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Cousin Rufus and the Board of Education

Dear Cousin Cletus,

Welcome to the Dog Days of summer, blisterin’ heat and lazy critters all ‘round. Even the skeeters feel too lazy to bite.

Mah grandson Harley says the stores in the big city got back-to-school supplies already. Seems like his kids just got outta the classroom.

Ah recall Granddaddy tellin’ us that when he wuz a boy, their school year started in October and ended in April. Course, most young ‘uns lived on farms, and their daddies needed ‘em to help work the ground and harvest crops. With horses! And yet they could figger sums in their heads and know geography and have beautiful handwritin’…and the girls could cook meals for the family and sew clothes before they wuz outta eighth grade.

What do you s’pose changed, Cletus?

Ah been thinkin’ ‘bout applyin’ for the board of education in Perkins County, just to help folks git their heads on straight and prepare kids for real life.

If ah was on that board, here’s what ah’d suggest.

First, ah’d say, “Teach ‘em life skills. like cookin’ and sewin’ and proper nutrition.” Life’s gonna get tough, and our grandkids need to know how to take care of themselves, like granddaddy taught us. They need to know a body cain’t be healthy livin’ on pizza and tacos ever’ day.

Cousin Elvira says her grandkids throw away a pair of pants or a shirt just cause a button comes off. They never learned basic skills like we learned in grade school.

And then ah’d say to the school board, “Teach ‘em how to balance a checkbook.” ‘Nuff said.

The next thing ah’d say would be, “All teenagers oughta know how to change a tire on a car.” Mebbe they don’t have daddies to show ‘em…and maybe their daddies don’t even know! And for extra measure, ah’d tell ‘em, “Teach those teenagers how to change the oil in a car.”

Folks could save a lot of money if they knew how to fend for themselves like us in the holler.

Of course, before all that, ah would make sure the school board knew how important it is to teach kids proper readin’ and writin’ skills. Readin’ real books, like we did.

Well, that’s mah opinion, Cletus. You think the board of education would listen to an old-timer like me? Ah doubt it, but it’s nice to think ‘bout, anyhow.

Y’all come visit the holler when the weather cools off. We’ll go down to Lem’s Gen’ral Store and git us a orange sodee pop. And we'll solve the world's problems.

Your swelterin’ cuz,


Your turn. Anything you would like to see taught in schools? Tell us about it in the comment box below.

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