchildren, you can read it to your own and insert little changes to make it fit your family. Or get out your own photo album (archaic?) to help recall their fun.

  1. Your mommy and her sisters (and here, with a first cousin Cathy who loved playing with them)

    Tanya in front, Michelle behind, cousin Cathy.

    used to spend hours playing dress up—not with Halloween costumes, but their own creations. They had a big box full of scarves, grandma’s old housecoats, slippers, blouses, shirts, hats, and once, a little girl loaned us ballerina costumes for a couple of weeks. Oh

    Michelle and Tanya.

    what fun they had then!

  2. Your mommy loved playing with the cats—especially when there were baby kittens. Oh the

    Tanya, left in kindergarten with “show and tell pet day.”

    tiny mew mew mews that came from their nests of old soft towels. The baby kitties were blind at first, couldn’t open their eyes. They had to hunt with their heads poking around to find their mommy’s milk. And of course it was very hard for your mommy to wait a week until the kitten’s eyes were open. (We said if children played with them too soon, they might make the kitties have mattery eyes.)

  3. Your mommy was just like you loving books and enjoying many hours of someone reading to her, or looking at the pictures and “reading” to herself.

    Little sister Doreen front, Michelle and Tanya.

  4. Your mommy loved to play in snow. Don’t all children who live where it snows love it? You are learning more about snow since you have moved further north!

    Michelle, left and Tanya, right.

  5. Just like you, your mommy learned to fish—at first throwing a fishing line in the yard, and later, fishing at a lake and river. You are lucky to have a grandpa that has his very own pond.
  6. Just like you, your mommy enjoyed playing in leaves in the fall,

    Tanya swimming in leaves.

    wagon rides in a little red wagon,

    Indiana cousin Scott (he has a son now who looks just like him) on Grandpa’s wagon with baby Doreen, Michelle and Tanya.

    and swimming. When she got bigger, she loved rock hopping in creeks, and also looking for crawdads and little fish in mountain streams. Maybe you can do that sometime soon.

    Riven Rock Park where we sometimes swam. Tanya in a contemplative mood.

  7. Your mommy enjoyed climbing or hiking and rarely complained—not even when she climbed the Statue of Liberty when she was only three. We hope as you get older you will like hiking on trails and through woods and mountains.

    Lady Liberty–and yes Tanya climbed clear up to that torch at age 3.

  8. Just like you, she enjoyed hunting for and hiding Easter eggs—endlessly sometimes, playing with sisters to hide the eggs again and again.

    The annual Easter egg hunt at Trinity, with Thomas Barber and Peter Grandstaff checking her stash.

  9. Just like you, she enjoyed music, and loved playing the piano. When she got old enough, she took lessons—many years, and became a flute player too. Sometimes practicing was work instead of fun, but she stuck to it.

    Tanya circa middle school.

  10. Your mommy had a dog and you have a dog. I know you love to feed your dog, even though he is much too big for you to take on a walk. (I love that our old dog Wendy is laying very close to the gold chair your dog Ike slept on for many many years!)

    Our family dog, Wendy.

  11. When your baby brother was born, you couldn’t wait to play with him, and to help change his diaper. Your mommy loved playing with her baby sister as well. While babies are not toys, you enjoyed a doll to help teach you about taking care of a baby.

    Baby sister Doreen; note Tanya’s bliss!

  12. The little airport you still play with at Grandma’s house was once your mommy’s. She was very excited to get it for Christmas one year. She was even more excited when our whole family got to fly to Florida and see real baggage carts, and airplanes being filled with fuel. We are happy you can still play with your mommy’s airport.

    Tanya opening the Fisher-Price airport that her children still play with today.

Love from Grandma Davis.

 

What did you enjoy doing when you were a little girl or boy? Write your own letter for your children or grandchildren. I’d also love to hear what you have to tell them. Comments welcome here!

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at FindingHarmonyBlog.com a week after newspaper publication.  

 

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