School stinks

The Covington News - - Opnion -

“School stinks!” How many times have you heard that from a kid with too much home­work and not enough week­end? I’m sure ev­ery stu­dent has said it at some point, and I’m be­gin­ning to think the kids may be right, but not in the way you might be think­ing and cer­tainly not in the way they in­tend it.

This week, I at­tended a school band con­cert. The stu­dents sounded amaz­ing, but what sur­prised me most were the aro­mas that wafted around the cam­pus. For in­stance, as I walked to my car, the scent of the grass by the park­ing area re­minded me of the play­grounds and fields at my old schools. Do you re­mem­ber your schools’ fields when they were wet with dew? Do you re- mem­ber be­ing out there in the morn­ing sun do­ing jump­ing jacks, or play­ing dodge ball, or run­ning around with your best friends? The late evening grass af­ter the con­cert had a wet, dirtand-hay-like scent, and just a whiff took me back to gym class, where Mr. Kirk­land was sit­ting on the damp ground, teach­ing us how to main­tain our ath­letic health: “You wouldn’t put vine­gar in a gaso­line tank; don’t put junk in your bod­ies.” Teach­ers were al­ways giv­ing out good ad­vice like that, and I still re­mem­ber a lot of it. And I re­mem­ber the smell of the makeshift base­ball di­a­mond on a hot sum­mer day when the ground would turn to a car­pet of cracked red mud. And I re­mem­ber the smell of the honey suckle that blos­somed each spring among the trees that lined our el­e­men­tary school play­ground. Our play­ground was sur­rounded by deep woods: the same woods that backed up to my house, the same woods we ex­plored, when we could. I re­mem­ber a teacher spot­ting some of my friends near the wood’s edge and telling them to, “Break up that lit­tle Love-in.” The kids were just sit­ting on rocks and talk­ing, but to an adult on the dy­ing side of the hip­pie move­ment, it was an op­por­tu­nity to say “Love-in” one last time. All these mem­o­ries came back be­cause I smelled wet grass? Yes.

Kids — your school years will fill you with so many mem­o­ries, even a whiff of wet grass will bring them flood­ing back. Say “School stinks,” if you want. But one day these dif­fi­cult years of study and mat­u­ra­tion will turn sweeter than the finest per­fumes.

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