The school where I was chairing the accreditation visit is in the Limburg section of The Netherlands, where “stinky cheese” is a proud part of the culture and an everyday commodity. As a nice gesture, the leadership provided each of us on the accreditation team with a beautiful basket filled with fruits, chocolates, wine (can you believe a school included wine?), cheeses and crackers. The teachers had also placed vases of fresh tulips in our rooms. When I walked into the hotel room, I thought something had either molded or someone had died. It never occurred to me that the stench might be coming from the beautiful gift, but out of curiosity for the contents I tore into my basket and soon found the culprit—Limburger cheese!!!!
Now, I know why this smelly stuff is the brunt of jokes on the Three Stooges and Abbott and Costello. And I certainly understand why Mark Twain asked if the guy was dead? I remember when I was in high school somebody smeared some Limburger on the classroom door knobs so when anyone touched the knob, they would smell really bad. Weren’t we terribly clever in those days??
But one of the assistant principals serving on the team wanted everyone’s cheese so we all gladly handed over ours. I can only imagine how her car smelled carrying seven cartons of stinky cheese. That four hour drive back to her home in Germany could not have been pleasant, and the snowy roads were not the worst of her problems. But the good news is, if she forgot her deodorant, I don’t think anyone would know the difference.
Now, the school review is over, and I am taking in the sites in Amsterdam! Stay tuned for the next report on my ongoing adventure.