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

Thursday, February 28, 2013

“When Lightning Strikes”

“Mr. Brandon I need a pencil” were the first words he spoke when the first grader got on the bus. “Why?” I said. He continued, “Well I need to write a script it just came to me”. “Is it a script for a movie, tv or a play?” I asked. He informed me it was for a movie so I handed him a pencil and he went to work. Then came the questions, “How do you spell dinosaur?” “How do you spell brachiosaurs?” How do you spell T-Rex?” Later he showed me the beginnings of his script written on a paper bag. I know many great writers have started in this same way. I’m thinking of making one suggestion, because of spelling constraints his next movie should be about cats and dogs.

Monday, February 25, 2013

“A Little off the Top”

Many small southern towns are built around the town square where many little shops surround the courthouse and things are somewhat like they have been for many years. With that in mind Mr. Mucus boarded the bus all smiles because he was sporting a new haircut. I greeted him with, “Man that’s a good looking haircut”. “Thanks” he replied “we went to Fayetteville Saturday”. Knowing several barbers and getting my hair cut there also I asked, “Did you get it cut on the square?” “No Sir, just round on the sides and a little off the top” was his reply.

Friday, February 22, 2013

“Over the Hill”

We have all done it. You know, we say or do something that is on our mind and realize this was not the time, place or the right person. The look on a student’s face is great when they realize what they have just said or done. A look of terror came across the face of a fifth grade young man when as he was getting off the bus instead of saying, “Good Bye” he said, “I love you”. He seemed a little better when I smiled and said, “I love you too”. All teachers and bus drivers are used to being called, Dad or Mom but you know time is passing when it changes to mistakenly calling you Grandpa. The passing of years was made all too apparent to me when I was engaged in this conversation with a first grader. “Mr. Brandon you know that my Papa died” she started. “I know” I said, “and I’m so sorry”. “Well I’ve been thinking” she continued “I’m looking for a new Papa and I thought about it, I think it could be you”. Well how could you turn down such an adoption? So to her I have since been not Mr. Brandon but Papa.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

“Oh, Those Teenage Years”

Hearing things like, wow and this is great I look into the mirror to see the Three Stooges with their hands together up in the air like they’re doing something. When they see me looking at them they inform me that they are pretending to be teenagers and are playing video games. There are a few more wows, I guess the video games are going good, then one of them says, “Grow up man you need to be thirteen”. Then one said, “Mr. Brandon we want to grow up and be teenagers”. “Unfortunately you will” I replied. Then things must have been going really well because the next phrase I heard was, “Setting in a hot tub with friends playing video games is great”. How I had missed the hot tub setting I don’t know. They did an excellent job imitating teenagers because in the next few minutes they had gone from best friends to all of them being mad at each other. I knew they were back to their normal selves when I heard them discussing how they were going to give each other atomic wedgies.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

“Know Your Audience”

Riddles from the first and second grade crowd, shared on the bus. Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other slide. Why did the clown swallow the dog? He wanted a milkshake. Why did the clown walk in his sleep? Because he couldn’t sleep and got ran over by a car. Though these just caused a rather puzzled look to come across my face the rest of the little ones in the front of the bus thought they were hilarious. It must have been in the delivery.

Friday, February 15, 2013

“Duck Blind”

Yes Duck Dynasty has come to the bus. Hot Pickle Boy got on the bus blowing his homemade duck call. He continued to call ducks for about a mile and a half. He stopped long enough to say, “Mr. Brandon if you could pull this bus over to the side of the road we could knock a few of these windows out and we would have a place to stick our shot guns out of when the ducks start coming in”. I guess the truly sad part is I was actually contemplating whether or not a bus would make a good duck blind.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

“You Know What Day It Is”

Students getting on the bus with containers giving off the aroma of fresh baked cupcakes. Bags full of heart shaped cards and an occasional note handed to the bus driver, written with a little unsteady hand when translated says, “I love you” and a mother that handed you a heart shape, sprinkled cover donut (not sure if it was a thank you, bribe or a sorry). Then there were the two little boys who had brought heart shaped balloons for their teacher but could be used as weapons to beat each other over the head with on the way to school. The boy that kept shaking the container of sugar cookies all the way to school, hope his class likes crumbs. Finally a young man who knew the card was the most important thing so he was going through all of his card removing the suckers putting them in his pocket and the cards back in the bag. I asked one young lady if she had a card for her boyfriend her reply was, “There is a boy in kindergarten that wants to be my boyfriend but I told him N to the O”.

Friday, February 8, 2013

“Affairs of the Heart”

February oh how it brings out the love bug, what to say what to do. Two second grade boys were discussing how one of them had been practicing to kiss his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day. Seems he had been kissing the stuff deer head at home. Well another second grader came to me and asked, “Mr. Brandon how do I impress my girlfriend for Valentine’s Day?” First of all I did not pass on the practice kissing a deer head information. I said, “Well you know a small box of candy would be nice, I think she would like that”. “And maybe some flowers” he added. It wasn’t long and I saw him working on something in his seat. He had taken some paper and rolled it up into a long object that looked something like a light saber and it looked pretty nice for a rolled up piece of paper. Well he showed it to me and told me it looked kind of like a bunch of flowers and he did this because he didn’t have any real flowers. Well I assured him that it looked good and I thought it would be ok. Well he got off the bus with it and the next day he brought it back. On the ride home I asked him to quit hitting and poking people with it about three or four times. By the time he was getting off the bus it was pretty ragged looking. As he got off he passed a young lady handed it to her and said, “Here, happy Valentine’s Day made it myself” and just kept walking. I closed the door looked at a rather shocked little girl in the mirror who looked back and said, “What in the world is this?” I hope the box of candy is not half eaten.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

“Everyone is Invited”

He boarded the bus with a hand full of papers and immediately stuck them in my face and said, “Mr. Brandon what do you think?” It was about five pages of scribble marks but by the tone of the voice I knew it was supposed to be a good thing. So I shook my head and said, “Looks good, looks real good how about explaining it to me”. So he set down and explained it was his plans for his “Summer Club”. It’s a club where you just hang out for the summer and have a good time. He asked me how to spell pull and I said, “Pull, like you pull open a door?” “No” he said, “like you jump in a pull”. “Oh, you mean pool”. “Yes, pull”. “P-O-O-L”, I relied. He went on, “We are just going to hang around the pull all summer and have a good time”. Then he started making a list of all the food and drinks they would need and he solicited the help of a third grader for the spelling. Then came the good news he started explaining who was all invited to be a part of the “Summer Club” he named brothers, sisters, cousins, grandpa, grandma, even went all the way out to uncles and aunts. So if you’re in the neighborhood drop by Mr. Mucus’s house and be a part of “Summer Club”. According to him it starts, spring 4:30. I wonder if his dad knows he needs to get a pull in by then.

Monday, February 4, 2013

“Anger Management”

The Twins that are not Twins boarded the bus with rather heavy stomps of the feet. It did not take a Sherlock Holmes to see that not all was well. Trying to lighten the mood I started with, “Good morning girls how are you doing this wonderful day?” The response was immediate, loud and in stereo, “Not good, we are mad at our Daddy”. They continued in unison, “We wanted to play with the puppies four more minutes and he said no we had to get on the bus”. I quickly change to my counseling hat and say, “Girls it doesn’t help to get angry, it doesn’t change anything”. Reply, “Oh, yes it does it makes us feel better”. So I change tactics, “Girls remember your Daddy is trying to do what is best for you and he loves you”. At this point I believe I’m making some headway because they have quieted down. Then a poor unsuspecting student gets on the bus and sets next to them. One of the Twins who are not Twins looks at the boy and said, “I just want to take his head and smash it into the side of the bus”. Unaware of what might take place next, the young man without hesitation moved to another seat. Personally, I was making sure there were no obstructions to the emergency exits.

Friday, February 1, 2013

“The Right Stuff”

If by chance you have been thinking about trying your hand at the adventure that we call bus driving, here is a short quiz.
1.       The most requested item from the bus driver in the morning is a pencil. These pencils are used for:
a.       To write a letter to their teacher thanking them for the time and knowledge they have received.
b.      To write a letter to their bus driver thanking him for not running off and leaving them though they have been late to the bus four of the last five days.
c.       To finish the homework that they told their parents that they didn’t have. Having finished homework will choose to write on the seat or poke the student next to them.
2.       Bus driver would prefer to be paid:
a.       Salary
b.      By the mile
c.       By the number of times they say, “Turn around and set down”.
3.       The chance that the student that is the biggest discipline problem will not ride:
a.       Good, because the parent is working with them on the proper behavior that should be demonstrated on the school bus.
b.      Fair, because the parent has decided to drive their child to school spending some quality time building that ever so important parent child bond.
c.       The same chance you will have that someone will volunteer to help you clean the bus after someone has thrown up.
4.       The parent most likely to call the school to complain:
a.       The parent that stands and watches her children board the bus each morning and waves.
b.      The parent that gave you a nice Christmas card.
c.       The parent that has come out to the bus a number of times in a ratty old house coat that you wish they would pull closed and you on many occasions have come by their house more than once to see if they have finally come out and have gone by their house more than one time in the afternoon trying to drop their children off because no one is home.
5.       A task besides driving that a bus driver may be called on to preform:
a.       Fashion police informing students to, zip up, pull up, and button up.
b.      Counsel, intervene in arguments, wipe tears and noses, tie bows and shoes, replace hair barrettes, find lost items and help with homework.
c.       All the above and somethings you haven’t even thought of.
If you were able to pass this test then you are too smart to be a bus driver. If you failed you are either not that bright or very gullible and in that case do we have an exciting carrier for you.