Globe Syndicate

for release Friday November 21, 2003

Another Way

by Melodie Davis

Thank You, God, For People Like These

Sanitation Worker

At the dump, the gentleman (yes, that word is appropriate here) who is directing people where to deposit their trash, consistently calls me “My lady.” At the dump! Only he pronounces it with the accent and grace of an English butler: “Me laydee.” I’m sure he treats all women the same way.

And I feel like a queen for a day, or at least royalty.
Fish with Lemonade?

At a little hole-in-the-wall local fast food joint, non-chain variety, the owner/cook/window attendant says when I drive up and before I have a chance to even speak: “Fish sandwich with lemonade?”

He has never before acknowledged that he knows my standard order on my monthly visits.

It’s not a place where everybody knows your name but it’s nice when they remember what you like to eat.

The Bank Teller

At the drive-up bank window, the teller sends back my request for cash the way I want it without my telling her: only one twenty, lots of tens and fives, and maybe five ones. ATMs are nice and convenient but no one has invented one yet to give out something in a handier size than 20s. They still need real live people to do that I guess.

Sunday School Kids

Always beware of the Bible. Reading scripture texts out loud in a classroom of third through fifth graders can result in titters and embarrassment, especially if the teacher hasn’t fully prepared by reading the text in the classroom version herself.

The text was about Abraham and Sarah, when they are promised that a baby will be born to them in their old age. Sarah laughed and in Today’s English Version of the Bible it says, “Sarah had stopped having her monthly periods” and that Sarah responded to the news that she would have a baby, “Now that I am old and worn out, can I still enjoy sex?”

A couple of the girls giggled. The fifth grade boy reading the text looked at the girls, annoyed. “What’s so funny? What’s funny about that?” (I think he thought they were laughing at him.)

And teacher (me) gets the joy of ever-so-briefly explaining sex among the elderly, and periods to third through fifth grade girls and boys. Serves teacher right for not preparing better. I’m thankful they taught me a valuable lesson that day.

Sunday School Teachers

At a church retreat, one of the nursery school students had drawn a smiley face during his “class.” He wanted to tell the adults about it. “This is my smiley face. I made it because God is nice.” His teacher and parents seemed to be doing their job: This was what a three-year-old needs to know and feel about God and church. And I’m grateful again for all the teachers who taught and loved my girls with patience and understanding over the years.

The Bathroom Cleaners

We notice it when they aren’t clean: the public bathrooms that most of us visit out of necessity in restaurants, fast food shops, and stores. When my daughters started taking part-time jobs in such places, they were called upon to take their turn scrubbing these public toilets that we sometimes flinch to even enter. And I marveled that these girls—who somehow I usually left off the hook when it come to scrubbing our toilet at home (that was always my job)—gamely get in there and clean up the dribbles and messes. And I’m glad that even if I let them get out of cleaning the toilet at home, we didn’t leave them get out of learning to work. And I’m thankful for everyone who has to go around cleaning up after other people’s messes.

Who are the people in your life you need to thank during this season when we especially pause to give thanks? Who are you thanking God for?

Instead of writing to me with responses this week, send a thank you note to someone else!

Write to: Melodie Davis, Another Way c/o Name\Address of YOUR newspaper; or e-mail:

You can also visit Another Way on the Web at

Melodie Davis is the author of seven books and has written her column since 1987. She taught feature writing and has won awards from the National Federation of Press Women, Virginia Press Women and the American Advertising Association. She and her husband have three daughters.

NOTES TO EDITORS: text = 667 words; end material = 105 words

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