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He Loves Me, He Loves Me Knot

Easter 2017, at Purcell Park, Harrisonburg

Another Way for week of February 9, 2018

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Knot

My husband mutters something in loud exasperation from the kitchen.

I catch myself hunching over like Edith Bunker, dropping what I’m doing to hurry out to  see what Archie’s problem is. Then I straighten up and walk normally. I do not want to be an Edith Bunker. (Everyone over 50 knows who I’m talking about. If you’re under 50 Google for a video of the Bunker family.)

The problem he’s having, is a knot. I knotted the bread bag in the kind of knot he can’t undo very easily. His knots—technically a slip knot—you pull on the end and it comes right open. Slick. But not my knots.

I don’t do knots. Oh I can tie my shoes, sure, and knot the end of a bread bag so the bread doesn’t go stale but his specialty knot is one you twist around like a rope, he says, and then make your loop and pull up on the top till it’s tight; then you undo it by just pulling on it. I can’t even explain the knots he can make like magic all day long. Although he wouldn’t agree with me, he knows his knots: for fishing lines, tying down tarps, or ropes holding down branches and yard mess to take to the landfill on the back of the pickup. His knots come loose when you need them to with the pull of your hand.

1976, at Trinity Presbyterian Church

I do do one knot, the knot of marriage. Back in the day, we were brought up to tie marriage knots tight and they were not to be undone, unless unraveled by unfaithfulness or abuse.

And so we adjust to the idiosyncrasies of our mates even while gritting our teeth about the toilet paper roll or the toothpaste tube or the way they fold the laundry or the way they spread their peanut butter sandwich or that they insist on using salad dressing rather than mayo on a sandwich.

We weather good times and bad, joyous times and sad, and we learn to take all these little eccentricities in stride.

This is my husband making his coffee: he first heats a tall plastic cup for 3 ½ half minutes in the microwave, to warm his mega-mug (holds almost a quart, like a Yeti only far cheaper), so the coffee will stay hot longer. He heats up his French Vanilla cream in a small juice cup, about one ounce, in the microwave so the coffee will stay hot longer. He adds a packet of Stevia extract, stirs with a plastic straw, and voilà he slurps his coffee. Which he technically doesn’t even really like but he has his reasons about why he starts his day with it.

Me making my coffee: I make my quart of coffee, pour a cup into whatever mug is handy, and drink it black. Which technically is only decaf, but I still like it in the morning, not to wake me up but because I really like it, just black like that, and I don’t do caffeine. Later in the morning I perhaps add cream and sugar when it has started to taste old and tired and I don’t like it as much.

Notice, he makes his own coffee, and usually makes mine. This didn’t happen earlier in our marriage, before he started drinking coffee. I love it when he makes mine too. Archie Bunker would never have made Edith’s coffee, I don’t think.

Photo booth at a nephew’s graduation party, summer 2017.

Happy Valentine’s Day, my love, for better and for worse. Thanks for allowing me to share the ups and downs of our life. I’m glad we tied our knot.

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For my free booklet, “Secrets of a Long Marriage,” mail me at anotherwaymedia@yahoo.com or at Another Way Media, Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22850.

Another Way is a column © by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. Columns are posted at http://www.FindingHarmonyBlog.com a week after newspaper publication.  

 

 

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Climb a New Mountain

Another Way for week of February 2, 2018

Climb a New Mountain

In 1995 when I was in my mid-forties, my daughters and I, along with one sister who was visiting us, climbed a local mountain, “Old Rag,” famous in these parts for a “rock scramble” near the top.

I had wanted to climb it, and pondered doing so for years ever since I had heard about it in college here in the Shenandoah Valley. Finally my oldest daughter, 14, talked us into trying it because she had climbed it two times and wanted us to share the experience. My husband had to work that day so we five women (ages 9 to 40s) set out. It was a chilly day in spring, if I remember correctly.

Virginia’s lovely Redbuds laced our trail.

I recently ran across an editorial about that experience I wrote for the magazine I’ve edited since the early 1990s, now called Valley Living. It reminded me of something I had totally forgotten about my take away from that climb.

Old Rag (original name “Old Raggedy”) still rises 3,268 feet high in Shenandoah National Park, not the tallest peak in our parts but quite noteworthy both for the view and the rock scramble near its peak. The hike is nine miles up and down and takes from 3-8 hours to complete, depending on how long you linger at the top or on your rests. (You can see videos of how to do the rock scramble although I’m not sure I would have attempted it if YouTube videos had been available back then!) Also of note: the main trail is approached from outside Shenandoah Park, from a little Virginia village called Sperryville, and you now have to pay a park entrance fee.

I well remember how grueling our 3.5 hour journey to the top felt at times, when you just set your jaw a little firmer and kept putting one foot in front of another even though you felt like resting, again.

Michelle (back row), Tanya, my sister Pert, and Doreen pause on one of our many rests.

One of the narrow squeezes.

I wrote, “After the strenuous uphill hike in a mild drizzle, the adrenaline flowed freely as we faced the challenges posed by the rocks. When we did indeed finally make it to the top, I felt like I could do anything. What a rush!”

It was excruciating, exhilarating, exciting and exonerating—this last word because it cleared away all doubt that I could do it. But re-reading my editorial reminded me of one thing I had very much forgotten. It was another e-word: empowering.

And that’s the true take away from many things we attempt in life that we’re not sure we can do, whether it’s getting that diploma, getting through rehab after hip replacement, writing a book, running a marathon, or earning a promotion.

One big regret: hub wasn’t able to go and at this point I’m afraid it will have to be chalked off his bucket list. But we can start again by trying shorter hikes, smaller mountains.

Last year I read Tina Fey’s autobiographical book Bossypants and was surprised to learn she had also climbed Old Rag while in college at nearby University of Virginia. She and a friend tried it at night—and made it. Some start in the middle of the night to enjoy a spectacular sunrise. The trail is extremely busy now on weekends, they say, and you have to park three quarters of a mile away. So if you ever go on this or a similarly challenging hike, take along your energy and plenty of water, and heed posted safety warnings. Also, most folks can’t get cell service up there, a common problem.

While my husband and I can no longer do just anything, there are plenty of new challenges to conquer. I will try to remember the exhilaration and empowerment of trying just a little more than I ever had before. I thank God for safe keeping, memories, and the bonding of family as we conquered that rock scramble helping each other.

At the summit of Old Rag. The view was not great that day, but our spirits soared! L to R: Michelle, Doreen (showing no signs of fatigue whatsoever), sister Pert, and Tanya.

***

There are plenty of YouTube videos of various hikers; I liked this one because they had a pretty day! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0egI04eiTI

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What have you pushed yourself to do? What would you love to do?

I would love to hear and share your stories in a future column. Email me at anotherwaymedia@yahoo.com or at Another Way Media, Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22850.

Another Way is a column © by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. Columns are posted at http://www.FindingHarmonyBlog.com a week after newspaper publication.  

 

Seven Benefits for All in Dismantling Racism

Another Way for week of January 26, 2018

Seven Benefits for All in Dismantling Racism

These days seem to be filled with needing to talk about racism because 1) it still exists and threatens to split the U.S. yet again; 2) there are so many incidents which are either racially charged or are debated as such; 3) for people of color, racial incidents happen all the time. How can we begin to truly dismantle racism in this country, for the benefit of all?

I like the helpful twist that Jodi Picoult adds to this thought in her novel Small Great Things:

Kennedy, public defender: “Do you think there will ever be a time when racism doesn’t exist?”

Ruth, an African-American nurse charged with murder: “No, because that means white people would have to buy into being equal. Who’d choose to dismantle the system that makes them special?”

When people talk about undoing racism you often hear folks talk about white privilege—the invisible backpack every white person has that gives them certain privileges without even thinking about it—or doing anything. I like the phrase “special” better than “privilege” because try telling a white man or woman living barely above the poverty line, doing the best he or she can to earn a living at around $20,000 a year with a family of four when they can hardly pay for rent, groceries and prescriptions—that they have white privilege.

Such a person already feels on society’s bottom rung. He or she may have a pretty hard time recognizing their privileged station in life. But they are privileged because at least they don’t have to worry their children will be seen as suspicious or dangerous youths while walking home from school, second guess why they didn’t get the promotion or accepted into college, or why they were stopped for an out-of-date car registration or followed all around a store. But Jodi Picoult is right with her character’s line: Who’d choose to dismantle the system that makes them special? Who would willingly give up those privileges?

We need to think of things another way. What are the positives for all in undoing the sin of racism? I can think of several potential positives:

  • Make our society and culture safer
  • More opportunities for an improved life for all
  • Move forward from the past
  • Less anger and hate in the world, more love
  • Less crime, less need for more prisons
  • Provide a stronger example to other countries of moving past racism
  • Have time, energy and money to tackle other issues such as drug abuse and sexual abuse

That is a tall order and while no one can change the color of their skin or truly shuck the privileges that come with those unasked-for-advantages, if we are white we can work to recognize ways we as whites have had special treatment all our lives in the U.S. and don’t even recognize it.

One young woman, Osheta Moore, a mother of three who happens to be black and married to a white pastor, has written her vision for change in a book called Shalom Sistas: Living Wholeheartedly in a Brokenhearted World (Herald Press, 2017). She asks this question: “What if a bunch of Jesus-following women catch a vision of a vibrant, whole, flourishing world? What happens when shalom sistas [all colors] unite?”

I especially like this reminder in her 12-point manifesto, “We are beloved.” If we can wrap our heads around that, and let our children and spouse and neighbors feel that belovedness, that alone goes a long way to pouring into each man, woman and child (whether black, brown, beige or with a tint of yellow), that we are indeed loved by God.

We need to look at every human through those same eyes, even when they don’t realize how loved they are and don’t act it. The writer of 1 Corinthians 14:1 urges, “Make love your aim.”

May it be so.

 

What are your ideas on how to truly dismantle racism?

Stories?

Comment here or email me at anotherwaymedia@yahoo.com or at Another Way Media, Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22850.

Another Way is a column © by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. Columns are posted at http://www.FindingHarmonyBlog.com a week after newspaper publication.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Day the Angels Fell – A book review

Why at first I didn’t like The Day the Angels Fell

Book review

I enjoy the writing of Shawn Smucker: his books, his blog and the Uber driving stories he shares on his author Facebook page. I was first introduced to his writing as he assisted Johnny Mast in writing the excellent if understated Breakaway Amish: Growing up with the Bergholz Beard Cutters published by Herald Press in 2016.

Then Smucker came out with a novel for children or adolescents, The Day the Angels Fell published by Revell in 2017. I bought a beautiful hardbound copy with a dust jacket that uses spot gloss to highlight long artistic rain smears (I would call them drops, but they are more like a mix of lightning and rain) which at first I critiqued to my design colleagues at the office. I said the gloss (shiny stuff often put on book covers to catch your eye in bookstores) made the white type font on back cover hard to read unless you held it at just the right angle in whatever light you had. Always an issue with those of us past middle age.

And at first I wasn’t sure if I liked the book enough, either, to review it. I usually don’t like to review books if I don’t like them because … I’m an author too and I know how much bad reviews can sting. But it was a top award winner late last year in the Christianity Today Book Awards for 2018 in the children and youth category (where the publisher I work for also happily picked up an award for God’s Country: Faith, Hope, and the Future of the Rural Church) so I figured there was something wrong with me if I didn’t love the book.

Then, months later here in January, driving along a back road on a rainy wintry night and passing a country funeral home, suddenly I thought of the young protagonist in Smucker’s book, who lost his mother. His mother had gone out in a lightning storm to rescue his cat that had gone up in a tree, and he knew he inadvertently caused his mother’s death.

Suddenly I put my finger on why something in me had recoiled against the plot line of the book. Inside I was remembering the many viewings we have attended over the years at that small country chapel—the accidents, the assumed suicides of beloved acquaintances who were taken from us much too soon, and I found myself shaking those tragedies in my brain like a distraught parent shaking a child in their mind (not in real life). That was why the book didn’t sit well: not the writing or the plot, but how it shakes you up.

The book taps all of our worst fears—not in this case the death of a child, but the death of the mother of an adolescent boy, and what happens to him as he deals with his grief in the days immediately after her death. None of us want that to happen to our children, either. And therein lies the power of this disturbing book. What would happen to my kids if I should die? For the author, with he and his wife currently raising six beloved children ages toddler to early teens—a troubling question indeed.

I realized my mixed feelings about the book then were not about the writing: no, it is masterful. Underplayed in places, rarely overdone, compelling, the mysteries keep you reading along with the questions about life and death he poses through his characters. The back of the book frames it this way: “Could it be possible that death is a gift?” Not the kind of question most of us want to answer—except that these are the important questions of life itself.

Young Sam wishes to turn back time on the night his mother died so he could keep his mother from going where she shouldn’t have gone. His adventures with his best friend, Abra (both are names of the author’s own children) mingle magic and fantasy and will appeal to young readers—I think—even though magic and fantasy are not my personal favorite genres. Improbably, Sam endeavors to find and bring his mother back to life, not an unrealistic wish for any child losing a parent. It is not for younger readers (like say seven through perhaps 10-12). It takes a certainly level of maturity to process the book. It reminded me of another award-winning (the esteemed Caldecott Award) young reader book from my own younger days, Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson, published in 1977. Patterson drew her inspiration from the true loss of a son’s friend struck by lightning. Is that where Smucker got his idea? I don’t know and it doesn’t matter. If you’re going to be inspired by another writer, you might as well be inspired by among the best.

I was relieved to discover why I was uncomfortable with the book, and now know that it is this terrifying topic that I didn’t like: not the writing, not the premise for the book, but my own shrinking from the unthinkable thoughts.

Bravo to the author for fingering and naming the fears held closest to our hearts. In doing so, he puts his hand on the bigger theme of our struggle as humans with the nature of good and evil. One line I had tabbed early in the book hints at the underlying grand theme: “But the darkness I [the protagonist] had taken with me from the cemetery grew just a little bit inside me.” Late in the novel Smucker also pens a disturbing but not unrealistic thought: “Maybe that’s the saddest part of death, the knowledge that when we die, we will eventually be forgotten.” That too.

Back to life. If you “like” Smucker’s author page on Facebook, you likely won’t find any of his fascinating Uber #RideShareConfessional blog stories for awhile because he’s in the midst of writing another novel and while he continues to do Uber runs to put bread on the table, he has put those blog stories on hold to finish this new novel under contract. And, like another earlier great writer, John Steinback, is writing about his process, each day! And sharing those inner thoughts and insights with interested readers. If you’re a writer type you may be interested in getting his daily emails (yes, I said daily, Monday through Friday) where he shares his writerly ups and downs as he progresses.  You can sign up here. Or on a weekly basis, this page, and find the archive of all his journal type posts.

If you too become a Smucker fan and buy any of his books, know that you are helping feed hungry children. His, and all of us who hunger for meaty stories like this.

***

What thoughts does this review stir for you? Memories of the loss of loved ones? My own father felt he brought on his father’s death (at the age of 92) when he gave him a drink and Grandpa died choking. I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories.

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To my own faithful readers who perhaps wonder why I’m not blogging as much as I used to (mainly re-posting my Another Way newspaper columns here) I too am a bit overloaded at the moment with various jobs.  We also no longer get up at 3 a.m. for my husband’s job, so I’m blogging a bit less and will keep in touch here as ideas and thoughts and recipes and book reviews bubble up and beg to be written.

Here’s the novel and a link to buy it!

If the Amish fascinate you, and you remember hearing about the perversion of this overall honorable and faithful folk, you might appreciate the truths borne home by this insider look at the Bergholtz beard cutter travesty, co-written by Johnny Mast and Shawn Smucker. Check here.

And here’s the Herald Press award-winning book, God’s Country, if you’re looking! Another beautifully written book of stories about the rural church and how it can not only survive, but thrive.

Learning from “Failure”

Another Way for week of January 19, 2018

JMU Bridgeforth Stadium and university campus. Took photo on a flyover ride.

Learning from “Failure”

Our local university football team just completed a very successful season in which they won 14 games, then lost their final game at the of the NCAA (National College Athletic Association). This was after last season when they went all the way—and won the national championship. So, some would maybe say they “failed” this year.

Not in my book nor that of any smart coach or fan with a bit of maturity. While disappointing, these kiddos grew up having fun playing football. While playing at the university level and beyond has become increasingly dangerous, profitable, and a downright grind if you’re not loving it, the coaches at James Madison University emphasized “this is just another game, go out there and enjoy yourselves.”

Well of course it would have been more fun if more of the passes had stuck in the eager hands of the receivers. They lost by only four points.

We had season tickets this year and had a blast cheering them on to victory as part of the game’s “twelfth man” in the stands. Instead of going to costly concerts or many movies, we consider this our little splurge and bit of insanity

—especially sitting on cold bleachers in 20 degree temperatures at night. Or 90 degree sunny afternoons in late August.

We first began following this team back when the football program’s first coach for JMU was (and still is) a member of our church. We became go-to-many-games fans (both home and away) when our middle daughter was in the school’s marching band (which also has a legacy of winning awards), and followed her and the band to New York City’s Macy Day parade. We also went to a championship playoff game in 2004 (where we won!) in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Ever since then, we have enjoyed going to as many games as we can afford or have time for, but not when something more important takes place (the wedding of a niece, a chance to spend my birthday with my mom). We try to keep our priorities in line.

Which is what wise coaches do everywhere as they teach their young folks the true benefits of playing any sport: learning from the lessons it teaches you about life: hard work, sucking it up when you have pain, teamwork, discipline, and the super joy of success and accomplishment. After they lost their last game and the championship, I was a little amazed to read a quote in our local paper from the team’s outstanding quarterback, Brian Schor, about what he would take with him from these past two years under Coach Mike Houston. Schor was impressed with the integrity he saw in Houston and said, “When I raise my kids and I live the rest of my life, what I say is going to be what I mean [like Houston]” Daily News Record, January 9, 2018).

I hasten to say playing football is not for everyone and I will not be disappointed if my grandsons don’t play more than backyard football (my oldest four-year-old loves it already). We all know kids who’ve had bad injuries which affect them throughout life from biking, running, playing soccer, basketball, running track, or ballet. I’ve written before of the downside of too much emphasis on early competitive sports, which sometimes takes the fun out of the game. Children maybe play more to please their parents or for a future questionable scholarship than for downright love of the game. This topic is discussed thoroughly in a book co-authored by the athletic director at my alma mater, Dave King, with Margot Starbuck, Overplayed: A Parent’s Guide to Sanity in the World of Youth Sports (Herald Press, 2016). It makes a great study book for small groups or concerned parents.

You may not be a football fan but these principles apply to whenever you feel like a failure: Did you have fun? Was it healthy? Did it teach you something about life, other people, yourself, or God? If the answer to one or more of these is yes, then maybe it wasn’t really a failure.

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What is or was your biggest failure so far? What did you learn? 

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Other comments, or your own sports or other competitive stories? Contact me at anotherwaymedia@yahoo.com or Another Way Media, Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22850.

You can get more info or buy the book Overplayed by Dave King and Margot Starbuck here:

Overplayed

Another Way is a column © by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. Columns are posted at http://www.FindingHarmonyBlog.com a week after newspaper publication.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Dreams: Inspiring Kids to Be More

Another Way for week of January 12, 2018

New Dreams: Inspiring Kids to Be More

I never learned to play chess. Of course I never seriously tried; it always looked hopelessly complex. Although I graduated from college with a decent record and have had a somewhat successful career as a writer, producer and editor, chess was never something that really drew me in.

But we recently watched a “60 Minutes” segment on a man who loves the challenge of teaching chess to children to increase their opportunities in life and their intellectual capabilities. It was totally inspiring. Plus, he, according to others, is like a kid himself and just loves making chess into an engaging story.

In 2016 in their first year playing any kind of chess, children in the fourth and fifth grades in very rural Franklin County, Mississippi, (population 8000 for the whole county and only one stoplight), beat high schoolers competing in a state chess championship at Mississippi State University.

The best part was hearing that these kids were not only excelling in a board game, but bringing their grades up to high B’s and A’s. Dr. Jeff Bulington has worked for years teaching children to play chess—and not just the game, but using elements of chess to teach other academic subjects. They turn the chess board into a map of sorts, or a history lesson, and even science and math principles.

Dr. B., as he is known, moved to Franklin from Memphis. Franklin County fights the stereotypes of “dumb, poor and fat,” said one local man. It’s the kind of place people commonly call “nowhere,” but as Dr. B. put it in the program, “If there are people there, it’s not ‘nowhere.’ It’s just a somewhere that doesn’t get a lot of attention.”

In terms of chess, Dr. B. makes the various moves memorable by using stories like Little Red Riding Hood to illustrate what the pieces are doing. He and an assistant, Bobby Poole (also a pastor) have taught several hundred kids in that area to not only play chess locally, but to take on challenges from across the state and succeed.

Dr. Burlington grew up in rural Indiana as I did. I hasten to add my growing up days were in no way underprivileged: attending a private Christian high school for three years, taking piano lessons, playing sports, and participating in church girls’ club and youth activities. Later we moved to North Florida—away from the beaches, to an area like rural Alabama or Mississippi. If you didn’t have parents who could afford to pick you up from basketball or band practice, and who expected you to complete homework every night—you were pretty much stuck in a future flipping burgers or sawing pulpwood.

Lots of games in our game closet, but no chess.

I’ve lived in two other communities some would call “nowhere,” where the children had few of the opportunities of the average North American kid. The “poorest” of those places was definitely the Appalachian area of eastern Kentucky. The children there may have been underprivileged, but they also opened up beautifully as we taught them skills like sewing, woodworking and cooking through afterschool 4-H programs.

The 60 Minutes segment also reminded me of how my own children felt initially going to our public high school that was kind of considered the “poor hillbilly” area of our county with the sports nickname of “Gobblers.” But caring teachers offered incredible learning experiences in music and drama, and put on amazing Broadway musicals that dropped our jaws the first few years we saw them. The football team also finally made it to the state finals one year. All these things helped bolster pride in their school and themselves. They learned what people can do if they practice hard and work together, with the support and focus of great teachers.

Never forget that as kids, parents, teachers, and leaders. Even for those of us who are well past school age, don’t overlook that you can dream new dreams, set new goals. You never know what you’ll learn to do or accomplish. It’s almost enough to make me want to try chess!

Oldest gradnson, Sam, learning to play Guess Who? with his parents at Christmas.

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What are your new dreams for yourself or your family?

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How did where you grew up influence your feelings about yourself and your opportunities?

You can easily find the whole story online googling for “Chess in Franklin County.” Comments or your own stories? Email me at anotherwaymedia@yahoo.com or at Another Way Media, Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22850.

Another Way is a column © by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. Columns are posted at http://www.FindingHarmonyBlog.com a week after newspaper publication.

 

 

 

Clean Mugs and Emptied Trash Cans

Another Way for week of January 5, 2018

Clean Mugs and Emptied Trash Cans

Every time I pick up my mug from my office desk—and it still has some of yesterday’s stale coffee—I’m reminded of one of the reasons I’m missing our office housekeeper from the last 34 years.

If you follow my column closely, you know that my office changed locations in mid-November. It was a downsizing maneuver to a downtown location where we are renting space; Doris, the woman who had been the office housekeeper at the older, larger place for over 34 years decided she would not make the move with us. She just happens to be 89 years old, but that never—or rarely—stopped her from performing her daily duties over three floors of offices, no elevator.

One of the reasons she was able to keep working for us is that she lives just across the road from our former office location. So she didn’t have to drive far to “go to work.” In fact, she used to walk over until her adult children insisted she drive herself across the very busy five-lane highway. But getting to our downtown location is a bit dicey with one-way streets, many stoplights, and bad traffic at certain times of the day. So, she made a good call in using this move as a time to quit. She still happily cleans daily at another office near her home.

I miss Doris and we all do. For the last 34 years, she has watered my plants, seen the disgusting stuff I toss in my wastebasket (chewing gum, for instance, that I sometimes forgot to wad into paper), scrubbed my forgotten lunch dishes, and several times a year, took extra time to scour stains out of that “stainless” steel mug. She prided herself in knowing which Tupperware or Glad plastic container belonged to which worker, and usually delivered them back to the correct employee who, like me, frequently left them to drain and dry in the office kitchen.

Doris went far beyond the call of duty: one day she brought back to me my well-used 9×9-inch pan which has baked many brownies, batches of cornbread and other goodies over the years. She had taken it home for her extra-special Doris treatment, using scrubbing powder and lots of “elbow grease.” She got that ancient pan the cleanest it has looked in years. I was humbled and amazed. She went the second mile.

She also tidied and periodically cleaned the bathrooms and made sure they were stocked with necessities. Earlier she also did heavy-duty cleaning: vacuuming and washing and waxing the kitchen and bathroom floors. Eventually she accepted an outside cleaning company doing the deep cleaning.

Beyond these mundane duties, Doris also very much enjoyed checking in with office staff to keep up with our lives, even with the executive directors over the years. She truly cared about us and our families: asking about new babies, who was sick, who was on vacation, who was getting married. When her son was struggling with leukemia and a bone marrow transplant, she shared his ups and downs. I think she was one of our friendliest employees over the years, never hesitant to strike up a conversation with anyone. She has visited us twice in our new location in the six weeks we’ve been there and I have no doubt she’ll keep checking in as long as she can still drive.

Earlier I talked to her about why she kept working at age 86, 87, 88, 89. Her response: “I don’t like sitting around.” In May 2015, she fell and broke her wrist at home, requiring surgery. But she came back to work just six days after surgery, washing dishes with one arm in a brace.

All of us hope to have the vigor and capacity well into our 80s exhibited by Doris. She is happy to be a member of a large non-denominational church on the edge of our city. I hope she can continue to feel useful and “not sit around” for a good many years to come. Happy New Year, Doris!

Some older office staff photos from past years. Can you find Doris in each photo??

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I wrote more about Doris’s work in our office building in 2015, here.

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What do you enjoy or enjoyed about your work life, job, or career? What have you not liked? Share here if you dare!

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Any words of congratulations or way-to-go’s for Doris?? I’ll print them and make sure she sees them!

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Also still sending out the 2018 lighthouse-themed monthly planning calendar, suitable for purse or pocket. Email me at anotherwaymedia@yahoo.com or request by mail from Another Way Media, Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22850.

Another Way is a column © by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. Columns are posted at http://www.FindingHarmonyBlog.com a week after newspaper publication.

 

 

 

 

 

Shawn Smucker

"if you're lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it" John Irving

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Missy's Crafty Mess

Introverted ISTJ - knitting, crochet, cross stitch, chocolate, coffee, tea, Coca Cola, books, cats, essential oils, NASCAR

the practical mystic

spiritual adventures in the real world

Osheta Moore

Shalom in the City

Shirley Hershey Showalter

writing and reading memoir

Mennonite Girls Can Cook

A blog looking for harmony, grace and wisdom in many spheres of daily living.

mama congo

A blog looking for harmony, grace and wisdom in many spheres of daily living.

Irreverin

A blog looking for harmony, grace and wisdom in many spheres of daily living.

Roadkill Crossing

Writing generated from the rural life

wherelemonsblossom.wordpress.com/

The real Italy, as seen from the heart

Dinner of Herbs

Love for healthier foods.

Parenting And Stuff

Not a "how to be a great parent" blog

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