Our education system is a lot like the weather. Everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything about it.
    This has changed thanks to the current coronavirus situation. Many parents are now teaching their children at home, locked in a sort of warfare wherein the parents are struggling to force education upon their offspring while the kids have formed an underground learning resistance movement.
    This has caused many parents to discover some harsh truths. For instance, some have learned their child’s naughty classmate who constantly interrupts the teacher is, in fact, their progeny. Also, that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and touchscreens do not go well together.
    There have been copious amounts of crying and whining and loud declarations of, “I just want school to start again.” Schoolchildren have also been quite vociferous regarding the situation.       
    I do not claim to have any answers for this dilemma. All I know for sure is that nothing compares to the educational experience I received at the vacation Bible school which was held each spring at First Lutheran Church.     
    Even though it ate up a whole week of perfectly good summer, Bible school was the only school I ever looked forward to. This was because the whole experience was so enjoyable. For instance, each day began with all of the students assembling to sing Bible-related songs. I lip-synced like I always do, but nobody ever called me on it.     
    After the assembly, we were herded to our classrooms where we passed many a pleasant hour coloring, cutting and pasting various projects which illustrated Bible-related stories. And here is the best part of vacation Bible school: nobody ever flunked. Heck, they did not even hand out grades. It did not matter if you colored outside the lines or pasted Naomi where Ruth belonged, everybody passed.     
    While class was enjoyable enough, what I looked forward to most was recess. There was no playground equipment at the church, so we vacation Bible schoolers had to create our own recess-related entertainment. We played such games as tag and ring-around-the-Rosie, and spin in place until you get dizzy and fall down. Recess was always great good fun, especially at noon when you could sometimes persuade a little kid to spin in place immediately after he ate lunch.     
    It pains me deeply to say this, but like all schools, vacation Bible school had its share of problems. Indeed, vacation Bible school is where I was first introduced to the idea of substance abuse. And I am not talking about some little kid eating mint-flavored paste, either. No, this involved the hard stuff. This involved Fizzies.     
    You have to be of a certain age to know what Fizzies were. Fizzies were flavored effervescent tablets which were dropped into a glass of water. They worked like Alka-Seltzer except that they made the water taste better instead of worse.
    I had opened my sack lunch one day and was just about to plop my root beer Fizzies into a glass of water when my cousin Jim happened by. Jim was older than me and knew a lot of stuff. He lived right there in Volga, so he was also streetwise.
    “Wait a minute,” said Jim. “You aren’t going to put those Fizzies in that water, are you?”     
    “Um, yeah,” I replied. “I guess so. Why?”     
    A sly look crossed Jim’s face.
    “You don’t know about Fizzies? Give me one, and I’ll show you.”     
    Jim broke off a sliver of Fizzies and … snorked it up his nose. Jim’s eyes rolled back and he began to moan and quiver.
    “Whoa,” he said presently, making a show of collecting himself. “That was great. You should try it. It’ll put hair on your chest.”      
    Well. What 8-year-old boy does not want hair on his chest? I copied Jim. I broke off a chunk and snorked it up my nose.     
    A violent sizzling and popping instantly erupted inside of my sinuses. I cried and ran in circles; I thought my head was going to explode. It finally occurred to me to blow my nose and rid myself of that chemical blowtorch.     
    I looked over at Jim. He was also wiping away tears, except his were the kind that came from laughing too hard. About then is when I began to develop the sneaking suspicion that maybe, just maybe, I had been had.
    I learned a lot at vacation Bible school that day. And you could always tell when Jim had tutored another pupil because that kid would go around for the rest of the day with a trickle of Fizzies juice on his upper lip.
    Jerry is a recovering dairy farmer from Volga, S.D. He and his wife, Julie, have two grown sons and live on the farm where Jerry’s great-grandfather homesteaded over 110 years ago. Jerry currently works full time for the Dairy Star as a staff writer/ad salesman. Feel free to E-mail him at: jerry.n@dairystar.com.