There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep. Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you haven't time to respond to a tug at your pants leg, your schedule is too crowded. Robert Brault

Whats driving a bus like? Seventy of your kids in the back seat going to town. Mr. Brandon

Friday, November 30, 2012

"Just Dirt and Grass"

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

“True Confessions”

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

“In the Spirit”

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

“Fashion Trends From The Garden”

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

“There’s Always Something to Smile About”

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

“Safety First”

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

“Hallelujah Chorus”

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

“What to Do”

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.

“Halloween Facts”

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.