Conducting kids summer spiritual journey

Every year since I can remember my church has had a Vacation Bible School. I remember being put on with some parents and nuns. The nuns were kind of scary because they never smiled at us. VBS was all class and music, that’s all.

During this year’s VBS, I worked in the kitchen making sure everyone got fed so little tummies wouldn’t growl before the kids got home. We worked hard but the most important part of the week was feeding the children new information about their spiritual lives.

Our program was called “Tracking the Mary: The Mysteries and Messages.” It was such a creative way to teach our kids about the Marian apparitions that as Catholics we hold dear to our hearts.

And O.K, let us just get this out of way. No we do not worship Mary and we were not teaching the kids that. We do put Mary in high esteem. Tell me who else carried the Son of God? Mary allows us to continue our spiritual journey to be like God wants us to be and reminds us exactly how to do it through her actions. She is kind of like the quarterback who leads us in for a touchdown within our lives so the coach can be proud.

The theme was guided by a train that took the kids on a journey each night to visit far away lands where Mary showed us that she is a reminder of the solemnity of our Christian lives in the kindnesses shown to others.

The lands began with France to discover Bernadette in Lourdes in 1858 (Our Lady of Lourdes); then on to hear about the kids at Fatima in 1917 (Our Lady of Fatima); leaving there and arriving at Mexico in 1531 to encounter Juan Diego and find out how his uncle was cured (Our Lady of Guadalupe). After all that, the children heard about how 15 people saw Mary deep in prayer in Ireland in 1879 (Our Lady of Knock). Finally coming to the end of our trip at the 13th century in England with Simon Stock who was given the gift of a Scapular (Our Lady of Mt. Carmel).

All of these gave the kids great stories to reflect on and think of how important our God is that he has given us inspirational places to visit.

But with all this in addition to dinner, music, art and the class, I guess the minds of our little vacationers were in a whirlwind. I say this because when I quizzed my son, Crawford about what he had learned at Bible school this is what I got.

“Mama, see ... this is all about Mary.” Oooo! I was so proud. He had learned something about his faith. But Crawford continued and said, “...And it seems she took a trip.” Yes folks, my heart sank. He got it partially but missed the mark by a little.

Believe it or not, since then I have heard him tell his daddy about things he learned. He has talked about the Rosary, Mary and prayer, so it isn’t all bad.

Next year, maybe he will realize that he is the one on the trip, learning about God and his faith. You know everyday we all learn a little something new. Choo choo, the train is leaving the station.

Caroline Laster is an employee of The Bolivar Commercial. She may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Licensed to relax

Getting your driver’s license has always been a rite of passage in a teen’s life. I know that it was for me.

Earlier this week I listened to a conversation on the subject between some adults and a 14-year-old. Apparently the process has changed and is more complicated but I think it is for the better since it involves more practice with adults and making the test more important.

But back in the day, it wasn’t that hard. We did take driver’s ed class but it was mainly to bring down the price of insurance once we were driving. The class was fun and taught my year by Coach Ferretti. He was a good driving teacher because he was calm and didn’t raise his voice too much.

One day I was driving where Coach told me to go. He let me drive in town tand we were on Highway 61 headed south. I was doing so well. My speed was good. I used my signals. Just as we passed Kossman’s, Coach Ferretti says ever so calmly, “Caroline what did you just do?” Well first my heart stopped and then panic began to set in. I didn’t know what he was talking about. I was doing so well. Then I looked at him and asked, “What, what was it?”

He smirked at me and said, yet again very calmly, “You just ran that red light.” Panic really hit, then embarrassment, and right back to panic. I reacted instantly and slammed on the brakes. Coach said, “Wait! You can’t stop now. You’re in the middle of the road.” He still was not ruffled but I think down deep he wanted to laugh.

I slowly put my foot down on the accelerator and we began to move. He was fine, but I was not. That was definitely a working lesson because I have never ever forgotten that 30 seconds on the morning of my 9th grade year.

The second semester of that same year, I got my driver’s license. I really don’t remember much about it except I was petrified of having to parallel park but that wasn’t asked of me for the test. Thank goodness! The other thing I recall was that the test guy asked me to turn left and me with my ball of nerves turned right. He said he couldn’t count off for not knowing my left from my right. He did snicker. I think we just drove a block or so and it was over just like that. License...with my name on it! Wow.

From then own, I liked to drive but I didn’t get a car, I drove Mama’s when I could. Her white Toyota hatchback wasn’t very cool and it didn’t have a radio so I had to bring my jambox with me everywhere. My friends nicknamed the car the “Yoda” so in my head that made it cooler.

Weeks later my friend Lisa Chudy got a car. It was a sixty something Mustang — white exterior and blue interior and yes it had a radio. The problem was she couldn’t get her license until December. But she managed to get her parents to let me drive it to school a couple of times. Looking back, I guess they trusted me but all I saw was I got to drive something cooler than Mama’s Toyota.

It was so fun ... anything with Lisa was fun. At some point that mustang got picked up by a bunch of boys and carried to the courtyard between the Margaret Green Gym and the 9th grade building. That was a great joke but I really was afraid we were going to be in trouble. Mr. Stevens was nice about it and just made the boys move it back. See how fun always followed Lisa.

December 3, 1986, Lisa’s driver’s license day. Her mama was going to let her take her driving test that morning so she would go to school late. Lisa cooked up a plan. The Mustang was gone and her daddy and gotten her a fire red Fiero. It was too awesome. Lisa wanted to drive it to school but her mama had to go to work and she couldn’t let Lisa drive to the test with no license so they needed a third person. Guess who that was?

I drove the Fiero with Lisa in tow to the driver’s license place followed by her mother. Lisa took her test and passed with flying colors. We turned the keys over to her and her mama gave us a note to take to school for being late. Little did Kay know but we didn’t go directly back to school. At that moment we were only missing study hall so we rode around for a little while. Back and forth on Highway 8, passing the school and every time honking and waving.

We finally went back to school and all day we were too cool. We were grown (in our minds) and had such a great time just in that small moment. Relaxing listening to whatever was our favorite tune at the time and sipping on a coke from Sonic.

Life was never so good and we didn’t even know it.

Caroline Laster is an employee of The Bolivar Commercial. She may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.