North Adams High School holds annual Homecoming ceremonies Six workers injured in power plant explosion Commissioners hold proclamation ceremony for 4-H Week Senior Profile: Shyanne Tucker Coach Young Classic is Saturday at NAHS Helen Kerr Anna L DeMint The garden that got us through the winter months Virginia L Fricker JV Devils top Northwest 51-34 Senior Profile: Caitlin Young North Adams moves to 7-5 with 16-point Homecoming win over Northwest Held to a higher standard Claudia J Purtee Shaylee E Prewitt Questions still linger in Stuart explosion Richard Holsinger J Ruth Madden Frank E Swayne Robert Bechdolt Sara D Hatfield Barbara Goodwin Jeffrey Frederick Grace E Myers Johnny A Sullender Sr. Senator Joe Uecker sworn-in for second term Wenstrup sworn in for third term in House Ronald L Chochard Patrick P Clift Samuel W Freeland Senior Profile: Casey Mullenix Lady Dragons win ugly, taking Classic consolation game over Manchester, 48-45 Greyhounds roll by West Union to take Classic consolation game, 82-58 History made as Ward takes oath of office Peter A Bennington Tangela R King McDonald’s Classic crowns 2016 champions MVP Arey leads Peebles to McDonald’s Classic title, Indians outlast North Adams 82-76 in double overtime thriller Lady Devils get Classic three-peat, make it 10 of 11, 14 titles for Coach Davis Senior Profile: Raegan Dick Teaching students the power of giving Kids at Children’s Home gifted with shopping spree Marion Liming Dorothy Huff John R Murphy Michael L McAninch Rita Rogers Edward L Combs Ronald W Staggs Mary H Grooms Gladys Wilson Donald Barnhill Monda Van Vorren Deborah Spires Senior Profile: Andre Wolke Indians pull away in second half, get past Manchester 71-58 in Classic semis On home floor, Lady Indians move to Classic title game North Adams handles West Union, Devils move to Classic finals with 68-53 victory Lady Devils roll into Classic championship Beth E Rowley Leatrice Lewis Senior Profile: Justin Aldridge Mary Helterbridle Wanda Huffman PES Performing Arts entertains at Hometown Christmas Adams County Manor sends holiday wishes Peebles Lions Club hosts Christmas breakfast Elusive Elf on a Shelf makes a return visit to PES Santas in blue spread Christmas cheer in a very special way Senior Profile: Aubrey McFarland WUHS holds Hall of Fame induction ceremonies WUHS Academic Team has undefeated season Serving those who served their country From Pearl Harbor to ‘America’s Got Talent’, 93-year-old WWII vet is still going strong Yester Years brings a touch of old to the new Merry Christmas to you all North Adams Elementary announces Spelling Bee winners Peebles High School hosts Homecoming ceremonies Children in need receive gifts at PES Adams County Manor holds annual Door Decorating Contest WUHS celebrates with numerous Christmas activities Halftime lead quickly vanishes, Dragons fall to Northwest 73-62 in Saturday night non-conference match up Tammy S Scott Oscar Hilterbrandt Neil R Swayne Beulah M Daniels McDonald’s Classic begins Dec. 27 Letters to Santa Senior Profile: Tyler Swearingen Leadership Adams donates to local outreach programs North Adams student/athletes are part of Holiday Sharing Event Senior Profile: Kylie Lucas West Union Elementary holds Academic Fair on Dec. 2 WUES holds annual Spelling Bee NAHS Art students help out the Humane Society Peebles Elementary announces Spelling Bee winners CTC FCCLA / Culinary Arts class holds Cancer Awareness Drive Amen receives Distinguished Service Award ‘Tis the season for family-past, present, and future MHS Computer Class aces MOS Exam

‘And he said in his heart’

Sarah enrolled in hospice at age 85 with terminal cancer and was bedfast when we first met. She was a genteel type lady, refined, elegant and graceful, but her husband Victor was a short, stout rough-hewn Polish immigrant, who, on the flip-side, was very tender and attentive towards his wife. They were both highly intelligent and professionally accomplished, and had retired from a nearby nuclear energy facility. Sarah and Victor had no children but they had each other.

As I sat beside Sarah’s hospital bed I spotted a small spinet type electric piano against a wall near a window. It looked like an inexpensive beginner’s model. A collection of E-Z Play songbooks lined the ledge above the keyboard and a cardboard note guide straddled the keys. So I asked, “Who plays the piano?” and Sarah replied, “I started playing about two years ago. I always wanted to play the piano so I bought some E-Z Play songbooks and taught myself how to play. I did it just for us, not for anybody else. And Victor and I have had some marvelous times singing together. We’ve really enjoyed it.” Victor shook his head in affirmation as they smiled at one another.

Sarah and Victor remind me of my departed friend Ed, who was 90-years old when we met. Ed was the primary caregiver for Gladys, his deceased friend’s wife. Ed still did taxes for a limited number of clients;, he cared for his 65- year old developmentally disabled daughter, and he took her for an hour long drive in his little blue Ford Escort every night. Ed declared, “Barbie just loves to take rides.” Ed shared, “People are always telling me, ‘you’re too old to do that pops’ but I just keep it between the lines and I tell them, ‘I don’t count my birthdays I count my blessings. I still have a job to do.’ I think people get old before their time, because they get old in their minds.”

I’ve observed that there are defining moments in our lives, which are usually determined by defining statements from without and within. When God told Abraham that his 90- year old wife, Sara, was going to bear him a son, Abraham, “…fell on his face and laughed and said in his heart, ‘shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? “ (Genesis 17:17). The phrase, “and he said in his heart”, is repeated several times in the scriptures.

You know, we have to be careful what we “say in our heart”, because our self talk can become a defining statement and a defining moment. Wise old King Solomon understood this aspect of our human nature, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7)

What if Sarah would have said in her heart, “I’m 83 years old. I’m too old to learn how to play the piano. It’s too late to start something new. I don’t have that much time left.” What if Ed would have listened to those voices from without? Sarah and Ed would have become “old before their time.”

So I ask you, “Is there something new you want to start? Is there something you’ve started that you’d like to finish? Then I encourage you to do it while you can. “Don’t let it be etched on your tombstone, “died age 40, buried age 70.”

If Sara and Victor’s story inspires you to start something new or finish something you’ve started, I would love to hear about it. You can contact me at the email or phone number below.

Loren Hardin is a social worker for Southern Ohio Medical Center-Hospice and can be reached at hardinl@somc.org or at 740-356-2525.

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Loren Hardin

Straight Paths

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2016 People's Defender