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How’s Your Married Life?

Another Way for week of March 17, 2023

How’s Your Married Life?

“I’m going to get my coffee, I’ll be right back,” I tell my husband pointedly.

As I say the line, inwardly I’m rolling my eyes. My husband has this thing about electric bills: tries desperately to keep them as low as possible. Which is reasonable enough. BUT, I need to see in the kitchen thank you very much. So if I step out of the kitchen for ten seconds to retrieve my coffee mug from the office/bedroom so I can put the dishes away, that grinds my gears a little.  

The mug of coffee my dear husband makes.

Okay, marital squabbles are as common as rain on the roof but usually ten times more annoying because we’ve heard the issues before. Actually, rain on the roof is a sweet sound for most of us. Maybe marital mini-fights include a reminder about flushing the stool? Putting the seat down? Getting a new toilet paper roll out please? Washing the remains of your vigorous toothbrushing down the drain instead of letting the gunk dry up in the sink? These are all annoyances that probably won’t lead to divorce—at least I hope not. But still, annoying.

I was shopping in my usual grocery store when I happened to overhear two guys talking about how much they like being married. The older one said something like “We love …. (doing something fun together, I can’t remember now exactly what he said) and the younger one agreed. How refreshing! How wonderful, may their kind increase!

But, marriage is hard, we also know that too. Even my wonderful parents, who had a truly great marriage from what I observed, did have arguments. They wouldn’t ever admit it, and maybe that’s ok, but as kids we know there were things they disagreed on and sometimes had hurts over. But. They kissed and made up: Dad’s standard advice for anyone having a fight.

One of my online friends (never met her, but we went to the same college years apart) has written a book she named My Checkered Life: A Marriage Memoir. Her name is Marian Beaman and she hails from the much-written about land of Mennonites and Amish in Lancaster, Pa., (think Amish romance novels) but, like me, married outside of the Mennonite church. I’ve shared her work here before and this is her second memoir. In it she delves deeply and bravely into the marriage relationship and shares their ups and downs.

Author of two books, Marian Beaman.

Now married 50+ years, they did go through some years when Marian didn’t know if they would make it together. Her husband, Cliff, is an amazing artist who for years followed a career of doing artistic chalk drawing presentations in schools, about our country’s history and values. But that life on the road wasn’t the greatest for Marian and their two young children. Here’s one passage from this period when Cliff’s performance itinerary would no longer allow him to come home on weekends:

“The babies and I joined his gypsy entourage… I hated the trailer from the start. It was small and scruffy-looking. All of a sudden, my previously grounded life as a thirty-year-old mother had taken on an unfamiliar rhythm: no phone, no mailbox, no fenced-in yard for the children … and very little money. … Where do you keep dirty diapers in a confining space? We couldn’t afford Pampers. More than once, the green diaper pail decorated with a kangaroo lid and secured with an elastic belt had broken free as we barreled down the highway, sending baby urine yuck all over the teeny linoleum floor.” (My Checkered Life, p. 156, Spindletree Books, 2023.)

Marian’s second memoir.

There are dozens of similar insider stories in this 300-some page book complete with intriguing photos. The point of the book, besides offering some wild and fascinating stories is to help others work through marriage disagreements, find common ground, and help keep a good marriage thriving.


What are your marriage tips, triumphs, fails?

Any books you have found helpful on marriage?

Comments? Write to me at Another Way, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834, or email at

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


Oh Baby! Helping Birth Another Grandchild

Another Way for week of March 10, 2023  

Oh Baby! Helping Birth Another Grandchild

How fortunate we are to be living in a time when mothers (or other family member) can go into a modern hospital to help with the long process and pushing of labor. It used to be the domain of only the professionals. (Unless you go way back!) Years ago—such as when I was born) daddies and others had to wait in another room and faintly hear the moans and screams. And of course, nixed during the height of Covid.

As I walked down a long hall to my daughter’s room in the middle of the night, I cringed hearing another mother-in-process. Strong memories came back. My own body tightened and breathed with that mama.

I felt lucky to be there—and remembered helping with the births of three of our five grandsons when the two older sisters gave birth. All special, all rich bonding experiences.

How fulfilling it was to help our third daughter push her first little one out. My role specifically was to encourage and assure her that she could do it. A coach. Her husband was a deeply dedicated papa-in-training and awesome coach, also anxiously awaiting the miracle of birth. 

Labor is definitely draining for child and mother alike—by the end they put a mask on our daughter to help pipe oxygen to the baby. I had not seen that before. We listened carefully for the strong heart beat as baby continued the journey.

I almost felt too old to be helping coach—up all night with my daughter and her husband. My husband tried to catch some shuteye in the hospital waiting room on benches that did not allow him to stretch out, and still aching with painful healing from knee surgery.

The expectant couple had chosen to not find out what the gender was before birth. When she finally finally finally made it out, her father announced the joyous news: “The baby is a girl!” Our first granddaughter!

I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to help bring our first granddaughter into the world. The new mother said softly, “I can’t believe we have a girl.”

My husband and I left the new family to “bond” and headed to their townhouse to get some sleep at 6:30 a.m. I was surprised that the naps I was able to take that day were enough—after pulling an all-nighter.

What a special, happy time! This family has chosen not to share pictures online, a wise idea. But take my word for it, she is a sweetie and already her dark eyes are exploring the new world after a demanding but triumphant labor.

A day later as I stood there braiding my daughter’s hair, I pondered how many times I had done that. The brand-new baby (well, a day-and-a-half-old) was nursing and our hearts were full. The daughter I had birthed now sat with her long-awaited baby. Three generations. Not surprisingly, the braiding brought memories for both of us.

Our families are precious, treasured gifts from God who showers love on us and our families. The difficulties we all go through—the hard times, illness, arguments, shortage of money, differing political views, mistakes—are common. But, we can triumph over the difficulties with the gift of love that goes along with every new child that comes into the world. The love we promise with marriage vows and long days and nights of working together helps bond us. We lament the children who are not born into families with strong loving parents.

I know that my husband and I are privileged to be enjoying retirement with some wonderful grandchildren. I wish they lived nearby. Of course! But we didn’t live near my parents either and had to make do with 600-mile drives to reconnect in person.

Our children and grands are close enough for frequent visits and contacts even though it is not every day or week. Count your blessings if you have grandchildren AND are close enough to visit when they can.

Meanwhile, we are doing a happy dance!


Your thoughts? Your special treasured memories? I’d love to hear!

Comment here or write to me at Another Way, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834, or email

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of ten books, most recently Memoir of an Unimagined Career. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  

Life Itself Can Be an Inspiration

Another Way for week of March 3, 2023

Life Itself Can Be an Inspiration

I am happy to share a guest column by Pat Walsh, a pastor in St. Michael, Pa., a regular reader of Another Way in the Daily American paper there. Pastor Walsh was responding to my end-of-the-year column titled “What Inspires You?” We hope this stirs you to appreciate or reflect on the things that inspire you to live your best life: it is the only one we have.

Guest column by Pat Walsh

Pastor Pat Walsh

“I grew up in a small town in western Pennsylvania. Friends and neighbors were friendly and helpful. They would even yell at you when you did something wrong as a child.

“My dad died when I was eleven years old. A very sad time in my life. I was the youngest of five children who my mother raised. We didn’t have a lot, but always had plenty of food and warm clothes. God provided many father figures to help in my life: neighbors, teachers, coaches, and relatives.

“I didn’t realize it at the time, but did several years later, that the life I lived and saw in others around me encouraged me to move forward and do my best. I had many ups and downs over the years, but I always knew my mother was there for me and felt God had his hand on me. I focused much of my time on sports, specifically basketball, and derived much satisfaction and joy from it. I graduated from high school with several offers to play small college basketball. At the time, I thought life was very good.

“Over the years in college and then early in my working days, I got sidetracked by the ways of the world. I lost sight of some of the things my mother had taught me. I still knew that life was good and there was a purpose for me. God gave me a wonderful, loving, and giving wife that inspired me to greater things. Jesus said, ‘I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly.’

“Finally, after years of search, including ups and downs, I saw where true inspiration comes from. In April of 1977 at a Bible study led by Rev. Herbert Norton in Williamsburg, Virginia, I heard how God sent his son Jesus to inspire our lives to greater meaning and purpose than I ever knew. I responded to that message and received Jesus in my life.

“Well, fast forward many years, and now at age 72, I still feel strongly inspired by Life! A life lived for a greater purpose than self. Over the years I have been a husband, parent, neighbor, teacher, coach, and pastor and still find myself inspired by Life. Each day I look for ways to help hurting people, support those in need, encourage those along my path and thank God for giving me a wonderful life. Yes, Life, all of it, good and bad inspires me to look forward, to look upward to God the creator and sustainer of life and continue on.

“So, live life, be inspired by life, a life given to us by God to live for him, to bring honor and glory to God, and to share the love and grace of Jesus.”


This could be the story of many people around the world: our children, after exploring various paths and perhaps getting side-tracked as Rev. Walsh did, but eventually touched by something that was said, preached, or lived to turn to a better way of life. It reminds me of the huge outpouring of interest and testimony, prayers and singing people have experienced recently at Ashland University in Wilmore, Kentucky over a period of weeks, not days. We had much the same thing happen on my college campus back in the early 70s when I was there, and it was amazing. People also traveled a great distance to experience the “revival” and worship in a setting of continual testimonies.

In these days of Lent and looking forward to Easter, do take time to contemplate both the life you’ve been given, the paths you’ve traveled, and the hope you have for the future.


Your stories or experience? Write to me at Another Way, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834, or email

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of ten books, most recently Memoir of an Unimagined Career. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  

Family as Best-of-All Friends

Another Way for week of February 24, 2023

Family as Best-of-All Friends

Editor’s note: Fifth in a five-week series on friendship.

How can we make our families some of our closest friends?

My husband and I both read the advice column now called Dear Annie, a spin off of the Abby and Ann Landers long running columns. I do find it a little frustrating though because so many of the problems and questions people inquire about focus on really awful family relationships. How terrible when the love and fun and companionship we are supposed to find in families is skewed by members who have extreme difficulties getting along—and indeed have stopped trying to be friends in family. A lot of that stems from our family backgrounds and how we ourselves were brought up: happy and loving families tend to produce happy and loving families.

Dad and Mom celebrating their 50 wedding anniversary.

The family I grew up in, and the daughters we were blessed to raise are NOT perfect, and far from it. But, overall, at least as far as I know and can tell, we get along. We have had hard and imperfect times but we love each other very much and try to keep connections going and strong. We are friends.  

How does that happen, and what do we need to work at?

A firm faith in God is one place to begin. “God is love” goes one familiar hymn and the Bible places a huge emphasis on sharing and practicing love not only for friends but indeed for our closest family members. While there are many families who do not hold or practice any faith, being brought up in a home where the foundation is love as shown to us through God’s own love for us, is a great place to start.

In my book Becoming a Better Friend, I relate a story of one time I came home from a brief business trip very excited and anxious to reconnect with our children. While they greeted me excitedly, too soon all three children were clamoring for me at once: to see this picture they drew, to get a scissors, and of course, to fix supper. The people who took care of the kids reported that they were really good while I was gone. So why did they turn into little monsters for me, the mother they professed to love so much as soon as I got home?

Well of course that is normal behavior. Home is the place where it is safe to let our shirts hang out, children and adults alike. But home is also where the people we love most are—and loving relationships can easily be damaged at home if we are not careful. Family members are our first and last friends, but sometimes we treat them like enemies.

A good family starts with the relationship to our mates—and usually that particular friendship was sealed with “till death do us part” vows. So when we toast five, ten, twenty-five years of marriage and more, it is really worth celebrating. A good marriage provides a natural environment for daily companionship. Of course, every marriage has up and down cycles. We fail each other and make mistakes.

What are some tips for keeping our family relationships positive and loving? Make an ongoing mental commitment to work at closeness. Plan a date with your spouse or a fun activity with the children. Do something nice for each member of your family this week. If you still have children at home, (of if they visit) use your smartphone to record a conversation at mealtime—and play it back when everyone is in a good mood. If you’re going through a difficult time as a family, talk about your differing needs: “What I need/want most from my family right now is ….”

Things are far from easy as families. Every family I know has its up and down times—times of not getting along. The key to getting along among friends and families is rooted in your general outlook on life and practicing love on an every day basis.


What things keep your family connecting?

What are some of your favorite activities together?

Comment here or write to me at Another Way, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834, or email

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of ten books, most recently Memoir of an Unimagined Career. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  

Feeling Lonely

Another Way for week of Feb. 17, 2023

Feeling Lonely

Editor’s note: Fourth in a five-week series on friendship.

When we had our first baby (dark ages, 1981), the local hospital we dealt with still had shared rooms for new mothers. My roommate had just birthed her second child.

There was a curtain between our beds but we talked through it, and saw each other when I had to walk through her side to get to the bathroom. Besides the fact that she smoked (in our room, hard to believe!) I was saddened as I heard her talk about her life. Alice (not her real name) lived in a fairly isolated area and said her daily routine was that after she fixed breakfast and cleaned up the house a bit, she and her first child always went to spend the day at her mother’s. She returned home only in time to make supper. She seemed lonely.

Perhaps she felt sorry for me living 600 hundred miles away from my parents. At any rate, loneliness is universal and these days we can be in almost constant communication with our parents or siblings or friends who live at a distance (texting, Face Timing, Zooming, phone). But that doesn’t necessarily solve problems we may feel in our relationships or activities: sometimes we cope with loneliness by overworking, overspending, overeating, watching TV, or scrolling on our smart phones.

Loneliness is a fact of life. Sociologists and psychologists point out that being alone is the most common human condition. Think about it: at the beginning of life, the baby leaves the comfort of the womb to enter the stark delivery room. At the end of life, each of us crosses the threshold of death—alone. Even in close relationships like marriage, with our parents, with siblings, there is a realm where we are alone with our private thoughts, histories, and hopes.

When I wrote the book Becoming a Better Friend, I knew almost nothing about mental illness, suicide, and genuine and dangerous depression. I suppose some kids I went to school with in middle school and high school were more than just lonely, they were dealing with serious and sad mental issues. There was a college acquaintance I knew who tragically took her own life. College can be a profoundly lonely place.

One of the stories I shared in that book came from Nancy Potts who wrote a book titled Loneliness: Living Between the Times. She tells the story of Katie, a woman who attended a small church where the service usually closed with everyone joining hands in a large circle (pre-pandemic, obviously). Katie wrote the following note to the minister one week: “Thank you for ending the service by having the congregation hold hands. I live a very lonely life and Sunday is the only time I’m touched by another person all week.” (Victor Books, 1978, p. 40)

Speaking of the pandemic, we know that besides illness, it produced an epic number of people who were profoundly lonely especially in retirement centers, nursing homes and assisted living places. Through no fault of their own, administrators had to quarantine older people who were already often quite isolated from family and friends. My mother was one of them. Visiting through a cold glass pane window helped a little, but where Mom was really broken in spirit was no conversation at meals. Even when the residents were finally allowed to eat outside of their rooms, they were placed at a dining room table where they could not sit with anyone else: just eating alone. Mom, the social butterfly that she was, missed that conversation keenly, but she bore the changes ok—on the surface. We all grieved the remoteness for Mom.    

Mother, center in red top, visiting at a wonderful small family reunion when the pandemic had abated somewhat.

If you struggle with aloneness or being lonely, spend some time analyzing what brings on those lonely feelings for you. Perhaps list specific times on paper. What things cheer you up? Or, perhaps, visit or call someone else who may be lonely. While we can take comfort in knowing that loneliness is part of our human condition, there is a difference between being alone, and being lonely.


What do you do to chase away loneliness–for yourself or others?

When do you welcome being alone?

We’d love to hear!

You may write to me at Another Way, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834, or email

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of ten books, most recently Memoir of an Unimagined Career. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  

When You Are Painfully Shy

Another Way for week of February 10, 2023

Editor’s note: Third in a five-week series on friendship.

I remember an office friend who said her four-year-old girl announced before they went somewhere, “I’m going to be shy tonight.”

That may sound cute but it infuriated her mother (child hiding in her mother’s skirt, etc.) and I forget now why her parents thought she made those announcements. Possibly attention-getting? As parents we sometimes prod our small children into saying hi or even hugging someone they barely know or don’t like.

In contrast, most of us as adults don’t purposely decide to be shy on a given day or encounter. If we are introverts and find it hard to make small talk with people we don’t know well, we may feel unliked, unwanted, not valued.

True shyness creates all kinds of inner turmoil: blushing, perspiring, butterflies in the stomach, an increased pulse, a pounding heart. We might note that sometimes people use the term, “painfully shy.” In some cases that is actually true. Unfortunately, sometimes that emotional pain is compounded when shy persons are maybe seen as aloof, snotty, bored or even condescending—looking like they think they are “better than you.”

My parents were both avid conversationalists and frequently talked to people after church or other gatherings. They also had church business matters to pursue with various other members. I would often go hide in the bathroom—yes—sitting in a stall until I thought they would be ready to go home. Or sometimes I would just go wait in the car. I also remember slumber parties when my friends would prod me to talk: “Come on, Melodie, why don’t you talk? What do you think about Joe”? Or Sue. Sometimes by the time I thought of something to contribute to a conversation, the others had moved on to another topic. I was a listener.

My best tip for opening conversation with someone you don’t know well is to ask a question about themselves—most people don’t mind talking about themselves. Their family, or something about their job. But of course try not to ask questions that have a conversation-killing one word answer or are too personal. And if someone acts like they are not interested in talking, don’t be a nuisance.

Some other conversation starters might be simply giving a compliment—that you like their outfit or jacket. At a party or meal, ask the host for the recipe for a dish you genuinely liked, or talk about his or her cooking in general. Help to clean up after an event and you might find yourself in conversation with another helper.

As with any other skill, it takes repeated attempts and effort to become someone comfortable in conversation. At first the practice may seem artificial, just like doing scale drills on the piano is an artificial way to play piano. With time and practice these skills will become more natural and part of your own personal style. You could start with sharing a genuine smile with someone you don’t know, and say hi or hello. Then pat yourself on the back for reaching out even in this small way.

Sometimes our bodies communicate more than we realize, such as standing with crossed arms or keeping a distance from others. This has been a hard element of the pandemic, to be friendly and welcoming while not feeling free to shake hands or give hugs. But smiles and thumbs up are ways to be friendly without being overbearing.   

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Last week was Valentine’s Day. Take some moments to feel good about and love yourself as well! Pause to focus on the gifts God has given you—whether it is being a good listener, a good helper, or thoughtful friend. When we feel good about ourselves, it is easier to reach out to others and maybe help them feel good about themselves also.

We’ll explore more about the keys to being a true friend next time in this short series on friendship.


Your tips or experiences, especially as a child?

Or how do you work at being friendly?

Comment here!

Or write to me at Another Way, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834, or email

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of ten books, most recently Memoir of an Unimagined Career. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  

Don’t Hoard Your Treats and Other Tips on Friendship

Another Way for week of February 3, 2023

Don’t Hoard Your Treats and Other Tips on Friendship

Editor’s note: Second in a five-week series on friendship.

Have you experienced the loneliness of not having friends? As a child I was not the kind of kid who freely shared pieces of gum from her pocket or purse. Rather than dishing out the goodies, I would quietly sneak a piece of gum or candy when no one was looking. Yes, I was that kid.

That’s partly a story for laughs but I am a bit of an introvert, but not always. Here’s more of my story.

My toughest year in dealing with friendship was when our family moved to north Florida. My two older sisters were in college or graduated so it was really just me and my younger brother who made the move with our parents my senior year of high school.

I had been excited about moving but it was much harder than I expected. My classmates—by the time they were seniors—had established their tight friendships and were friendly on the surface, but there was no real reason for them to welcome me into their circles. I am sure this has been frequently the case for others.


Luckily there was another girl who had moved in from California and was in the same boat as me. We hung out together at school; she had a cousin at school who also befriended me, and one other friend. So there were four or five of us around whom I felt comfortable joining at the lunch table or gossiping in the locker room getting dressed for gym—but not invited to parties or hanging out after school. I don’t fault any of the kids at that school but I missed the ample friendships I enjoyed my first three years of high school. I also don’t fault my parents: they suggested I could stay up north with my Dad’s sister, who had a lovely large home, and finish out my schooling in Indiana. But I always thought it would be cool to be the “new girl” and was ready for a new adventure. But it turned out to be the hardest year—friend-wise—of my life. North Florida was a different culture than northern Indiana. Looking at their pictures now, I realize how fortunate I was to have been befriended by each of the girls shown here–and others. (Some I have been able to keep up with a little through Facebook. I would love to hear from Delilah and Becky.)


Two years later, I was on the flip side of that in terms of having a college roommate who didn’t know a soul. In fact, she had not stepped foot on the campus until her parents helped her move in. She was African American, which was fine by me and by most of the students on the mostly white campus, but it was extra hard for her to make and find friends. I knew classmates from my former contacts in Indiana and church connections, and immediately found kinship working with others on the campus newspaper. Paula and I hung out together but gradually she made her own circle of friends, and I did too.

As adults, it seems tougher to make friends in some neighborhoods than others. Last week I mentioned my Virginia neighbor whose shoulder I literally cried on when I was overwhelmed with three small children. This Barbara (not the one pictured above) continues to be a soulmate but it probably took her reaching out to me and my husband that made us friends.

Some tips I’ve found that help in making new friendships is paying attention. When a neighbor stops to talk, do I keep raking leaves or shoveling snow? Or do I welcome the opportunity to talk across sidewalks and fences, or when someone does something for you that is especially nice. If you’ve just moved in and the neighbor seems trustworthy and friendly, perhaps inviting him or her in for coffee or hot chocolate can be the beginning of a relationship.

Too often these days it seems we tend to be more loving and friendly to those with similar views. I read some recent advice to “Hug someone with different political views than you.” That’s especially important in families: to keep the communication and love flowing, even when we don’t agree. Our extended families should be a first line of friends.  


What was your hardest experience in making friends?

Or, what was your best connection?

How do you keep up with friends at this stage of your life?

Comment here or write to me at email or snail mail: Another Way, 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 ten books, most recently Memoir of an Unimagined Career. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  

Friendship: A Lifelong Journey

Another Way for week of January 27, 2023

Friendship: A Lifelong Journey

Editor’s note: First in a five-week series on friendship.

How are you as a friend?

I used to be quite jealous of friends who I felt were more outgoing, more chatty, friendly, and genuinely caring and helpful in their relationships. I value friendship and therefore I’m launching this series looking at what it means to work on being a better friend. 

Over the years I hope I have grown but I am still not as friendly or as sociable as I’d like to be.

Some 35 years ago, I wrote a book on friendship, because personally I wanted to be more outgoing, more personable, a better friend—instead of the introvert that I felt I was. I had written for a radio program on the topic and some of us whirled it into a book idea.

An aside: This was long before the launch of that long running comedy TV show, “Friends.” It ran for 10 very popular years, 1994 to 2004 plus forever in reruns. When it had its initial run I felt it was too mature for my daughters, especially the youngest who was only eight.

I’m still not the world’s greatest friend although I work at it. It’s hard for me to remember names, to launch conversations (sometimes), and to initiate times spent with friends.

Perhaps my ultimate image of a friend was a young woman I knew in the 70s who was so bubbly, so glowing, and quite beautiful that next to her I felt dowdy even if I was dressed for a night out. Thankfully, she was also a wonderful friend to people and just plain nice, such that you couldn’t possibly dislike or be jealous of her. Ok, I think was jealous but she was able to listen and encourage and laugh with you and make you feel good.

Think of the people you like to be around. What makes them enjoyable? A good friend takes interest in others, probably has a good sense of humor. I always found it interesting that my friends enjoyed being around my mother. They would say, “We like your mom. She laughs at herself and is not afraid to act dumb or silly with us.”

Our third baby, not too happy on Easter Sunday: by the time the third child comes around, photos are few and far between.

Now that I’m older I especially appreciate the value of having friends or family who are readily there for you in down times—and hope I have learned to be there for others. I remember a time when we had a new baby in the house—our third. My mother could not come to help us at that time like she had after our two older daughters were born, due to my father’s health situation. This was in February and flu was going around. We had fevers in the family that hung on for three weeks, and in the delivery room my husband was spiking a fever. A week after birth, the baby was jaundiced and not nursing or sleeping well at night.

One morning when it seemed like I’d been up all night, the older girls were clamoring for breakfast, the baby was wanting to be nursed, and a knock came at the door. I thought to myself, “Oh no, there’s no way I can let anyone see me like this.”

Older siblings can be a friend to younger sibs.

But it was my wonderful next-door neighbor and the jig was up. As I let her in, I collapsed on her shoulder explaining, “The baby’s been up all night and I’m exhausted.” It felt wonderful to let down that floodgate. She held me, and I remembered how my shoulder had served the same purpose for her not many years before when her husband died suddenly. I think it was because she had let me see her vulnerable side too, that I felt free to be genuine with her. She helped me pull breakfast together for the girls before she dashed off to her teaching job, and the rest of the day went much better because of Barbara. I will never forget it.  

Memories and experiences like this make me want to spruce up my connections and friendship with others. Being and becoming a better friend means working on yourself.

Sharing coffee or a treat with neighbors or friends is a great way to cement friendships.

Do you recall a time when a friend or family member came through for you when you were desperately needing a friend?

On the other hand, any memories of when you were able to step in and help in an appreciated way?

What do you enjoy doing with a friend?

Your stories or experience? Write to me at Another Way, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834, or email

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of ten books, most recently Memoir of an Unimagined Career. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  

The Roads Much Traveled

Another Way for week of January 20, 2023

The Roads Much Traveled

Is there a certain road that has carried you places over many years? Even to various “hometowns?” What memories do those roads bring to mind?

Cousins playing “car” in Indiana.

There’s a fairly long-standing highway which snakes for 709 miles all the way from northern Indiana, to almost the Atlantic Coast down near Norfolk, Virginia. It is known as Route 33 (sometimes called the Lincoln Highway). But we think it is kind of cool that we can hop on Highway 33, about nine miles from where we live, and drive straight to where my mother lived for the last 15 years of her life.

Not that we actually did that. Oh we went to where she lived, but used various roads. Let me explain.

We long ago learned that to follow Highway 33 all the way takes you through the deep hills and hollers of West Virginia—which are lovely, but not when you’re trying to get somewhere quickly. So, there are other roads we used especially since it’s so easy to map out your route on your smart phone. (Always keep in mind that you do have to be smarter than your phone so when it takes you a questionable way, you override it, right?) And now one of my daughters lives almost along Route 33 near Columbus, Ohio, so that’s another touchpoint.

But this Highway 33 in my growing up years was a main thoroughfare very near where we went to church in Goshen, Indiana, and where I went to high school for three years. On the other end in Virginia—Highway 33 takes us to the places where we shop, buy groceries, eat fast food, and to recreational areas. We used to follow it down through Richmond, Virginia where it now ends, to take our daughter to college in Williamsburg, Va.


Wikipedia tells me Highway 33 roughly follows “a historic trail used by Native Americans from Chesapeake Bay to Lake Michigan.”

You may not live anywhere near any of these places but you probably live in North America. It is healthy to recall that so much of the land we love was once used by indigenous people who lived here first. Often tribes were moved farther and farther west, north and south. I will not say they “owned,” the land because it was a very important concept among those tribes of people: the lands were something they lived on and used but didn’t look at as something they owned.

A stretch of road out west in the U.S.


But back to the roads you traveled as a child. In our family, we children would sometimes close our eyes driving to or from church and we could usually detect exactly where we were on that somewhat curvy, hilly road. The path along the road was in our bones or bodies, so we knew when we were going “over Mitterling’s hill” or curving by Groves’ farm. Maybe you had a road you were allowed to walk down or drive your bike to visit friends a short distance away.

Traveling with Grandpa down Great Grandma’s hall, a few years back. Route 33 was less than a half mile away.

We were blessed that although we lived in the country, some of our best friends lived about a half mile away, and at the time the roads were deemed safe enough for us to walk. When we got older we rode bikes. Sometimes in the summer we trespassed on a neighbor’s field walking through tall corn rows, which was quicker and probably safer.

Those who live in large cities get used to the layers of cloverleafs and bridges and underpasses that confound us when we country folk reach them and almost panic: “How will we be able to get through this?” With great care and tension, we navigate those curves and exits. That is also like life. Our friends and relatives help us along. 

Nearing the Atlantic Ocean.


Over the next couple weeks I’m launching a series on friendship, using stories and thoughts from a variety of sources. I hope you’ll travel along with me as we work on nurturing precious relationships.


What road, lane, or highway stands out in your memory?

Comments here or send to me at Another Way, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834, or email

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of ten books, most recently Memoir of an Unimagined Career. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  

A Retirement Diary: What Does Your Day Look Like?

Another Way for week of January 13, 2023

A Retirement Diary: What Does Your Day Look Like?

I have a friend and fellow columnist, Lovina Eicher, who occasionally writes a diary of her day, which is always interesting because it gives a window into the life of an Amish writer, mother, wife, grandmother. So, I’m going to copy her.

Morning. This happens to be on the grounds of where Stuart had his leg surgery.

5:30 ish: Get up. If I’m lucky, my husband has the coffee made and waiting for me. He likes to keep the coffee thermos hot by first heating up water to put in the thermos to warm it up, and then places a cover over the top of the thermos to keep the heat in more. He is less concerned about putting away all the coffee paraphernalia so I clean up the counter corner where we do coffee.

5:45: This winter, I scurry to the basement to remake the fire in our wood stove. Ordinarily Stuart would do this too, but right now he’s recovering from knee replacement surgery and it is harder to walk steps. I don’t mind the job, because I love standing by the fire/wood stove. Our daughters used to put their arms around the stainless-steel chimney at our old house where we had our wood stove, and jokingly called the warm wood stove “my boyfriend.”

6:15 ish: I sit down at my laptop to check email, scan Facebook, and early in the week, make sure I have a solid idea going for this newspaper column by Monday or Tuesday. I usually have several ideas jotted down weeks ahead but occasionally the well goes dry (so to speak). I like to have the column finished by Wednesday so it can “rest” a day before I do several final proofings—before I send it to newspapers early on Thursday.

7:00: I usually eat my smallish breakfast of Kashi cereal topped with slivered almonds. In the old days, before retirement, I would shower and leave for work by 7:40 or so, heading to Mennonite Media where I worked for 43 years. I should explain technically I only “worked” 42 years because of three maternity leaves (three months each), and one three month “professional” internship—in the “news” department of a poultry processing plant.

9:00: I might have a “second breakfast” (as in Lord of the Rings) of a small piece of toast with some leftover scrambled egg from Sunday.

9:30: Three or four days a week we head to a wellness center with a pool for water exercise—me with a class of women similar to my age, and Stuart doing his own water routines. These folks have become valued friends we chat with and care about. We never never expected to be doing this in our later years. Stuart started at the pool while I was still working, upon the recommendation of a physical therapist. This routine gets us out of the house—along with enjoying exercise and friends.

12:00: We have lunch of PB&J, grilled cheese, or ham sandwich for my husband, and I usually choose a tortilla browned in skillet with cheese and a slice of some lunch meat. Both of us have chips, and a few veggies.

1:30 to 4:30: At some point in the afternoon, both of us take naps, Stuart in the recliner and me on our bed. I usually ask “Siri” to set my phone to wake me after 20 – 30 minutes. I also do writing, laundry, tidy up things, or tackle projects.

4:30: I start prepping for our main meal of the day, supper. I have tried for the last year to have menus sketched out for the week, which eases the “what should we have for dinner?” stress considerably.

5:45: Most days we sit down to supper together, take turns praying, and in short order, finish our supper with news playing in the background. I would rather have music, but that’s marriage, give and take. Our out-loud prayers give each other keys to what the other is thinking about, concerned about, and praying for. Highly recommended!

9-10 p.m: I like to read and am usually in bed before 10. Husband may not get there till 11. Good night, folks!

What does your average day look like?

What does a really great day look like?

Comment here or write to me at Another Way, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834, or email

Just for the fun of it, here’s one of Lovina’s “A Day in the Life” columns.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of ten books, most recently Memoir of an Unimagined Career. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  

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