Saturday, July 26, 2014

Skinned Knee with a Slice of White Bread

Outhouses only. Indoor bathrooms were off-limits. Basement only. Do not venture into the sanctuary--ever. 

Those were the rules for VBS when I was a kid. No elaborate skits put on by parents or the high school kids. Simple crafts. No masterpieces. No snacks because we got to bring our lunch.

Mom would pack mine in my Family Affair lunch pail. Baloney on white bread, plain with no mayo, butter, or mustard—nothin’ but meat. Potato chips. Kool-Aid. Maybe an apple or carrots. But always my favorite: chocolate pudding cups in the peel-back can. 

My lunch box. Pretty rusty inside now.
Ebenezer: my childhood church in South Dakota.

And we would eat lunch outside on the north sidewalk of our small country church in rural Doland, South Dakota.

After lunch, the big kids played baseball while us younger ones enjoyed organized games. Must have been competitive because during my first-ever VBS, I skinned up my knee. Bad enough they thought it deserved a picture at assembly time. Here I am after Mrs. Miller patched me up.

Mrs. Miller displaying my boo-boo. Second row: Jaimie Gross and Helen Enander. Last row: one of the Millers' daughters, Darcie Decker, and Peggy Tschetter. I have no idea about the boy in the striped pants. Maybe a visitor from another church?

Pastor Miller's daughters were ventriloquists, so I guess we got some fancy performances then. Ironically, if I remember correctly, our next pastor’s daughter had the same skill.
That preacher was Reverend Edwin Goosen (pronounced go-son) and his wife Laura. They served our church during most of my elementary days. At VBS, Reverend Goosen lead the singing and pitched during recess-time baseball. One year he taught us to sing in German, “Gott ist Liebe.” Translation: God is Love.

Edwin & Laura Goosen

Edwin Goosen was quite the character. My parents hired him to help remodel our house before my sister Brenda got married. For more on those wedding preparations, read the blog post entitled, Curlers, Bras, & an Airplane Ride.

Reverend Goosen's carpentry skills got us new cabinets in the bathroom, entryway, and bedroom. Laura's baking skills taught Mom how to make awesome croissant buns. I use this recipe too, but I can’t make 'em like Mom did, and Mom complained that hers weren’t quite like Laura’s. 

My attempt at these buns.
How they should all look. Slightly browned. Curved like a quarter moon.

Some of those winter days when I got off the school bus, we would have a fresh snowfall. Laura would play fox and goose in the snow with me. Oh, how I loved that game!

You see, my mom never ran except to get the clothes off the line when it was raining, and Dad rarely made time for that sort of thing, so I soaked up the attention and enjoyed having a playmate.

I can still picture Laura, not only playing fox and goose with me, but her heavy marching-type walk in church with her long dresses. And I still have the polished rocks her husband gave me. That was one of his hobbies--polishing rocks. 
But at some point during that winter remodeling, I got sick in my eyes and even missed school. Mom thought I had pink eye. Upon examination, the eye doctor said there was nothing wrong with my eyes except what was irritating them.


I had to stay away from wherever Reverend Goosen was working. I’m sure I was quite the pest. But he liked me.

How do I know? Because when summer came and my birthday rolled around, the Goosens sent me a card with a little gift in it.


All packaged up in a small baggie with a note attached to use it for my eyes. 

Like I said, he was a character.

Since this post evolved into a walk down memory lane of one of my childhood pastors, I'll have to save my other VBS stories for next year.

What are your vacation Bible school memories? Ever get in trouble there? Break a bone? Embarrass yourself at the program?

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