Country School

On March 1, 2018, Posted by , In Writing, With No Comments
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Country School



My mother taught in country school. And one day when I was a young man and asked her what it was like, she told me to take her for a drive. Country schools were gone by then. Some of the buildings remained – still do – converted to township halls or gift shops, even homes.

We left the small village where she lived and drove into the country. The roads narrowed and we quit the pavement for gravel, winding near small lakes, sloughs and patches of forest land until finally she said, “Slow down.” It was late summer and we heard a meadowlark singing along a fence line, breezes soft and rich with smells of ripening corn and straw dust drifted through the open windows of the car.

“There’s nothing here,” I said.

“Go slow and look for a small road,” she told me.

I laughed. “We’re on a small road.”

But soon we came upon a two-wheel track – gravel with grass at the center.

“Turn here.”

I hesitated. “Mom, is there a way out of here if we go in?”

“Don’t be silly.”

I turned the wheel and we bumped along the track, our view obscured by tall grasses on both sides. They seemed to stoop, exhausted in the late summer sun. We could see nothing else on either side. Then we began to climb a small hill, and on top the road ended.

“Keep going,” she said. “Straight ahead.”

“There’s no road.”

“Just do what I tell you.”

I drove on through the tall grasses and eventually between several trees. I saw it then, a small wooden schoolhouse with a bell tower. Paint blistered from the clapboard, the bell missing, the steps crumbling, and toward the back an outhouse leaning dangerously toward a small lake.

My mother grinned. “District 1,” she said. “My first school fresh out of college.”

We surmounted the rotten steps. I had to hoist her but we made it safely inside. She walked ahead then and sat up front at the dust-covered teachers desk. Its peeling varnish like loosening scales. She ran her bent and arthritic fingers across them. “I should clean this up,” she said. And then told me her story.

It was nothing like the stories we see in the news today. No mass shootings. No “lockdowns.” No hazing. The students instead, learning together in one room – little first-graders and boisterous seniors. She told how they helped each other. While she was teaching or caring for younger ones the older students taught or read or entertained those in the grades below. A group effort.

That was years ago. My mother is gone now, along with that old schoolhouse.

But what has changed? Were there no guns then?

Hardly. Many more, the children were often armed.

Twelve year old boys brought their guns and knives to school. She made them leave the rifles in the coat closet, but told me she was always comforted by having them there and the boys who knew how to use them. In winter sometimes, the wolf packs were hungry and she feared for the smaller children. Weapons offered security. None of these children were senseless enough to harm another child with a gun. If the older boys had a beef, it was settled with fists, as men do. Only a coward shoots an unarmed person.

So, again I ask, what has changed?

Billy Graham died recently, and the nation has mourned him from our Capital to the furthest reaches of our land. In the current issue of his magazine, Decision, he’s quoted: “Has there ever been an hour of more education and more confusion in the world than this very hour? All of our education and all of our brilliant scientists have not solved our problems. They’ve created more confusion, claiming themselves to be wise without God.”

Fools took God out of the schools. The same fools who believe that guns kill people, when in fact people kill people. In small town St. Cloud, Minnesota a Muslim fanatic with a knife stabbed ten women in a shopping mall, asking each beforehand about her faith. All ten women survived, and no one knows how many more were saved because a man with a conceal and carry permit shot and killed this lunatic before that could happen. Obviously, the gun was the instrument this man used to save lives. And like a knife, a baseball bat, a car, or an explosive, the use of a weapon is ordained by the desires or hatreds of the user. Banning baseball bats or pistols would achieve the same result – nothing. If you don’t think people can find a way to kill each other without guns it’s time for you to go back to school and study history. The world has only had guns for a little while but managed thousands of years of killing without them. Armies squared off in vast fields and hacked each other to death for days, weeks, even years. Firearms weren’t invented until centuries later.

I am astonished at the depth of stupidity exhibited by the far left wing of our society. How evil are they to ignore the obvious solution to mass shootings, but instead they ban the sword. My goodness. The shepherd boy David used a stone. It’s not the weapon, foolish ones, it’s the evil intent of the heart and it seems like only the Billy Grahams of the world know how to control that.

Guns were prevalent years past when my mother was teaching in a one-room schoolhouse. No locks, no terrorist drills, no mass shootings, no fear. Plenty of guns, but they often read the Bible in those schools. They held Christmas programs, and if the school had a piano they often sang hymns, as people did in their homes. So pay attention. Ban every gun. They’ll use something else. The killing will not end until you repair the human heart. This will surprise you, but only God can do that.


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