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The signs and literature at four area Lutheran Churches (Ascension, Salem, Trinity and Central Freeborn) read Vacation Bible School June 15-18 at Edgewater Park in Albert Lea, 9 a.m.-12 noon for pre-school and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. for grades 1-6. 

Kickoff is at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, June 14 at Trinity with pizza and root beer floats. Vacation Bible School attendees could bring anyone but the family pet. (Genie and I got back from Arkansas just in time to attend). 

Joan Anderson and Diane Dopperhammer from Ascension, Amber Deming from Salem, Annette Hansen and Greg Anderson from Trinity, and Genie Hanson from Central Freeborn, were the church adult representatives responsible to tie everything together for a successful vacation bible school. (Yes it was!!)

This year, (similar to the last few years) a team from Okobji Lutheran Bible Camp taught the grades 1-6 while Genie taught the pre-school (19 youngsters) with Maggie Eggum, Lorrie Hensche, Bre Brown, Kylee Brown, and Shelley Bush the scheduled helpers for Genie and the team. My job was gopher – go fer this, go fer that, go fer food to feed the Okoboji team, go fer a drive to the swimming pool in Geneva to let Samuel Christensen meet his ride home. (I learned a lot about cars from Sam)

The Okoboji team was Samantha Walter, Gale Winter, Louisa Jastram, Emma Potter, and Ryan McCullough. I asked them where they were from. Louisa answered Sioux Falls, South Dakata. The rest all said Tenwa. Not wanting to look stupid, I didn’t ask where Tenwa was. I checked the encyclopedia, my atlas of North America, a computer listing of all the towns in the world with a population in excess of 250 — nothing, no “Tenwa.”

Genia and I brought the Okoboji team a Chinese meal on Thursday evening. We were a little early as I thought maybe I could find out where Tenwa was. I pointed out we were a little early with the food as I liked the old saying, “the early bird gets the worm.” The team pointed out that was a good saying, but one must also remember the old Chinese proverb, “the second mouse gets the cheese,” (that ended my evening quest for where Tenwa was.)

The great week ended with singing and a skit put on by the Okoboji team plus attendees. It was followed by a pot luck supper in the Edgewater pavilion.

After supper, we helped the team load their maroon van with Iowa license plates. When the van was loaded, I couldn’t stand it anymore, so I asked, “Where is Tenwa?” As they got into the van, rolled down the windows and started to drive away, they answered in unison, “The answer is on our license plate.”

It was then a brilliant light bulb flashed in my mind. To the younger generation, in their texting language, Iowa is Tenwa.


Bob is a retired AAL (Aid Association for Lutherans) agent, currently working on his master’s degree in Volunteering. His wife, Genie, is a retired RN, currently working on her doctor’s degree in Volunteering. They have two children, Deb in North Carolina, and Dan in Vermont. Bob says if you enjoy his column, let him know. If you don’t enjoy it, keep on reading, it can get worse. Words of wisdom: There is always room for God.

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