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

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

“Cutoff Date”

Ok there are some mile stones that each of us recognize. Five we start school, thirteen we are officially a teenager, sixteen driver’s license and twenty one legally an adult. There was an argument on the bus about such mile stones. It was brought to my attention like most arguments are, by the increasing volume of the two involved. Because bus drivers are omniscient (no it’s not something you can be arrested for) I was called to settle the argument. It started like this. “You are not a soldier you are just a little kid.” “I am not a little kid, I’m eight years old.” “You are not eight you’re only seven.” “Well I’m almost eight.” “Mr. Brandon, tell him I’m not a little kid.” I have done some research and as of yet have been unable to establish the little kid cutoff date.

Friday, January 25, 2013

“Good and Evil”

One of the true joys of working with children is the moment of discovery. When that light bulb comes on and a new door is opened that leads to new experiences. One of those door opening abilities is reading. A young boy came to me so excited he was reading a book. He wanted to share every line and illustration. There is nothing like a good book to fill the minds of a young reader with the possibilities of adventure. There are so many classic children’s tales that we have grown to love, Old Yeller, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, Where the Wild Things Are and so many more that you have read to your own children with fond memories. This morning’s book was a classic story of a young hero in the never ending battle of good vs evil. Clothed in nothing but his tidy whities Captain Underpants fights to free us from the grasp of such villains as killer toilets and lunchroom zombie nerds. God bless you Captain Underpants.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Though it may seem that things have been quiet it is actually just the opposite. The conversation for several days has been monopolized by the P.R. that would be the Puppy Report. It seems that the Twins that are not Twins have new puppies at their house. Each morning as they get on the bus the report starts. The problem is I have no idea what they are talking about. They go to the seat directly behind me, one starts talking in the right ear the other starts talking in my left ear both talking as fast as they can. The only thing I can tell you with certainty is they have puppies. Aside from that there was a moment of disappointment from Mr. Mucus. A student got on the bus and he said, “Good morning pistachio”. After they passed I heard, “Oooh! That was supposed to be Pinocchio”. And there was must have been some excitement in the back of the bus because a first grader shouted, “Sweet Mamma!” Past experience is that phrase always means excitement.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

“The True Face of Joy”

A cute little girl out of school early, trying to catch a snowflake on her tongue as she skips down her driveway towards her house. Yes, the true face of joy is, the bus driver who knows he is going home early and can hear the recliner calling his name.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

“Nothing New”

From the beginning of time young men have undergone rites of passage. These endeavors help a young man grow both physically and mentally. I know that somewhere in time there where two young men who were the first to decide that they would see how close they could come to hitting the other one in the face without making contact, to test each other’s bravery. I have no doubt that it has taken place in the deserts of Egypt, the plains of China and the backyard of hundreds of households across North America. Well today it took place drivers side, row two of a big yellow school bus. I’ve never really understood who the loser is, the one who makes contact first or the one who ends up with the bloody nose. What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun
(Ecclesiastes 1:9).

Monday, January 14, 2013

“Is He The One?"

A discussion with one of the older girls about a boy in her class. Young lady, “Mr. Brandon he just keeps asking me if I will go out with him but I don’t think he would be good for me”. I replied, “That’s a good way to look at it, if he doesn’t make you a better person or make you want to be a better person than he is not who you should date”. “I know” she said “If I dated him all he would make me want to do is punch him in the face”. She continued, “I don’t date him and I still want to punch him in the face every time I see him”. At this point in time I believe his chances are slim.

Friday, January 11, 2013

“This Looks Like a Job for a Bus Driver”

Each day I dropped the little first grader off at a little community store. His Grandmother and Mother live next door and run the store. You know the kind of store, the one where you can buy a cigarette not a whole pack. Each day is the same, I pull up to let him off and Bubba, his little brother, runs out in his underwear maybe a t-shirt, to wave at the bus and meet his brother. While passing through the neighborhood, after my route was over, I decided to stop in for a snack. As I go into the store there are the boys running around playing. The mother looking at me says, “Oh, Mr. Brandon I’m so glad that you came by I could sure use your help”. Well if you have ever been in this kind of situation it’s quite humbling when someone asks for help. Knowing that she is a single mother, no male influence in the household to help with the boys and doing her best to make a living and do what she can for her family. I was a little taken back that she would confide in me but I stepped closer and said, “I’ll be glad to, how can I help?” She looked at the boys, looked back at me, leans forward and in a quiet voice said, “I need you to talk to Bubba”. She then told me what she needed me to talk to Bubba about. So while setting on the steps drinking RC Colas and sharing a bag of peanuts we discussed why Bubba needed to start wearing pants, if he was going to start school next year. Not sure if my reasoning was all that sound but I gave it a shot.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

“Promotional Gimmick”

As Mr. Mucus boarded the bus with a, “Yessssss the school bus” I knew he was primed to go. It wasn’t long and I looked in the mirror and saw him putting a long piece of tape under his nose. He saw me looking and said, “What? It’s a moustache”. He then properly interpreted the look of, you have got to be kidding me, which I gave him and continued, “I got it free with my cappuccino”. The first thought that flashed to mind was, I have been driving through this neighborhood for a number of years, so how had I missed a Starbucks? Was it hidden behind the barn on the corner? Was it down a bit by the stock pond where the horses water or was it near where I often slow down to let chickens cross the road? Secondly, this was a promotion I had not even heard of. I refocused, he gave me a thumbs up signal assuring me he was self-confident in his new look. He must have had a change of heart because before we had gotten to school he had torn it in half putting a piece under each eye and said he was a football player. Personally I think he should have stuck with the moustache, though you do tend to get foam in it from the cappuccinos.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


I know that many of us have difficulty with dates or specific time. You know was it yesterday or the day before? One of the Twins that are Not Twins may have set a record with time distortion. She was trying to tell me about a car that had been stuck in the ditch next to her house. It started like this, “Mr. Brandon, yesterday……. or three months ago there was this car….” I’m thinking they need to work with the concept of time in the first grade.

Monday, January 7, 2013

“Extra Effort”

As Mr. Mucus got on the bus I said, “Kind of frosty out there this morning”. He replied, “That’s why you got a D.J. on the bus”. Naturally being at a complete lose for what that meant and wondering if it was the same kind of D.J. that I was thinking of because I was unaware of one that was used exclusively for frosty weather, I asked, “What’s a D.J.?” “It’s a person that spins records so you can dance” he replied. At the same time he through his hands in several different directions and continued, “By the way I’ve learned some new hip hop moves and will be giving some free lesson today if you want to take them”. At this point he is pulling off his jacket to show me his new cub scout t-shirt and explained to me that two fingers in the air means listen with your wolf ears. Before he put his jacket back on he said, “Mr. Brandon do you know what my jacket says?” I gave it a quick glance and said, “I don’t know, what does it say?” He looked at it this way and that, up and down and I heard him mumble, “What does this thing say?” Giving up he turned it back to me and said, “Come on man you’ve got to try harder”. Sometimes a little extra effort is what is needed.