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Everybody Clean Up

October 29, 2018

Three visiting dogs + our dog = 4 dogs in a house. It went fine!

Another Way for week of October 18, 2018

Everybody Clean Up

If you have children or grandchildren in daycare, preschool, kindergarten or Sunday school, they probably know the “clean up” song:

Clean up, clean up, everybody clean up, time to clean up!
Pick up, everybody pick up, everybody pick up, time to pick up!
Pick up the toys, put them away, Pick up the blocks, put them away, Pick up the books, put them away! Put your things away!

If you don’t know the tune, you can easily find it on YouTube. Caution: it will be in your head for the rest of the day.

I use it today as a light-hearted way to get into the serious topic and sad work of cleaning up and rebuilding after natural disasters. This summer and fall it seems the news has been filled with almost constant warnings and then aftermath of cyclical storms. Earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia. Typhoon in the Philippines and surrounding areas. Wildfires in California. Flooding in Japan and mudslides. And now this week as I write this, Hurricane Michael hitting Florida so very hard. More about that next week.

On the 24-news cycle, we are bombarded through various media and constant warnings, updates, downgrades of storms, and local reports of how the water, toilet paper, and batteries are flying off the shelves at the local big box store.

Our houseguests for the duration of Hurricane Florence, mapping their return trip to jobs and responsibilities. Deciding on the best route was not easy either.

Meanwhile areas affected by hurricanes or flooding in 2016 and 2017 and even further back are still living with the aftereffects.

During Hurricane Florence that threatened the East Coast in mid-September, some of my extended family followed evacuation orders in their area and came and stayed with me and my husband, about a seven-hour drive away.

I felt the anguish and turmoil of seasonal storms in a new way, especially as they tried to travel back to jobs and uncertain conditions. Since that time, they have been involved in helping a co-worker clean up as her home was inundated by waters and other storm damage. This on top of their normal jobs that include long hours, with stressful and anxious conditions. Not easy. I know this co-worker appreciated the clean-up help of her friends immensely.

Since my husband retired, he has been moved and challenged by going with two teams working at rebuilding after flooding in nearby West Virginia and North Carolina. During Hurricane Florence, he kept thinking of these very needy areas who have so little. He hopes to do more as health permits. I know that these hands-on experiences are invaluable in bringing the plight of individuals to our consciousness.

Those who don’t live in areas prone to flooding or hurricanes (I pick these disasters because they are the most common for those of us in the U.S.) may say, why not just move? Some indeed do move, but for many it is the area where they have lived for decades, where they have family, jobs and friends. Friends and family do indeed help with the “Everybody clean up” duties and rebuilding. But in areas where poverty is rampant and folks have their own homes, yards, and businesses to clean up, it is essential for outside helpers to bring healing and hope by volunteering when you can or are able.

I know a family who took four months out of their normal work and lives this summer to move to Puerto Rico and establish a new base for rebuilding homes with Mennonite Disaster Service from Hurricane Maria in 2017 on that island, so hard hit. You can read about their challenges and extreme heat, as well as joys and successes at her blog, (At her blog, type “Puerto Rico” in the search bar and you’ll get most of her entries from their four months of work as they helped build a beautiful small block home for a survivor.)

I’ll continue this thread next week. Meanwhile, genuine prayers and sympathy go out to all those whose lives and homes have been touched or ravaged by storms and disasters.


Have you been affected by storms this summer or fall? I’ll say more about Hurricane Michael next week and meanwhile we’d love to hear your stories.


A great place to help through donations or volunteering is Mennonite Disaster Service at or this address: 583 Airport Road, Lititz PA 17543.




To contact me privately, my email is 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 a week after newspaper publication.  



  1. I don’t need to hear the “Clean Up” song on YouTube. We sing it every Sunday morning before snacks in my 2-year-old Sunday School class. Ha!

    And I applaud you for hosting Hurricane Florence “refugees” in your own home, a gracious gesture. And your hubby too, part of the Disaster Clean-up effort, both noble causes. We do what we can to help in a world in constant turmoil. Blessings!

    • I admire your taking on the two-year-olds each week! Keeps you young and child-like, in a good way. Thanks for your comment as always, Marian.

      Yes, we enjoyed the time with Pert and all, including the dogs who needed shelter too! I wish it would have been a relaxing time of fun excursions but the focus was different this time. We did enjoy getting out to the mall one afternoon, and to eat out one night.

  2. Bless you both for your kind hearts!

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