As the ever cheery Mr. Mucus boarded the bus I said, “Are you excited?” “It’s the last day of school and Santa Claus is coming to town.” He replied, “Yes, yes, yes and Mr. Brandon I hope you have a merry Christmas, you’re the best bus driver in the world let me give you this”. And he leaned over and gave me a hug. He set down and I’m feeling pretty good and then the bomb shell. He looked at me with a serious face and said, “I sure wish you were on the Nice List”. With a hand motions in the air he continued, “If I could, I would write Thomas Brandon right there on that list but………… it’s not up to me”. That was the end of the conversation. So for all my friends, “I wish I could put all of you on the Nice List but it’s not up to me. Good luck and have a great Christmas.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Having missed school the day before, I knew Hot Pickle Boy must have been sick so as he boarded the bus relatively slow I ask, “Are you feeling better?” A look at his face confirmed what I thought. He paused a few seconds and said, “Mr. Brandon do you think you could get your hands on a bottle of NyQuil?” “I could drink half of it, you could drink half of it and we could just get this day over with”. As he is telling me this Mr. Mucus is in the background hitting himself in the head and face repeating over and over, “Why am I hitting myself, why am I hitting myself?” And I wondered, does NyQuil come in a six pack?
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Driving down the road I hear Mr. Mucus barking out orders, “Bacon I need more bacon and get some sausage on there too”. Then I hear slapping noises as the kids across the aisle from him are hitting the seat with their hands putting bacon and sausage on the grill I assume. He continues with, “Toast, I need toast and make it raisin toast”. The orders continue as the other students keep slapping it on the grill. He paused took a deep breath and said, “Ok you can take a two minute break”. He looked at me and said, “I love working at Waffle House it’s the greatest job in the world”. After that he looked back at the workers and said, “Get busy I need more bacon”. There was a small protest that they had not had two minutes but he said he didn’t care and they needed to get back to work. Waffle House, I knew it, raisin toast gave it away.
Monday, December 17, 2012
First grader gets on the bus and I ask, “How was your weekend?” “It wassssss amazzzzzzzing” he replied. So I braced myself for the amazzzzing details that where sure to follow and asked, “Well what did you do?” He looked at me opened his mouth and nothing came out. He looked up, looked down, then back at me and said, “I can’t remember, it’s my Dad’s fault he can’t remember anything either”.
Friday, December 14, 2012
Your Majesty, Your Highness, Sir, Madame titles or phrases that we use to address others to show honor or respect. Much can often be accomplished when we take the time to be polite. Yet sometimes we are caught in a situation where we are not exactly sure how to address someone. When you’re not sure do not use it as an excuse not to show proper form. Go with what you know, this lesson I learned from Mr. Mucus. As students were boarding the bus he would address each one calling them by name with, “Good morning Joe, good morning Alice”. This he continued at each stop, until at one stop as the student got on Mr. Mucus paused looked at him and said, “Good morning little child that I have never seen before”. So, have a great day all my friends that I have never seen and to the ones that I have seen you have a great day also.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
A first grade student boards the bus and as he is setting down says, “Mr. Brandon why is it so chilly this morning?” Quick thought runs through my head, maybe it’s not so obvious to a first grader. I reply, “Because it’s December”. He looks at me with a blank stare. I try again, “Because it’s winter”. Same look, so I swing for the fences, “Because during this period of time the tilt of the earth’s axis causes the northern hemisphere to be tilted away from the sun”. “Oh so that’s why” he replied. Some people think on a higher level, even first graders.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Mr. Mucus had a question, "Mr. Brandon do you know what the true spirit of Christmas is?" Sensing a teaching moment I reply, "Yes I do, the true spirit of Christmas is seeing how many presents that you can get for your bus driver". He and others chime in, "No Mr. Brandon it’s about being thankful". I add, "Yes thankful that we are able to buy a lot of presents for our bus driver". "No, it’s about being able to do things for the people who mean the most to you and that you love the most." I start with, "Yes like....." They chime in with, "We know like your bus driver". I think my job is done. The conversation then changes over to what if we could hook up reindeer to the bus.
Monday, December 10, 2012
After picking up the Twins that are not twins I turn around and go back past their house. As I’m turning around one of them says, “Mr. Brandon I have to use the bathroom bad, I don’t think I can hold it all the way to school”. I asked, “Why didn’t you go before you got on the bus?” “Well my sister was in there and she wouldn’t hurry up.” Knowing that school is about forty minutes away I asked, “If I stop back at your house can you run in and use the bathroom real quick?” She assured me she could so I let her off. As she ran for the house her sister said, “She’ll be fast alright because she don’t never flush or wash her hands”. It’s those pesky personal hygiene chores that cut into our valuable time.
Friday, December 7, 2012
As Mr. Mucus approaches the bus he has a folded piece of cardboard up against his ear, No doubt a cell phone. As I open the door the conversation that he is having comes to an end with, “Yes, yes that’s good I will talk to you later”. He folds the cardboard, I mean phone, shut and says, “The Agency, you know I’m a spy”. At this point I’m sure I hear spy background music start up. Not wanting to blow his cover I say, “If you’re a spy should you be telling me this?” Instead of complete secrecy he decides just to keep it quitter so he leans in and whispers, “I’m Double Oh Oh, I have a microchip in one shoe and a blow dryer in the other shoe”. The microchip made sense to me because I’m sure a spy would have need of one in a lot of different circumstances. But I must admit the blow dryer threw me for a moment, until I realized how handsome and sophisticated spies always look so I guess you would need a blow dryer to be readily available. Just as the conversation was getting interesting he said, “Excuse me I have to get this” and he answered his phone. He said, “Yes Dear, I’m on my way to work, yes, do we have to talk about this now can’t we talk about this tomorrow?” “Ok, goodbye.” He hangs up looks at me and tells me something that was already clear, “The wife”. I don’t know what she told him but it seemed to take the starch out of him. He dropped his head and said in a somewhat muted tone, “I’ll be setting back here if you need me”. He didn’t stay down long in a few minutes he announced to the bus he was ordering jet packs for everybody so they could fly to school. Got back on the phone and when he got off announced to everyone, “They’re on their way”. I guess he must have sensed some confusion among the riders so he tried to clear that up by announcing to everyone, “Yes I am a spy, why else would a first grader have so many gadgets?” After this there was not much activity on the spy front but as we neared school I heard him call out my name, I looked, he blew on one thumb and then blew on the other thumb slapped his hands together and then waved them over his head. I’m sure this was some spy code. I’m assuming from the smile on his face it meant all is well, mission completed.
Monday, December 3, 2012
There is one question that you can always count on Mr. Mucus to ask each morning, “Mr. Brandon what’s for breakfast?” Sometimes I tell him the truth and sometimes I make stuff up, trying to make it so ridicules that he will know the difference. Doesn’t always work like the morning he was afraid that the porcupine pancakes would get caught in his throat. Well this morning when he asked I said, “Liver sandwiches”. He called back, “It better not be cat or I will through up”. While multiple ideas are running through my head of why he would think about cat liver another student cleared it up for me when he said, “Not litter….liver”.
Friday, November 30, 2012
There is now software being used throughout the world for different purposes called Facial Recognition Software. It is use to identify faces like fingerprints. Regardless of how well it works, it can not compare with the ability that a bus drive has in being able to identify small students just by the top of the head. With this in mind as I'm dropping students off in the afternoon about halfway through the route I see the top of a head that is not right. Recognizing the top of the head next to it I call out, "Charlie, who is that setting next to you?" A little face with a big grin pops up and says, "That's Luke". So now I call out, "Luke what you doing on my bus?" Another face with a big grin pops up and says, "I don't know". "Well what do you usually do after school?" "I don't know". "Are you a car rider, do you stay in after school daycare?" "I don't know". "When you ride a bus who's bus do you ride, Mr. Berry's?" "No I ride Mr. Brandon's". "Do you mean Mr. Page?" "No, I ride Mr. Brandon's". "Luke, I'm Mr. Brandon and you don't ride this bus". "What is your address, where do you live?" You guessed it, "I don't know". The grin, after this line of questioning has now slid somewhat off of his face. As I reach for the bus radio a voice comes over the radio and says, "School to Mr. Brandon". I'm pretty sure what this is about so I answer, "Hey I've got a Luke here". Response, "Well, do you want his parents to meet you at school or do you want to take him home?" "Well, the problem would be this, Luke doesn't know where he lives and neither do I." The school gave me an approximate location and when I had dropped off the other kids we headed that way. Luke assured me if I got close to his house he could show me which one it was. To try and reassure me, he pointed at a barn and said, "We must be close, I think I have seen that barn before". "You will know my house when you see it" he said, "because we don't have a real driveway just dirt and grass not even rocks." Well it wasn't long and we found a driveway with just dirt and grass no rocks and he got off with a smile on his face. That was easy compared to the little boy who once told me his address was the house with the horse in the field next to it.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Often people, including students, find themselves needing to share information that will help ease the burdens that rest so heavily upon their shoulders. These confessions come out in the middle of a conversation having no relevance to what is being discussed or they burst out in a moment of quiet. These came with no introduction or conversation leading up to such pertinent information. Hot Pickle Boy shared, “Mr. Brandon Life Savers and toothpaste do not go together”. Mr. Mucus quietly confided, “Mr. Brandon my favorite number is five, I am well….. a little chubby and would be hard to fit in a small micro wave and I once shot a man out of a cannon”. Since confession is good for the soul I have at least two students walking a little easier today.
Monday, November 19, 2012
Not long after Mr. Mucus boarded the bus he asked what time it was. I told him. Then he explained, “I really need to know because I’m on a tight schedule today and need to make sure things are going ok”. No more explanation was given so we hurried on to keep our appointed rounds. Then in the true spirit of the season Hot Pickle Boy found some Cracker Jacks in his coat pocket, as with most kids not in a package of any kind just loose in the pocket and offered to share them with me. Not wanting to take advantage of found treasure I graciously declined. He insisted and for jacket pocket Cracker Jacks they were pretty good. We got down to the last Cracker Jack and the only way he could figure to divide it was to bite it in half whereupon I insisted that since they were his he should have the last one. So today we are thankful for: Young men who do their best to keep those tight schedules and found treasures that are shared.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
We know how fashion minded young ladies can be. So it was no surprise to see a thin, rather tall, fifth grade girl walking to the bus wearing all the latest brightly colored fashions and a headband that she had pulled down over her head and then pushed back up against her hair causing it to stand up. She was walking in such a way as to let you know that she had it all going on. As she stepped on the bus with her runway pose Mr. Mucus took one look and said, “You look like a piece of broccoli”. I hope the shaking of my shoulders did not indicate how hard I was laughing, it was the perfect description. As we approached the school thirty minutes later I could still her mumbling, “He said I looked like a piece of broccoli”.
Friday, November 9, 2012
Well the worst thing that could happen as a bus driver happened. While in the process of dropping off a child a SUV slammed into the back of the bus. As you can imagine there was a lot of excitement that followed. After the initial shock the students did great. One student told me he had never been in a wreck before and this was exciting. Seeing one little girl seated alone and very quiet I asked her if she was alright she just looked at me smiled and said, “Wow”. As the EMTs where checking on the kids I turn around and survey the whole thing who is looking at me with a grin from ear to ear but Mr. Mucus who gives me a thumbs up. To be on the safe side two students were transported to the hospital but were released in a short time. As the EMTs took care of them I had a thousand questions of, “What are they doing?” followed by “What are they doing now?” Everyone made it home ok. Those that rode the bus this morning all had to tell me what happened as if I wasn’t there when it happened. There was an argument from one boy who wanted to know why they didn’t interview him for the news instead of that little girl because he could have done better. With all the talk going on as we drove down the road the bus hit a rather large pot hole in the road which cause a loud bang, at any other time this would not have even been noticed but this morning it brought complete silence. Then there was a voice that hollered out, “Hey, Mr. Brandon, you trying to kill us again?” then everybody burst out laughing. Mr. Mucus shouted out, “Mr. Brandon you’re the man”. I guess we’re all ok and back to normal, as normal as a bus load of nutty kids and a bus driver that questionable himself, can be. P.S. Thanks for all your prayers, it’s good to be part of a community that still prays.
Monday, November 5, 2012
Mr. Mucus had a new item and had to tell me about it. “Mr. Brandon my Dad got me a robot hand to pick things up with.” “You can pick up broken glass and other dangerous things with it so you won’t get hurt.” “Right now I’m using it to pick up my underwear so I can smell them and tell if they are dirty or clean.” The sad thing is everyone reading this has sniffed a pair of drawers at one time, maybe this morning. No confessions please.
Friday, November 2, 2012
As any teacher or bus driver can tell you it is amazing how the presence or absents of just one student can change the whole atmosphere of what is going on. As somewhat of a habit when I come to a house where no one has come out we usually have a countdown of 3…….. 2………. 1……….. before I drive on. And there are usually some words of concern spoken by me or another student like, “I hope they are ok” or “I wonder if they are sick?” As we approach The Authorities house neither he nor his brother (that is like a flea on a hot rock) are waiting for the bus. I must admit my heart skipped a beat. I stop and start the countdown, it was all we could do not to just say 1,2,3 and hit the gas, but we did the usual 3……… 2…….. 1……….. and from one of the students comes an unsolicited cry of, “Blast off for wonderland”. Trying not to show my feeling of a student being gone, because we know we love all students the same, I thought the other students were too young to realize I was humming the Hallelujah Chorus.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Conversation with a first grader. “Mr. Brandon guess what I don’t have any homework.” My reply, “Well would you like for me to give you some so you will have something to do?” “No that’s alright” she said “I think I’ll just go home eat a bunch of candy and bounce of the walls.” Oh family time.
On a bus of more than fifty by Halloween you will have heard the phrase “Trick or treat smell my feet” 456 times. The day after Halloween all children come to the bus with a sugar buzz and their pockets and mouths full of candy. Half will have to tell you how much candy they got and the other half will want you to guess how much. There will be one child who does not have enough candy to last the trip to school so they will tell on the others for eating candy on the bus because they won’t share. Finally there will be enough sucker sticks in the floor of the bus to build a small log cabin.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
It’s 6:30 a.m. dark and as I ease around the narrow corner of a neighborhood street Hot Pickle Boy says, “Look out for the little old lady in the wheel chair”. My first reaction is what kind of crazy story is he starting with today? At that same time out of the corner of my eye what should appear but a little old lady in a wheel chair on the side of the road. Caught a little off guard I say, “A little old lady should not be in the road in a wheel chair in the dark”. To which Mr. Mucus replied, “She should have been on roller skates”.
Monday, October 22, 2012
My pick-ups went as follows: The twins that are not twins telling me how they had played a game over the weekend call” What You Gonna Do”. It was a game of how to get away from the police (a life skill). Next Hot Pickle Boy with a multicolor wig with a red Mohawk down the middle. A student that told me was a robot, in robot voice of course. A little boy that paused to let me give him a hug because he came to the bus crying. A report that Mr. Mucus had said a bad word, to which he shouted, “Snack, is not a bad word” (depends on your point of view). A little girl with a rundown of all presents from her birthday and a boy with a bloody lip because he jumped on his brother one to many times. Just the high points. I’ll take “Mixed Nuts” for $800 Alex.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
As I approach the house there is no sign of the little girl that gets on at this address but I go ahead and stop. After waiting a short time I start to drive off, before I can pull away the front door flies open. Out comes the mother carrying her daughter. I open the door, smile and say “Good morning”. The mother steps on the bus and without a word or a smile puts the little girl in my lap, hands me her socks and shoes and walks off the bus. Some people just aren’t morning people.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
There are some things that do not change no matter how hard you may try. I could not comfort a little girl who was all depressed when she said in a very melancholy manor, “Mr. Brandon my sister is always going to be a year older than me”. I tried to defuse a volatile situation when Mr. Mucus wanted me to announce to those around him that he did not stink. This was also a waste of time when right after I had made my announcement I hear uuuuuh and the people around Mr. Mucus have their shirts pulled over their noses and Mr. Mucus is telling them what he had for supper. It seems that Krystals and fries do not agree with his intestinal tract.
Friday, October 12, 2012
A young boy approached me and said he wanted to give me something. It was a note that one of the Three Stooges had written for him and he wanted to give it to me. I said, “Thank you” and looked at the note it had the young man’s name followed by “is a pig”. So I asked him if he could read it to me, he looked at it for a few minutes and said, “It says I am big”. As he is reading to me I look in the mirror to see said stooge disappear behind the seat. I take the note fold it up and say thank you very much and he heads back to his seat. The next I hear is a loud voice that says, “IT SAID WHAT?” Order was restored a short time later.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
As two of the Three Stooges were getting on the bus Hot Pickle Boy said, “Now there are two kids that can sure mess up a good afternoon”. I asked, “Do they come over to your house?” He continued, “Yes, they just show up in the yard and hang around and tear stuff up and they won’t go home.” “I tell them I have to go in for supper and they just wait on the porch for me to come back out.” “Sometimes I even go inside and do homework.” “We’re thinking about putting up an electric fence to see if we can keep them out.”
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
There is a first grade girl that quite often will set by Mr. Mucus and he will often ask her to set down. This situation prompted a comment from one of the Three Stooges that was setting behind him. Mr. Mucus replied, “Mr. Brandon would you tell him that we are NOT dating and (with hands raised in the air for emphases) WE
ARE ONLY FRIENDS”. I don’t know about you but I have heard that before and it is usually the prelude to a much more complicated relationship. Actually I believe that most of us are married to someone that we made that statement about at one time.
Monday, October 8, 2012
The twins that are not twins gave a joint news report. #1, “Mr. Brandon did you hear the new?” “There is a donkey that has got loose and he has a leg that is cut off.” #2, “He don’t got no leg cut off.” #1, “Well he’s killing people.” #2, “How’s he killing people?” #1, “Well he asked a man for a knife, but the man didn’t give it to him because he didn’t understand donkey.” “But he is dangerous.” So heads up, if you see a donkey (possible three legged) it could be armed (if he found someone who understands donkey who would loan him a knife) stay clear and call 911. Better safe than sorry.
Friday, October 5, 2012
To small children the facts are this: 1. You are an adult. 2. You drive a big yellow bus. Therefore you are an authority on all things and can be called on to answer any question. After some discussion about that cereal with the lion on the front, then it was determined that it was a tiger, this question was posed. Mr. Brandon if a tiger took a bite out of me how big of a bite could he get? Trying to be a factual science teacher I replied, “Well he would probably grab your head and his mouth is big enough to put your whole head in and his teeth would go right through your skull”. As if to discourage any child eating tigers in the area, he started hitting himself in the head and said, “I don’t know my head is pretty hard”. After about four blows to the head I agreed and let him stagger back to his seat. No, he’s not tiger food material.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
The fog was so heavy that it muted even the sound of the children on the bus. There were questions about the fog, the usual where, when and why and even these were given in hushed tones. One small girl asked if I thought we would make it to school. As I drove down the road it was almost silent on the bus as the students strained to pierce the fog and see what was ahead. As things grew even quieter I threw up a hand and yelled, “Ahhhhhhhhh”. Payback is a wonderful thing. There was a lack of breathing for a few seconds.
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
With Mr. Mucus you never know what you’re going to get. As he boarded the bus he showed a new side of himself. He had a cap on that he had turned around backwards. I asked why, he said he was a cool teenager. He was immediately tested by another student who asked him what was five times five, I’m assuming all cool teenagers know that answer. He ignored the question and started singing, “Chickie chickie wow wow, chickie chickie boom boom, chickie chickie wow wow, chickie chickie boom boom” over and over. Well I had to ask, “What’s with the singing?” He replied, “Everybody needs to learn that song so I’m helping them learn it”. He finally stopped when the kid setting next to him punched him. I’m going to have to slip that kid a quarter.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Only out of the mouth of a female, “Mr. Brandon that girl and that boy are always fussing and fighting with each other but I do like her coat and boots, they look good”. Always look for the silver lining. On a side note she did tell me she had some good news and some bad news for me. She said, “I think you could use the good news”. “Good news is I love you, the bad news is I’m mad because I forgot my water bottle.” Give someone some good news today.
Monday, October 1, 2012
We have all received a gift that we realized was just for show or because the giver felt like they had to or we try to justify the gift by saying, “It’s the thought that counts”. Well not when we can tell there was not much thought put into it. With that being said I was pleased and honored with the gifts that two small boys dumped into my hand when they boarded the bus. It showed thought and effort. The question is, what do you do with a hand full of rollie pollies?
Friday, September 28, 2012
As the volume between two boys started to increase it was evident that they were in a rather heated argument. As the battle of words raged on the ultimate verbal weapon was unsheathed. The “Your Momma” assault had started. The “Your Momma” insult is a powerful force to be reckoned with and not to be used casually. In the case of such lethal weapons one needs to be trained in proper usage and the appropriate time for deployment. After several exchanges I called a cease fire to explain, the “Your Momma” attack was not the weapon to use in this instance, since they were brothers, not step brothers, brothers. I left them looking at each other with very puzzled expressions on their faces. It was a lot to think about.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
As we are going down the road Mr. Mucus asked, “Mr. Brandon would it be ok if I did my hands like this (pointing his hands in different directions) to tell you which way you should go?” Before I can respond The Authority chimes in and clears everything up for us, “Yes, that’s called a human GPS”. He continued, “You know what GPS stands for?” And here is where his true brilliance was able to shine through. “It stands for…….Navigation System.” Never stop learning.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
There are lines from great literature that we all remember and recognize when we hear them. “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done…” Tale of Two Cities. “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Romeo and Juliet. “Call me Ishmael.” Moby Dick. From the first grade crowd came this literary gem. “Oh! I forgot my underwear.” from Froggy Gets Dressed. And it did not diminish in luster with the repeating, even the sixtieth repeating. Which by that time was being joined in by a chorus of little voices all ending in laughter. The classics stand the test of time.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
As the kindergarten girl got on the bus she looked to see if she was the first on the bus. She was not, an older girl was already on the bus and this conversation started, “Why did you have to pick up that big girl?” I replied, “Because she was standing at the road and needed a ride to school”. The conversation continued, “You have to be careful when you go by if you go by fast she will chase you.” “We call her Snow Flake, sometimes we call her Comfort Snow Flake because she makes us feel good.” “She will sometimes put her hands on you and knock you down.” “We just love her.” At this point I’m completely confused and say, “What are you talking about?” Turns out she had not listened to a word I had said and without any clue to me had changed the conversation to her dog. This explained a lot, I was wondering how to go past the big girl’s house without her chasing the bus.
Monday, September 24, 2012
Mr. Mucus was overflowing with excitement and was telling Hot Pickle Boy and me that he was now a Scout Boy. He said that Scout Boys go camping, hiking and hunting. One of the first things they were going to do in the Scout Boys was go fish hunting. Hot Pickle Boy being the refined red neck that he is took a deep breath when Mr. Mucus said, “Fish hunting”. Hot Pickle Boy then explained the differences in hunting and fishing and that normally you use a pole for fishing and a gun for hunting but if you used a gun for fishing it was still called fishing. At this point we had reached an intersection and Mr. Mucus informed me to turn left. I told him thanks and without his help I was sure I would get lost. Mr. Mucus replied, “Your welcome, rule number two hundred of the Scout Boys is; Always go the right direction”. He then asked if he could push the button to make the lights come on when we stopped to pick up the next student. I informed him that rule number two hundred and fifty of the Scout Boys was; Don’t push the bus drivers buttons (which is easy to do on some days). He seemed to be ok with that. With him this fired up to follow the Scout Boy rules I think I will tell him about Scout Boy rule number sixty eight; bring the bus driver a chocolate donut.
Friday, September 21, 2012
Having an elephant with you can cause a number of problems if you have not planned things out as well as you should have. I was surprised by a first grader when he asked me, “Mr. Brandon do you have an extra diaper?” Not realizing that this would be a need on the route today I was caught short handed and had to say, “No”. He explained that he had already pulled the poopy diaper off of his elephant and needed a clean one to put on. This is reasonable when he told me that the elephant was only two months old. Next, he was in an argument about the age of the elephant with a much wiser third grader who was explaining that the elephant’s size was not realistic for a two month old elephant. Of course I was called in to verify the age since he had told me earlier. It all calmed down when he took out a book and started reading to the elephant about sharks, apparently elephant are interested in sea life. So when traveling with an elephant; 1. Diapers, 2. Documentation of age, 3. Plenty of reading material, preferably about sea creatures.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
The first grader boarded the bus and I watched in the rearview mirror for him to be seated before I pulled away. He paused in front of a seat and started jumping around. I asked what the problem was and why he was not seated. “Well, Mr. Brandon” he started “it’s my shoes they’re dancie today and I can’t get them to stop.” He must have been right because even after he set down his shoes just kept right on moving. I imagine that dancie shoe days are pretty good days.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
As rain was falling a first grade boy asked, “Mr. Brandon do you think it’s going to rain all day?” Before I could answer a little girl stood and in a soothing voice gave a beautiful soliloquy, “Yes it’s going to rain all day but then a colorful rainbow will come out and a pot of gold….” “Ok princess” he replied “you can set down now”. She told him she hoped he didn’t find that pot of gold.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Mr. Mucus approached the bus with a red straw stuck on the end of a pencil. I could tell by the way he was holding it; it was no longer a straw and pencil but was some other kind of utensil. He stepped on the bus and showed me his magic wand. He then proceeded to show the others around him the magic wand. Then he promptly started turning everyone around him into frogs and other such animals. Having no appreciation for the magical arts the twins who aren’t twin started screaming, “It’s just a pencil and straw, it’s just a pencil and straw”. Not dissuaded he continued on his merry round of reducing the population of the bus to small helpless creatures. Which was an improvement for most.
Monday, September 17, 2012
As the war raged on between the left side of the bus and the right side with imaginary bombs, grenades, rockets and gun fire being exchanged, a war weary soldier looked at one of his comrades and said, “Man would you quit with the machine gun sounds, you got no front teeth and your spitting on everybody”.
Friday, September 14, 2012
Statements and questions shared within about five minutes. First grader, “Mr. Brandon do you think I need a haircut?” “I can tell when I need a hair cut by putting on my sunglass in the bath tub and by what it does when I go under water.” Kindergartner, “Mr. Brandon have you ever been to a place called, I Have Got to Use the Bathroom?” “It’s not much fun and the girl’s bathroom doesn’t work and you have to stand in line for the boy’s bathroom and boys are nasty and you don’t want to eat there you want to go on a field trip and eat somewhere else.” First grader, “Mr. Brandon can we do magic tricks on the bus?” Third grader, “I had brain surgery when I was little so sometimes they have to hang me upside down.” Some days you just shake your head yes and say, “Hummm….”
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Hot Pickle Boy approached me with that look of deep thought and contemplation that only an eight year old could have. "Mr. Brandon" he started, "I been thinking, this winter when it gets real cold and snows and maybe we get out of school for half a day, we could take this bus and drive it out on that pond when it's frozen and let it break through and sink". Well, ok I'll keep that in mind.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
The kindergartner got on the bus with his usual I’m excited about the day grin. He eagerly searched the bus for his best buddy and there he was, barely able to see over the seat, waving his arms so he could be seen. He went back both of them all smiles. As he prepared to set down he looked across the aisle and there she was, a different kind of kindergartner. The kind with long blond curly hair with ribbons and a smile that makes your heart do funny things. He looked at his buddy, back at her, back at his buddy and did the only reasonable thing someone with a Y chromosome could do, he set down by her. They were all grins and giggles. His buddy with a knot in his stomach slid to the window to ride by himself. A few miles down the road I look in the mirror to check on the progress of young love only to see the little girl leaning against the window with a frown on her face. It didn’t take long to see why. Her first conquest was now setting on the edge of the seat talking to his best buddy across the aisle. You find out early they’re great for grins and giggles but for serious paper wad throwing, paper airplane flying and crawling under the seat exploration there’s nothing like your best buddy.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
There is a true rite of passage that all children go through especially little boys. Usually an older brother or that uncle that is all so important in the education of your children passes on the art of making gas passing noises by blowing on your arm. Well from behind me I hear someone demonstrating their newly acquired talents and doing it quite well. I look into the mirror to find the music makers. As I scan the seats there they are the obvious choice the Three Stooges, a first grade boy and two kindergarten boys, eagerly engaged in being boys by whacking each other in the head with pieces of paper. “Boys” I said, “quit”. A short time of silence and then the sound starts again. “Boys I said quit.” Pause, then another loud vibrating bugle. I respond in a firm fatherly voice, “Boys did you hear what I said?” They looked at me pointed across the aisle and said, “Ok, we will but would you tell those girls to quit making those farting sounds?” Where upon two cute little girls peeked over the seat at me and just grinned.
Monday, September 10, 2012
Mr. Mucus approaches the bus holding a small stuffed toy rabbit, a toy Mickey Mouse and a toy cell phone. As I open the door he says, “These are the little ones and I’m keeping an eye on them today”. He then looks down at them and says, “You guys are killing me”. He seated himself and them and told them he was going to talk to me but he would be keeping an eye on them. He showed me his phone and said, “If you don’t mind I need to call my girlfriend”. It was defiantly a woman on the other end, I could tell by the tone of the conversation. He started, “Yes I’m on the bus and I have the little ones with me, yes, yes, yes, ok, yes, yes hun, ok, talk to you later. Then he proceeded to call his buddy Bob, “Hey, Bob what you doing?” “I’m on the bus with the little ones…. yes I’ve got to keep an eye on them today….. yes it’s their first time to ride the bus but they’re doing alright.” I’m not sure if this information about the little ones messed up a hunting trip or guys night on the town but the next thing he said was, “Bob, don’t you hang up on me”. Looked at me shrugged his shoulders and said, “I’ll have to call him back later”. You never know when the burden of responsibility will be thrust upon you.
Friday, September 7, 2012
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Going down the road I hear a large sneeze followed by a chores of students hollering, “Oh yuck”. Because of the volume of the explosion I know this can only be one culprit, Mr. Mucus. Looking in the mirror Mr. Mucus doesn’t seem to be any more coated than usual, could I be wrong? To be on the safe side I take a couple of kleenexes from the dash and say, “Pass this back to whoever needs it”. I follow the path of the kleenex as it makes its way back and it is headed for Mr. Mucus’s seat. Then they hand it to the person who really needs it, the boy setting with Mr. Mucus who immediately starts wiping the back of his head. Mr. Mucus strikes again!!!
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
As I’m picking up the twins that aren’t twins their large dog in the backyard is putting up quite a commotion. They get on the bus and tell me, “That’s our dog brownie, he really doesn’t like people if we turned him loose he would probable jump on you. Then he would grab your arm and maybe tear it off and then start on your legs”. And without a pause they said, “Do you want to go see him?” Pass
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Unhappy with the seating arrangements that I had given, for a reason, the Authority started with, “Can I move?” Reply, “No”. A few seconds later, “Can I move?” Reply, “No”. Then a third time, “Can I move?” Reply, “NO” Then under his breath comes, “I’ll be glad when I go to the middle school and don’t have to ride this stupid bus any more”. Wow, how did he do that? I was thinking and hoping the exact same thing for him. Amazing
Friday, August 31, 2012
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Mr. Mucus comes to the bus with a cloth over his hand. As I open the bus door he says, “Presto” as he yanks the cloth off his hand. So I inquire, “What you got there?” “Well” he started, “this is my ol rag, you can use it for magic tricks, you can clean things with it and I can use it to wipe my nose if I need to.” After he is seated I look in the mirror and see him wiping down the back of the seat. Then he looks up at me puts the rag across his arm and says, “Can I interest you in a cold drink this morning sir?” I ask for tea and was promptly served. As I approached the next house I hear, “Great two more customers”. The ol rag was being used as a hat before we reached school. Introducing “My Ol Rag” by Mr. Mucus” Swiss Army Knife has got nothing on My Ol Rag! We may have to run this by the promotions department.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Hot Pickle boy comes up the aisle to get off the bus and as he reaches me he sticks his fingers under my arm to tickle me, I thought. Next thing I know he shoves his fingers under my nose and says, “Take a whiff of that”. Hang in there with me patients and Old Spice.
As the kindergartner boarded I said, “Good morning”. This was the response, “Guess what I have in this bag, I have a bottle of water and a banana and guess what I’m going to trade the banana for a cookie and guess what they wanted to trade for some skittles and guess what I didn’t have any skittles so I think they will trade for a banana and guess what the water bottle is leaking.” If you did not read it as one sentence in less than 1.5 seconds then you miss the experience. All I said was good morning. She never did let me guess.
Monday, August 27, 2012
The twins that aren’t twins seemed to drag to the bus at an even slower pace than usual. As they got on it was droopy little faces that I greeted. Trying to help out I asked, “Girls what’s the problem?” All I heard was a loud MOM and then mumble, mumble, mumble. I countered with a, “But isn’t it a beautiful day and we get to be with our friends and we will….” I just stopped when they lifted their heads and gave me that look of drop dead old man you’re wasting your time. Mr. Mucus got the same look when he got on and yelled, “Yes it’s going to be a great day.” So much for that "Happiness is contagious" saying.
Friday, August 24, 2012
Walmart has nothing on our bus I suppose we have our own greeter. This morning as other students got on the bus a first grader would say, “Welcome to Walnut Grove Yousafurtee (you-sa-fur-tee).” I said, “Yousafurtee what’s a yousafurtee?” First grader, “You know like Alabama Yousafurtee.” Me, “You mean Alabama University?” First grader, “Yes, Walnut Grove Yousafurtee.” We have always strived to increase our academic excellence at Walnut Grove and apparently we have moved up several levels. I understand all we need now is a contract for Collegiate wear and there is already a NCAA investigation into our athletic program for possible recruiting violations.
All of us have seen the man at the airport with his orange flash lights directing the planes to their appropriate places. Today I looked in the mirror to see Mr. Mucus with a glow stick in each hand waving them forward and he says, “Straight ahead Mr. Brandon, straight ahead let’s keep this thing rolling, you’re doing great, you’re doing great.” Feeling pretty good about myself.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
5th grader: Mr. Brandon do I have to set here? Let’s face it, I get enough trouble all by myself without setting with my brother and you know I’m not going to get through this year without getting in a lot of trouble because I’ve got you as a teacher.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Anyone that has been around Hot Pickle Boy for any length of time knows that he is one of the greatest untapped resources for natural gas in the United States. Trust me, when he steps up beside you and grins and then says, “I’m fix-n to pull the trigger on this thing.” it’s not going to be pleasant.
Monday, August 20, 2012
Mr. Mucus got on the bus all excited about going to the first grade. First he reassured me that I was still his buddy and patted me on the shoulder, I looked to make sure there was nothing sticky left behind. Then he told me how things would be different in the first grade. He said, “In kindergarten we had cubbies to put our stuff in and in your room you have lockers. In the first grade we have hookers.” I’m hoping he just meant hooks but just in case I will be making a trip to the first grade rooms today.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Little girls were telling each other how much trouble boys were and I had to agree. They then finished by repeating this rhythm about ten times. Girls go to college to get more knowledge, boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider. So Earth is not the only planet with educational challenges.
Two little girls one in the first the other in kindergarten were discussing who they liked, after talking about several people they said, “Mr. Brandon we even like you” and they started patting me on the shoulder. Then they argued about who liked me the most. I know they meant it because as they finish they took their little hands ruffled my hair and said, “Mr. Brandon you’re a silly head”.
Friday, May 25, 2012
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Dressed to the T’s and all grins, it has to be Kindergarten graduation. As they come to the bus they want you to see how dressed up they are. One little girl had to show me her new dress, new shoes and ear rings just like a grown up. She said, “Mr. Brandon I bet you didn’t even recognize me”. One little boy showed me his new tie and even bent over to let me smell his hair gel. I said, “Man you look sharp today, you getting married or are you preaching today?” He just smiled a missing half my teeth smile and said, “I’m all tucked in and looking good”.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Mr. Mucus asked me if I knew what he had in his book bag this morning and proceeded to pull things out. He said, “These are my action figures, we are having a talent show today”. I thought maybe he was confused that they were having “Show and Tell” and not a talent show. I asked, “So what is your talent?” He said, “My talent is making action figures flip”. Then he started throwing them in the air and diving on then in the seat. I received confirmation of what I was thinking when I looked at Hot Pickle Boy and he said, “Yes,…….. he is crazy”.
Friday, May 18, 2012
Newton is well known for the three “Laws of Motion”. Of lesser knowledge are Newton’s “Laws of Buses”. 1. Law of Speed and Digestion: The faster you need to get off the bus and do something else, the better the chance someone will throw up needing you to spend a little more quality time on the bus. Also related is the fact that the sicker a rider is the further his house will be. 2. Law of Behavior and Attendance: The more discipline problems a student is involved in the greater the chance they will have perfect attendance. This law has proven equally true in the classroom. 3. Law of Directionality: When driving an unfamiliar route the first student to get off the bus knows the route best. The student that gets off last does not only not know the route but does not even know their own address.
There are things in this life that happen and you know that there is just something about it that is not right. You really can’t say what it is but it just doesn’t look right, sound right, or feel right. Mr. Mucus, who is in kindergarten, short, round, red headed and whiter than new store bought sheets, gets on the bus right after the Twins that are not twins. He often starts the morning like he did this morning by saying, “Good morning, what’s going on girlfriends?” He was corrected quickly this morning by the Twins about his misunderstanding of their relationship.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Kindergartner approaches the bus struggling with his book bag and something in his hand. As he gets on the bus I see the problem, he is having difficulty getting a very life like rubber snake in his book bag. The right thing to do would be to take it from him because it is going to cause all kinds of commotion on the bus and in the classroom. So, I helped him pack it neatly away in his book bag told him not to get it out on the bus and let his teacher help him with it when they are unpacking in class. You do what you can.
Mr. Mucus asked me this morning if we did talent contest in my room. After some discussion he said, “Mr. Brandon do you have any talent?” I said, “If you drive a bus that means you have no talent”. His reply, “Boy, you got that right”. I think I’m driving past his house tomorrow.
As the bus climbed the small hill approaching The Authority’s house there was no one standing at the end of the drive, my breathing slowed, I gritted my teeth trying to hold back the emotion. I slowed the bus to a stop and still no one, I fought back the dream of what the ride might be. A second went by and still no one, the sun came through the trees, the wheat in the fields was golden and the birds begin to sing. My heart leapt with joy, my foot moved to the accelerator. In that very moment of delight the front door flew open and out ran The Authority and his little brother. I looked to the heavens and said, “Now Lord that was just mean”.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
The little red headed first grade girl got on the bus with one eye closed and seemed to be in pain so I asked her what was the matter? Little Red Headed Girl, “I poked myself in the eye with a pencil”. Before she got off the bus I was able to convince her that it was not a bad thing, that now she could be a pirate with a patch over one eye and a parrot on her shoulder. She seemed to be ok with that so we practiced this line to tell her grandmother when she got home, “RRRRR…. matie my eye be hurting me granny”. By the time she got off the bus she was sounding pretty piratie. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a patch tomorrow.
Monday, May 14, 2012
The Authority informed us today that over the weekend his karate teacher had taught him two things. Frist, how to paralyze the human body with just one touch, a technique I wish he would use on his little brother who is never still. Second, if you took away his arms and legs he could still beat you with his head. Where upon he started banging his head against the back of the seat, it crossed my mind to reach over and help with the velocity of the impact.
Friday, May 11, 2012
I am so lucky, I have a fourth grader on my bus that is an authority, not on some things, but on
ALL things. There is not a video game that he does not own and has not beaten. He is a master of the off road, pointing to a place at the side of the road and explaining to the other students that it is where he crashed his four wheeler, rolling it five times tearing the tires off but was able to ride home. He pointed to a Husky in some ones yard and told everyone it was an American White Rabbit Dog. He has a whole story of tracking down a deer and killing it with his pellet gun. Today he demonstrated his knowledge of reptiles. The Authority said, “Mr. Brandon you know those snake that have……..” I interrupted with, “Those big long strips down their back?” Authority, “That’s the snake, well they hide in tall grass waiting for people and are very poisonous and they’re Pilipino.” A walking book of knowledge.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Conversation with a little red headed first grader. First grader: “Mr. Brandon did you know that my mom was in your class when she was little?” Me: “Yes, I did and one of these days you will be old enough to be in my class just like your mom.” Frist grader: ”Did you go to this school when you were a little boy?” Me: “No I lived in another state, I lived in Oklahoma.” First grader: “You mean you had to move off and leave all your friends?” At this point I reach up to wipe something out of my eye and I feel a little hand patting me on the shoulder and a soft voice says, “Are you crying Mr. Brandon?” Then as we pass a cemetery she says, “There are a lot of people out there, do you miss your Mom and Dad?” I reply, “My Mom and Dad are still alive.” After a short pause, “How about your Grandma and Grandpa?” Then the little hand returns patting me and says, “Mr. Brandon do you get frustrated some times?” I think her carrier path has already been chosen.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
If we would take the English language and make a few changes I know that we could increase the success rate of our students exponentially. All we have to do is set the number of letters in a word to a consistent number. Every teacher and bus driver knows that you can take the most educationally challenged student with a speech impediment and they can with complete accuracy spell and pronounce any four letter word.
Looking in the mirror I notice a cute red headed first grader with pig tails, her hands covering her ears, eyes closed, rocking back and forth banging her head on the back of the seat. I ask the fifth grader seated next to her what was the problem. He handed me a note and pointed to the red headed kindergarten boy across the aisle and said, “He handed this note to her”. It said, “I love (with a heart) you.” “Will you mere me?” Those red heads they’ve got passion.
Friday, April 27, 2012
If they ever find an industrial use for mucus I have a kindergartner on the bus that I’m making a claim on. When you hear someone sneeze on the bus and then there are a number of screams you know exactly who it was that sneezed. I just hand back the whole box of Kleenex and say, “Give me back what’s left”. Talk about renewable resource, he just keeps on giving.
The students often bring with them extra riders in the form of baby dolls, toy soldiers and assorted stuffed animals. So it was not unusual when a kindergartner introduced me to his stuffed rabbit and said his name was Barnacle. I was a little surprised when he said it was his son but not as surprised as the fifth grade girl across the aisle from him when he pointed at her and said, “She’s the mother”.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
The twins that are not twins said that I should have come over yesterday because their dog Brownie could play the piano and Bubba across the street his dog could play the ukulele (I’m assuming that the dog is a Hawaiian breed of dog) and there was a dog named Tinker Bell in the neighborhood that had a microphone. I’m sorry I missed that.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
How we view it and how they view it is quite often two different things. You thought you were encouraging and helpful and they, well conversation with a second grader. Me, “How did the weekend go?” “What did you do?” Second grader, “Well we had two ballgames Saturday.” Me, “Well how did that go?” Second grader, “Well we lost both of them.” Me, “Sorry, that happens sometimes.” Second grader, “Well we didn’t practice all week so they just yelled at us a lot and expected us to win.”
Thursday, April 19, 2012
The two brothers came to the bus with a little quickness in their step this morning. I was pleased to see them eagerly embracing the possibilities of another day of educational opportunities. Then I noticed that their mother was about fifteen feet behind them with a switch in her hand. I’m thinking maybe school was already in session.
Friday, April 13, 2012
Little known bus fact: There is one time each year that on the bus you have a good chance of losing an eye, wearing a patch the rest of your life only getting parts in pirate movies. “Second Grade Kite Day” and according to instructions bring your kite fully assembled. Walking down the aisle is running a gantlet of sticks, wires and string. I have an optometrist on speed dial.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
The kindergartner came to the bus in a hurried waddle his face was as red as the hair on his head and he had a grin that was accented by his missing front teeth. As he climbed on the bus he said, “Mr. Brandon do you know what day it is?” “It’s my birthday and I brought donuts for my whole class.” “Mr. Brandon do you have a birthday present for me?” I said, “I sure do it’s called a birthday whippen.” His reply was, “Let the party begin.” Everybody needs a red headed, toothless grin, donuts for everybody day.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Hot pickle boy brought me a small bottle of English Leather Cologne and ask me if I knew what it was for. So I asked, “What’s it for?” He said, “It's to help you get the girls”. Me, “But I’m married and I don’t think my wife will like me getting the girls”. Him, “Well here’s what you do, wait till she goes in the house, lock the door and say, See you later”.
Conversation between two brothers, one in the fourth and the other in kindergarten. Fourth grade brother, “Would you get off me and leave me alone?” Kindergarten brother, “Dude from here I can see in your ear, and man is it dirty.” “That’s why you don’t have any girlfriends.”
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
There is a rare occasion when a student is quiet and they have that certain look and you wonder what that young mind is thinking, I had the privileged to share in part of those deep thoughts this morning. As we were going through the neighborhood a Siamese cat made his way to the edge of the road started to cross hesitated and then sprinted across the road in front of the bus. With the furrowed brow of a deep thinker a second grader looked at me and said, “What do you think a cat would do with a machine gun?” Personally I don’t think I would trust a cat with a machine gun, too sneaky for my taste.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
The only thing that I know that may come close to the parting of the Red Sea, is to have a wasp fly through a bus load of elementary students. I’ve had to make an emergency stop many times to dispatch a poor wasp to the great beyond. The students wonder why I will kill a wasp with my bare hands, that's easy: Bus full of screaming, diving, jumping elementary students or possible wasp sting. If it was a rattle snake you would choose the snake.
As the twins, who are not twins, got on the bus one stopped to talk to me. After she ended our conversation she looked at her sister and said, “Can you stop my bottom from shaking?” Her sister replied, “Pow” and slapped her on the behind. I don’t even want to know where they learned that from.
Friday, March 16, 2012
Over the years I have received many gifts from the students. They range from rocks and sticks to pretty little flowers from off of a weed, the other day I received a small sea shell. Well today a second grader, you may know as hot pickle boy, stepped up to my seat preparing to get off at his house and says, "I think I'll leave you a little present". He stood there a few seconds and said, "Now that felt good". Then he got off the bus. I'm pretty sure in the future, when he lest expects it, that little present is going to be regifted.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
As an educator one of the greatest joys is being able to be present when the gears turn just right, the planets align, everything clicks and the light bulb comes on for that student and it all makes sense. Such a moment happened on the bus this morning, “Manure / Poop” same thing.
Monday, March 12, 2012
Monday mornings are always busy because everybody has had a whole weekend of experiences to share. The twins that are not twins started out by telling me that since the bus was dark that it was haunted and they knew about a vampire dog and that they had gone to the store and bought a coke and a candy bar and one of them had a birthday coming up and they would like me to give them fifty dollars, yes all in one sentence. Next pickle boy while breathing on me heavily was explaining how he had been sick and just wanted to stay home and take a nap. The three stooges decided that the words "juice box" sounded funny and repeated it twenty time while laughing. Then they moved to throwing the breakfast cereal, that grandma had put in baggies for a snack, at each other. A student that had an encounter of the poultry kind set making chicken noises as we went down the road. Finally one girl had stepped on a nail and do you know how far it went in, "All most really deep". Monday, Monday
Thursday, March 8, 2012
After stopping at a house and no one coming out I had a suggestion from a second grader, “Mr. Brandon you need to carry a BB gun so you can shoot at the windows of the house so they will know you are out here”. Think I’ll buy a new Red Rider tomorrow and the compass in the stock will work for my GPS.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
I know that Einstein had several theories that dealt with time, could have used his help today. Question, how often will a kindergartner, with a new watch, tell you the time on the way to school? He said he was going to keep us on a tight schedule. I’m not sure if we were on, ahead or behind schedule when he announced that it was 89.
Friday, March 2, 2012
One of the joys of driving a bus on a rural route is being able to enjoy the sights and sounds of the countryside. As we are traveling down the road enjoying the pastoral setting a second grader says, “See that, its horse poop”. He may be the next author of a new field guide to identification of animals called “Know Your Poop”.
Friday, February 24, 2012
After hearing, “He’s touching me.” and “He’s bothering me.” about five hundred times, from a seat containing one first grader and two kindergartners, I finally say, “Boys knock it off.” Whereupon Larry, Curly and Moe start hitting each other in the head saying, “Knock it off, knock it off, knock it off.
Got this breakfast recipe from a preschooler when I asked what she had for breakfast. Start with a piece of cheese toast. Next add five sun seeds, not the kind with the shell, no more than five or you will throw up. Then you add shicken nuggets to the top. For dessert get a sucker on the way to the bus.
If there is one thing that bus drivers truly dread it is the fight that has to be broken up. I knew for sure that I was going to have to jump into action when I heard these words, in an angry voice, “Who you calling a coconut?” Luckily one of the kindergartners backed down.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
The twins, who are not twins, get on the bus and I greet them with the usual, “Good morning girls, how are you?” They look at me and you can tell they are holding their mouths closed tight. So I try again, “Girls have you been singing and dancing this pretty morning?” They look at each other and whisper in each other’s ears and then the spokesman approaches me and says, “You lost, we won.” In my defense, First: I didn’t know the rules. Second: I didn’t know I was playing. There is a few more moments of silence then a kindergartner speaks up and says, “Don’t worry, don’t worry Mr. Brandon I’ll have it all cleaned up in a jiffy.” Rules??? Game??? Clean up what??? I don’t know I’m just the driver. I have the feeling that I missed an early morning memo somewhere.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Kindergartner, “Mr. Brandon he just said @#&*#*.” Looking at the perpetrator in the mirror I talk to him about how disappointed his father would be if he had heard him talk like that. His little smile disappeared, lip pooched out and he lowered his head. I had made my point he understood and all was as it should be. After a short pause he lifted his head with a puzzled look on his face and said, “Mr. Brandon would it be ok if I just said it in Spanish?”
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Being a math teacher along with being a bus driver I often encounter situations that I think of in mathematical terms. This morning I hear, “Mr. Brandon, __________ is chasing the bus.” In math terms the name in the blank is directly proportional to the amount of pressure applied to the gas pedal.
Drivers often wonder while they are trapped behind that bus just how long will the bus sit in front of that house waiting for that child before they go on down the road. Say this with me, “Dear Lord I pray that nothing has harmed this child in any way but if you have in your infinite wisdom decided that this child does not need to ride the bus today who am I to argue with your judgment and please let the bus accelerate at optimum speed, Amen. About that long.
Kindergartner #1, “Mr. Brandon he keeps trying to grab my monkey.” A questionable phrase at best. Kindergartner #2, the monkey grabber, “Mr. Brandon have you ever heard of monkey kooties?” Now fearing I will need to call the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta or at least a psychiatrist for some counseling for the grabber and the grabbie, I was much relieved to look in the mirror and see the child holding a picture of a monkey in his hand. Step down from red alert.
Friday, February 10, 2012
Going down the road a preschooler pops up holding up a small piece of trash and says, “Look what I found on the floor.” I replied, “Oh, you sure are lucky to find that be sure and put that in your pocket because that’s good luck.” He disappeared and came back up with another lucky piece. So I encouraged him to keep that one also, before you know it all the preschoolers and kindergartners around him were looking for lucky pieces, it was like a modern day gold rush. There were at least a half a dozen kids that went home with pockets full of luck. One was so lucky he told me that he had to start putting them in his jacket pocket. By the way there is a spot on my bus that looks like a hoover went over it.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
We have all had a question asked of us that we believe the answer should be very obvious and we tend to answer in a very sarcastic way, not that I have any practice being sarcastic. So I’m driving down the road and a second grader, some of you know him as “hot pickle boy”, ask me, “So what are you doing?” In a tone fitting for such a question I reply, “I’m waterskiing, what are you doing?” Without hesitation and in the same tone he says, “I’m driving the boat.” I couldn’t have been prouder.
See if you can spot the mistake in the story. After a second grader gets on the bus he asks, “Can I eat this sucker?” I reply, “Do you really need candy this early in the morning?” “You know that sugar eats up your brain?” Second grader, “Ok, but can I have it?” After a few more sucker licking miles his buddy gets on the bus and being the good friends that they are he gives the sucker to him. They are health conscious so he wipes it on his pants first. In a few moments another student practicing his announcers voice say, “Sucker in the floor, I repeat sucker in the floor”. The sucker was broken but as luck would have it the largest piece was still attached to the stick. Retrieved and finished. If you did not find the mistake, it was…… he didn’t wipe it on his pants again after he got it from the floor.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Upon hearing a great deal of noise and commotion coming from behind me, I look in the mirror to see two feet up in the air, more noise they disappear and now the little round, red headed face of a kindergartner appears. After a discussion that started with, “What in the world are you doing?” It ended with one of many sentences that you would not think would be said on a school bus, “No you cannot practice your martial arts on the bus”.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
I know that we now teach information in the lower grades that we used to teach in middle school but I was told this today. Kindergartner, “Mr. Brandon I can count to infinity…………In Spanish. He then started counting, I listened closely I did not recognize many of the words but I’m sure that is to be expected when you approach infinity. He was true to his culture, as all good Southerners know if you just add an “o” on the end of the word it forms a Spanish word. Correcto my good friendo.
Friday, January 27, 2012
Kindergartner, “Mr. Brandon, he called me a nasty name”. Now this brings up a dilemma, with older kids you never say, “What did he say?”, you understand why, with younger kids it could go either way. So I said, “What did he call you?” Kindergartner, “Shoepid”. I’m not sure if he was insulting his intelligence or his foot wear.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Recently as I was taking children home after school I noticed a car behind me that was very erratic in its movements. Concerned about such a vehicle following close to the bus I looked closely in the mirror to see if I could tell what the matter was. I recognized the driver as a mother who I had talked to earlier in the day because her son had been put off the bus for his refusal to stay sit down. The mother had in so many words told me that I was wrong and had judged her child too harshly. The erratic movements of the car were from her trying to smack her child who was in the back seat jumping from side to side like a rabbit. Mom, he is just excited and misunderstood.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
I try not to crush the dreams of the young or stereotype individuals but……. A kindergartner, a slightly overweight, red headed, very pale complexion kindergartner said, “Mr. Brandon let me show you my new hip-hop move. Need I say more?
Kindergartner gets on the bus, "Mr. Brandon would it be alright if I get out my head phones and listen to my music?" Me, "Sure that's fine I don't care." He then proceeds to pull out a blue wire, and only a wire, that he wraps around one ear and then wraps around the other ear. Then he starts to dance around. After asking him to sit down, I ask him what he was listening to, The Beach Boys. Later he said it was a microphone and started referring to me as Commander, and started assigning jobs to the students around him. A second grade boy turned to me and said, "Mr. Brandon it’s just a wire sticking out of his ear." Me, “You know how he is." Second grader, "Yes, crazy!"
Well this was not on the bus but it did involve one of my favorite students. As I come out of the faculty restroom who should I meet but my 2nd grade hot pickle connection. He says in his slow country voice, "What you been doing in there? Taking care of your business?" Well I'm standing in front of a door that says restroom so I say, "Well as a matter of fact I was." As he walks away he says, “that’s what I thought." There are no secrets in a school.
Well, we're back on the road. Everybody has new shoes to show new clothes and a few even smiled so I could see where they were now missing teeth. Many conversations going on catching up with news. Hearing just parts of one conversation between two 2nd graders maybe you could see how these go together. I'm having a problem making the connection. These are the parts I heard, "No you can't carry a machete.......... fart............. they said I was a mechanic.”
I'm informed by a child that the 2nd grader in the seat across from him is grabbing himself in an inappropriate manor. I respond with a "Stop that". Which is followed by a "But it’s sticking out". Then I say "Leave it alone". Then the kid across the aisle does his best Scarface imitation and says, "Say hello to my little friend".
As the kindergartner ran to the bus waving her arms in the air followed by her 2nd grade brother swinging his book bag over his head with one arm and the other arm just waving around wildly and every other step was a jump in the air. Even though the door to the house was closed I know.... I know I heard a voice say "Tag you’re it".
We all use sayings every day that we understand and are often unique to our country or area. I often wonder about their origins. Today I was lucky enough to be at the birth of such a saying. 1st grader, "Mr. Brandon it’s raining like pixie dust ducks out there". Not quite sure if it will catch on or not only time will tell.
Good Morning how are you doing today? 4yr old "Not good at all." then her voice goes to a mumble about sister this and sister that. Next student, “Good morning”. 1st grader "Mr. Brandon turn up some tunes, you already have, that’s what I'm talking about baby!!!" as he dances down the aisle. Next 2nd grader "Mr. Brandon lets go fishing today". Me "No it’s supposed to rain today". Then let’s go to the beach, if you’re in a hot tub in Destin the rain feels good. And from the back, 5yr old "Mr. Brandon if he keeps coughing on me without covering his mouth I'm going to get sick. As all the voices blend to a WA WA WA WA I use my best parent voice and say "YOU KIDS BE GOOD BACK THERE" That ought to take care of all the other problems.
As students board the bus yesterday two first graders pass me without saying a word (unlike them) they set down quietly and slid down in the seat out of site (again unlike them). We start down the road and the school comes on the bus radio and says, "Mr. Brandon there are two boys that were supposed to stay for after school tutoring." Boys...Their heads pop up eyes just peaking over the seat, were you boys supposed to go to tutoring today? As they slowly disappeared out of sight I took it as an admission of guilt. Back to school we go. Another great plan busted!!!
Second grader shared a pearl of poetry that he learned over the weekend. I’m sure from an older sibling that has a love for fine literature. I’m not sure I would be able to do justice to the flow and meter of the verse, so I will just say it started with “The man before me left no paper.” It ended with “Smell my finger.” I am not a literature teacher but I’m sure the style was free verse.
Sisters age 4 and 5 (who look very, very much alike) get on the bus look at me and say in almost perfect unison, we are not twins today, we are not twins tomorrow. We have different coats, we have different book bags and different hair bows. I said, "I never said you were twins". They replied, “Other people have been calling us twins and if it keeps up there's going to be trouble, somebodies going to get whipped!” Then once more in perfect unison they say, "WE ARE NOT TWINS". I feel sorry for anyone who uses the T word in front of them today.
Though we are always working to increase the vocabulary of our students, I'm sure that the kindergartner had not worked on the word hypocrisy. So I thought I would try a different approach in explaining why it was wrong to give an inappropriate hand jester to the students across the aisle, especially while wearing an "I Love Jesus" stocking hat. Due to the command performance five minutes later I'm not sure I got through to him.
Hot pickles update. Student got on the bus this morning with two quarts of hot pickles. I'm afraid that I'm now in violation of the new Ethics Law for accepting them. Keep in mind if you see a second grader driving through your neighborhood, in a school bus, it is not for pickles received, it is because I believe that he, in my opinion, is truly qualified.
As a little 1st grade girl runs to the bus, from behind me I hear from a 1st grade boy, "Here comes my girlfriend, here comes my girlfriend, here comes my girlfriend." As she gets on the bus he says, "Good morning...........Big Head." Oh young love.
2nd grader: Mr. Brandon you see that spot right there? My mom got stop by the police there for speeding. Well, she was really mad at the dog for fart'n. You do not want to be around that dog after she's been eaten hot pickles. They do the same thing to me but I go outside. I can bring you some hot pickles if you want. How could I refuse an offer like that?
Pickups start early and lend themselves to seeing some beautiful sun rises. On such a morning I had made several stops and was exiting the neighborhood. The bus was facing toward the rising sun and there silhouetted against the sky was a mother buffalo and her calf. As I was contemplating the beauty of God’s creation I heard one of two phrases that all bus drivers dread to hear, “Mr. Brandon he just threw up”. Looking in the mirror I saw him peer over the set with his little red face and as he cleared his throat he said, “Mr. Brandon, what’s for breakfast?” Charles Dickens once penned, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”. So it is. Oh, the other dreaded phrases is "Who pooted?".