Rust column

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Friday we ran an article by The Kansas City Star's Washington bureau reporter Mike Stearns about the net worth ($13 million to $30 million estimated) of Claire McCaskill and her husband. The article listed researched material about investments of McCaskill's husband.

I was surprised that as of this writing the Associated Press has elected not to research, rewrite or, as with most such political articles, distribute it to its newspaper, radio and television members. It was a legitimate story which should have been distributed and which prompted a response from McCaskill.

Likewise the Missouri Government Library in Jefferson City, which for 40 years has distributed newspaper articles about government and politics, did not include this story in its "Keeping Up" report.

Both the AP and the state library are responsible for consistent policies of news reporting and distribution and should not be involved in what appears to some to be selective and biased decisions.

News bloggers and the five-year-old blog called -- manned by one person -- should not be able to provide a better linking service, but they often do.

A lady named Rose: The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned to find a wrinkled little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.

She said, "Hi, handsome. My name is Rose. I'm 87 years old. Can I give you a hug?" I laughed and enthusiastically responded, "Of course you may!" and she gave me a giant squeeze.

"Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" I asked.

She jokingly replied, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married and have a couple of kids."

"No, seriously," I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age?

"I always dreamed of having a college education, and now I'm getting one," she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this "time machine" as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon. She easily made friends wherever she went.

She loved to dress up, and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet.

I'll never forget what she taught us. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three-by-five cards on the floor.

Frustrated and a little embarrassed, she leaned into the microphone and simply said, "I'm sorry I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent, and this whiskey is killing me. I'll never get my speech back in order, so let me just tell you what I know."

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began:

"We do not stop playing because we are old. We grow old because we stop playing.

"There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day. You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die.

"We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it. There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.

"If you are 19 years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn 20 years old. If I am 87 years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn 88.

"Anybody can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets.

"The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets."

She concluded her speech by courageously singing "The Rose."

She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives.

At year's end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago.

One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.

More than 2,000 college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be.

When you finish reading this, please send this peaceful word of advice to your friends and family. They'll really enjoy it. These words have been passed along in loving memory of Rose.

Remember, growing older is mandatory. Growing up is optional.

We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.

God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage. If God brings you to it, he will bring you through it.

Good friends are like stars. You don't always see them, but you know they are always there." -- E-mail from a friend

It was once announced that the devil was going out of business and would offer his tools for sale to whoever would pay his price. On the night of the sale the tools were all attractively displayed and a bad looking lot they were.

Malice, envy, hatred, jealousy, sensuality, deceit and all the other implements of evil were spread out, each marked with its price. Apart from the rest lay a harmless looking wedge-shaped tool, much worn and priced higher than any of the others.

Someone asked the devil what it was. "That's discouragement," was the reply.

"Well, why do you have it priced so high?"

"Because," replied the devil, "it is more useful to me than any of the others. I can pry open and get inside a man's consciousness with that when I couldn't get near him with any of the others, and when once inside I can use him in whatever way suits me best. It is so much worn because I use it with nearly everybody, as very few people yet know that it belongs to me."

"You say you use this wedge of discouragement with nearly everybody. With whom can't you use it?"

The devil hesitated a long time and finally said in a low voice, "I can't use it in getting into the consciousness of a grateful man."

It hardly need be added that the devil's price for discouragement was so high that it never sold. He still owns it. And he is still using it. -- William R. Rathvon, Guidepost

Gary Rust is the chairman of Rust Communications.

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