Bible School a source of summer memories

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 4, 2003

They were running around in front of the church early Wednesday morning as I passed. Girls in bright-colored shorts and cool tops, boys in khakis and neat tee shirts waited for vacation Bible school to start.

It seemed like yesterday when I was one of those kids waiting to march into the First Baptist Church in Opp and begin a day at Bible school.

I'd like to say I looked forward to vacation Bible school every year, but that wasn't exactly true.

While I enjoyed it once I got into the swing of the schedule, it always seemed to follow too closely to the end of school to suit me. The freedom of summer was new and getting up early to be at church wasn't easy.

Still I have wonderful memories from summers at Bible school. My brothers, sisters and I all piled into the car, yawning our way to the church. We lined in front of the wide, high steps separated by age into groups. Every morning someone new, usually one from the older group of kids, got to carry the flags into the sanctuary. Being chosen flag carrier for a day was a big honor and a serious responsibility.

The morning started with us standing straight and for the most part still while we pledged alliance to the American flag and the Christian flag.

Then there was scripture reading by the preacher and a song or two. By the time we headed for our classes, I was almost awake.

I know we listened to Bible stories and memorized verses. While that was an important part of the day, it was not my favorite.

Oh no, I loved arts and crafts time. You can create unbelievable things with Elmer's glue, glitter and elbow macaroni, and we did every year. Of course, these creations became gifts for our parents and went on display at home after commencement exercises. I'll bet to this day that somewhere at my mother's house - probably hidden in dark closet - is 10 pounds of macaroni art.

Refreshment time was also pretty high on my list. Long tables filled the fellowship hall, each one had places set with napkins and cups of cold juice or sweet Kool-aid. We filed in and stood with our hands at our sides until after the blessing. I don't know if anything has ever again tasted as good as those graham crackers spread with creamy peanut butter. Some days we got a glazed donut. Oh but that was a heavenly treat that was gobbled up in a flash.

What sweet memories on a summer morning - the sound of the preacher's voice, the taste of donuts, and the smell of Elmer's glue

I stopped my van while I waited for a car ahead of me to turn into the church parking lot. A little girl in a pink shirt hopped out and waved goodbye to her mother.

As I watched her race toward the other children, I hoped there was cold juice and peanut butter waiting for her. And if they are lucky, her parents might get at least one of those unbelievable macaroni creations at the end of the week.