There's nothing so lonesome, so morbid or drear than to stand in the bar of the pub with no beer.
So wrote Gordon Noel Parsons for the famous Slim Dusty song of a lifetime ago.
How about we change the words a bit?
Sing it now.
There's nothing so weird, so dumb or stupid than to stand in the room of the school with no kids.
Yeah, I know it probably doesn't scan that well, but the scenario at Tuturumuri School in South Wairarapa is so daft as to not worry about poetic rhythm and metre.
Let's recap. In December last year, the school had no kids. Yep, none. Zilch.
But the community wanted the school to stay open because it reckoned it could find some students.
The Ministry of Education had to keep paying the upkeep of the empty school though. A mere $250,000 annually.
The 2018 school year didn't start well either. Still no kids.
But things have got better. There are now eight students.
In June Education Minister Chris Hipkins quite correctly said the school was still uneconomic to keep going, so he said it would close.
Cue outrage from the locals. The community needs its school. It's the heart of the district etc.
And before you could say ABC or times tables – actually I don't think they say that at school anymore – Hipkins reversed his decision and the place is allowed to stay open.
It is 31.5km from Martinborough on a windy road. Yes, it's remote, but so are many parts of New Zealand.
Country schools have been closing for generations.
My parents were school teachers. When I was a kid we lived in the country. We left Arundel, near Geraldine in South Canterbury in 1960. Dad was the sole charge teacher with 26 kids. Up the road was Peel Forest school, and beyond that Mesopotamia.
None of them are there now.
Sure, the communities must have been disappointed to lose their schools, but they got over it. The reality was there just weren't enough kids to keep them viable.
We shifted to a village called Kennington, near Invercargill. There were two teachers there in 1960.
When we left at the end of 1962, there were still two classes but the buildings were old and other village schools weren't far away.
The Southland Education Board wanted to use its resources prudently so closed Kennington School within a couple of years of us moving.
The community still exists and from what I saw on my last visit there last year, it's thriving. Without its school.
The Tuturumuri situation is a nonsense.
If a business has no customers, it closes down. Ergo, if a school has no kids it too should close down.
Late last year, and early this year the Ministry of Education was paying for a part-time teacher, a caretaker and an administrator.
That's yours' and my taxes paying for that.
And no kids were enrolled.
You couldn't make this stuff up.
Chris Hipkins made an interim decision to close the school in June.
But the "community" rallied and he changed his mind.
Mind you, "the community" is still on the take. The spokespeople want the Ministry to add extra support and put a commissioner in place while a good principal is appointed.
Cripes, there'll soon be more staff than students.
In an education system crying out for extra capacity in places where there are students, and for increased teacher salaries, keeping a remote country school open is an unnecessary luxury.