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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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WEAR OUT, DON'T RUST OUT

"Can you be ready in 15 minutes?" It was my friend Bardy on the telephone. "I need your help. I'll be by to pick you up in my car."

"Where are we going?" I asked. "What should I wear.

"It really doesn't matter. You'll see. Or I should say, I'll see." Her infectious laughter crackled across the telephone lines, then the dial tone alerted me that she assumed my willingness to accompany her on some secret mission. If my hunch was correct, she was probably already out the door, in her car, and headed in my direction.

For what? I had learned not to try to second-guess my friend. Bardy is the most interesting person I know - and the most unpredictable. She had always wanted to be a registered nurse, so she went back to school and became one when she was 63 years old. "The real fun started when I graduated," Bardy had informed me. "When I applied for jobs, I was told, 'We retire people at your age, Mrs. Bardson, we don't hire them!"

Disappointed but not discouraged, Bardy told God that if he didn't want her sidelined, he'd have to help her find her niche. She continued to apply for nursing positions and was finally hired by a retirement home. She was an instant hit with the residents. When they talked to her about their aches and pains, they found a sympathetic ear. After all, she had many of those aches and pains herself. They could tell she loved her work and that she was genuinely concerned for them. When she did retire at age 70, the residents gave her the biggest party in the history of the retirement home.

Soon Bardy was at my front door. "Im driving today," she announced. "Jump in the passenger's seat."

"Where are we going?" I queried as I locked the front of my house.

"It doesn't matter," she replied with a Cheshire grin on her face. "Marilyn, You know I had to retire from nursing when it became too much for me to lift the patients. Now I've found a new job. I'm going to travel with blind tourists. I'll get to go to all the places I've wanted to see. I'll be helping others, and I'll even get paid for it! Now I need you to help me to prepare. Close your eyes while I drive."

I complied.

"Are your eyes closed? Good!" Bardy said. "I have to practice. She began to describe the scenery of the Seattle streets as she would to a blind tourist. From time to time she would interrupt herself to ask, "Could you picture that? Was I clear? Did I make sense? Do I sound condescending?"

That day I saw Seattle in a whole new way. I learned one of Bardy's secrets as well. What makes her such an interesting person is her determination to wear out, not rust out!!

--Marilyn Carlson Webber