For Linda Pry, one of the esteemed cashiers at Franciscan University’s upstairs JC Williams Center eateries, life with Christ is easy as ABC. “A is admit you’re a sinner,” she said. “B is believe that He died for you, and C, just commit!”
The 68-year-old cashier is in her nineteenth year as a member of the food services team at Franciscan University, first as an employee of Sodexo, now as a member of Parkhurst Dining. She arrives at work hours before the scheduled start of her work day, “to get a parking space,” she said.
“When I have hours to kill I read, because I don’t get free time during the day,” she said. Her mornings before work are this semester filled with “Annie’s Attic Mysteries,” a thirty-book series, of which she is currently on book twenty-seven.
What scarce free time she finds at home, she fills with reading and crafts. “I crochet, I can knit, I have embroidery and I like to paint,” said Linda. She lives with her daughter, a dog and two cats.
Linda said work comes easily within the Franciscan atmosphere. “It’s the people,” she said. “The kids keep you going, because they look forward to seeing you.” She added that parents will approach her during summer conferences, remembering fondly their time spent on campus with Linda and the staff.
“They still remember me,” she said.
“For some of these kids, I might be the only parent they have up here,” she said. To look after students’ wellbeing, “I remind them of stuff,” she continued, “just like their parents would, to get their fork, their spoon, their knife, ketchup. I tell them about Daylight Savings times, and when to change their clocks.”
The university itself facilitated her conversion, more than a decade ago. “When I came here, I just liked God and I liked the traditions,” she said. Her faith only grew from there.
“I went to church, and the music, it just called to me,” said Pry. She returned to the church the same evening. “First thing I know, I’m walking up to an altar,” she said, smiling. “God had to push me up there. I’ve been saved ever since.”
She openly admitted that before she was ever Linda Pry the cashier, she was Linda Pry the alcoholic. “I’ve been sober for twenty-one years,” she said. After experiencing the beneficial effects of Alcoholics Anonymous, Pry returned to the program as a mentor for women who now suffer from the same problems Pry has long since overcome.
“I’ve been there, done that. It’s not that much fun,” she said of alcohol’s involvement in her life. “I drank because I didn’t want to feel anything. It made me numb. That’s not how God wants you to live.”
A wiser, stronger Linda Pry now finds comfort in God’s central role in her life. “People think it’s so hard to be saved,” she said. “If you believe in God, He can get you through anything. What God gives you, He never takes away.”
The thoughtful cashier doesn’t pretend to lead a sheltered life. “I’ve fallen down so many times, and I had no one to pick me up,” she said. “But when you get God, your life will take a whole new path.”
For Linda Pry, it’s one week at a time, one day at a time, one moment at a time. “At my age, the only thing I have to do is get up and breathe,” she laughed.
Ask her to describe herself, and her answer is as diverse as her interests. “I’m a comedian,” she said. “I’m stubborn, and I’m hard-headed. But I’m trustworthy and honest. I’m a happy person. I’m learning.”
Pry said her life philosophy is a simple one. “Take the blinders off, and do what God says without questioning it,” she said. Students here are inclined to agree that God has allowed Linda Pry to bless the campus of Franciscan University for nearly two decades with her passion.