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, August 27, 2015

"The Conductor"

The many facetted, multitalented Mr. Mucus pulled from his book-bag an old antenna. The type not seen much anymore, the ones that extent when pulled out.  He took hold of the end of the antenna and with the attention of those around him and with great flourish he extended it to its full length.  Now that all eyes were focused on him he lightly tapped it on the back of the seat and stated, "This boys is a baton for conducting an orchestra.  It takes a lot of training to know how to use it right.  Now when I raise it like this you need to clap your hands together."  At this point he tapped the seat once more raised his baton and started making sweeping motions in the air.  Much to his delight the boys across from him started clapping their hands together.  At first they were not in time with each other but as the Conductor continued to conduct it started coming together.  After a few minutes he lowered his baton and the clapping stopped.  "Boys," he said, "now you are starting to understand music.  Now let's add in some foot stomping."  So as he started molding the music as a skilled conductor, foot stomping was added into the mix.  After a few minutes it came out the only way that foot stomping and hand clapping can come out, even to six and seven year olds and someone add the lyrics "We will, we will rock you"  It had to happen.  So the last few miles to school were to the rhythm of "We will rock you".  Before I opened the door at school I felt compelled to help get the foot stomp and hand clap into the correct rhythm.  Then much to the surprise of the riders I added a little,

"Buddy you're a boy make a big noise

Playin' in the street gonna be a big man some day

You got mud on yo' face

You big disgrace

Kickin' your can all over the place


We will we will rock you

We will we will rock you"


Yes, now I'm not just another pretty face, I rock too.

Monday, August 24, 2015

"The Code"

Monday mornings, you know and I know what the very idea of Monday mornings invokes.  To bus drivers it means, “The Monday Morning Finger”.  You pull up in front of a house on Monday morning and everyone is running late because of the exhausting weekend.  The weekend where we were supposed to relax and get away from work only to run ourselves silly trying to do all the things we could not get done during the week.  So again, everyone is late except the bus driver who is punctual, regardless of what the parents say.  The driver pulls up and stops, there is no sign of life and the driver prepares to pull away.  Just as the bus is about to leave, the door to the house opens slightly an arm protrudes through the opening, and sticks one finger up to the sky to be interpreted as, “Just one more minute”.  Often the arm may go up and down like the needle on a sewing machine adding time as if putting quarters in a parking meter.  The size of the opening and how the arm is clad can also tell you how Mom is attired and how far behind she is on her morning dressing ritual.  A small opening and a bare arm can be a dangerous thing when the child is finally ready and yanks the door wide open to an unprepared, scantily dressed mom.  Many a bus driver knows the mothers on the route better than they would like to.  Parents believe that somewhere in the bus driver’s code there is a rule that states: All bus drivers are under obligation to remain in front of a house as long as a parent holds up a finger.  Breaking of this code of conduct often results in a hand gesture that is far more inappropriate than the first.

Friday, August 21, 2015


She stepped out into the aisle as we were going down the road with a wide smile on her face and started making her way to the front with a bouncy little step.  I recognized her immediately she was wearing a Batman shirt that she has a fondness for.  Knowing how unsafe it was for her to be walking down the aisle of a moving bus I decided to address the situation.  I said, “Batman, you need to sit down.”  I know, I referred to her as Batman but I have referred to her as Batgirl in the past and was quickly put straight on the matter, lesson learned.  I tried again this time with a little more parental tone in the voice, “Batman, you need to sit down.”  She was not deterred but the smile had now turned to a frown.  So I pulled out all stops and referred to her by her real name and said, “You need to sit down.”  Now, not only was the smile gone but her little head hung down.  At this point she was now by my side.  Knowing I had lost the battle I asked, “What do you need?”  She raised her head, looked at me with those big dark eyes and said, “But, I just wanted to tell you that I love you Mr. Brandon.”  I replied, “I love you too baby but you need to stay sit down.”  With a look that was far from happy or understanding she made her way back to her seat.  Women! How do they do that, I truly believe it is genetic.  They can all do it.  She had executed it perfectly.  1. She had gotten her way no matter the obstacles.  2. Though I knew with every fiber in my body I was right and every safety manual ever written would say that I was right, I, yes I, now felt like a heel.
3. She would be over it in just a few minutes and I would feel bad about being right the rest of the day.  There is not a man born that has not been the recipient of the cunning behavior of a female.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

"First Responder"

The ear piercing scream came as I stood at the bus door.  It was the kind of scream that causes the hair to stand up on the back of your neck.  Causing people of weak fiber to crumble and even those who are strong hesitate before going into the fray.  Finding the strength that comes with a surge of adrenaline cause by urgency, I turned and made a quick assessment of materials needed for what must be a near death injury.  There was the first aid kit, the body fluids clean up kit for the blood I was sure must be flowing freely, and if necessary I had not left campus yet so I had access to the school nurse.  I step toward the sound that now was a wailing that could only be made stronger by an Irish durge.  I looked into her little round face and tears of a size I had never seen before were rolling down her cheeks, at a rate that had left her whole face wet.  I looked for the missing limb that I was sure had been severed in some horrific accident.  I could find neither blood nor wound.  Knowing if I could not see it then it must be internal. It must be excruciating because the wailing had now turn to sobs that made it difficult for her to breath.  I tried to stay calm for her, knowing if I showed worry it may lead her to think the worst.  I took a breath, worried about the answer and asked, "What's the matter?"  I knew it had to be bad because it took a little time for her get to a state that she could communicate with me clearly.  Finally she was able to say between sobs, "I......... I left my library book in the room."  So in my kindest, understanding voice I replied, "Knock it off all ready."

Sunday, August 9, 2015

"Run It's A Trap"

Mother and child approached the large yellow symbol of education that had stopped in front of their house.  His excited, unsuspecting, little smile was visible even though they were still a distance away.  He knew this had to be a great adventure for she had lead him on so many.  His whole world stood beside him and she held his hand.  His new lunch box was swinging in his free hand and they were walking at a good pace.  As they neared the large, yellow, unfamiliar conveyance the doors swung open.  They opened as if they were the mouth to a giant yellow creature that is only found in the dreams of little innocent children.  At this point the stride of his steps decreased and the smile had started to diminish.  Mother and disillusioned child stopped at the cavernous mouth of the yellow monster and an unfamiliar voice now came from its depths.  It said, "Good morning".  His mother had always told him to stay away from strangers and not to talk to people he didn't know and yet here she was offering him up without any regard for his personal feelings on the matter.  He acted instinctively and slid behind his mother's legs.  She pulled him back around in front only to have him retreat once more to the rear.  Mother pulled him around once again and nudged him forward.  His feet did not move but remained firmly planted as if glued to the pavement.  Feeling himself being lifted by his mother he went lifeless into a pile.  Mother now struggled with the dead weight of an unwilling child.  Then with the strength of a woman that had not had one day alone since his birth she envisioned what an uninterrupted visit to the bathroom would be like and with the strength of Hercules she lifted him to the first step.  He would not willingly go into the beast so she lifted him to the next step.  There was no action on his part he would resist to the end.  The voice from inside of the bus encouraged the mother, "One more and I'll take care of the rest," and he accented it with a smile.  She stepped into the jaws of the yellow monster herself encouraged by the thought she may have a lunch that did not involve chicken nuggets or peanut butter.  She placed him on the top step, quickly moved back, and her arm was barely out of the way when the jaws of the yellow beast closed.  He turned, looked at his retreating mother and with a feeble hand reached out but it was to late.  He bravely turned to face the man he had never seen before and without a tear or trimmer he stood.  The man pointed to an empty seat.  He gave in to what must be and was seated.  Education would have it's way.  Early the next morning the yellow monster pulled in front of his house once again.  His steps were fast and he rushed willingly into the open mouth of the beast with a smile on his face.  Someone had done their job and had convinced this young child that school was actually fun and that, would change his whole word.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

“They All Look Alike To Me”

The first week of school comes with red sleepy eyes from getting up early again.  There are tears from those that are frightened because it’s all new or from those that do not want to come back.  The thoughts of “Will the children like me or will they make fun of me and the way I dress.”  All of that is found, in the faculty and staff, the kids for the most part do great.  For the students there are bits of rusty information that have not been used over the summer and now need to be recalled.  As the students were lined up to board the bus after the first day of classes I looked into a face that was familiar but only as a student not as someone that had ridden my bus.  Placing a hand on his little third grade shoulder I said, “Hold on there partner where do you live?”  There was a puzzled look so I rephrased, “What’s your address?”  One eye closed, the nose wrinkled, eyebrows down and you could hear the cogs turning.  He looked at me, “Well,” he started, “I never got around to learning that.”  So knowing we have the same drivers as last year and the same routes I try again.  “Who was your bus driver last year?  Oh, his face lit up and I knew we had hit a home run.  With a smile of confidence he said, “You were!”  Strike two.  “Do you know the road you live on?” I said with a sigh.  “Well I’m not real sure,” he said.  Strike three.  Though he should have been out I walked him…….. to the next bus and asked the driver, who looks nothing like me, and asked him if he recognized the little face.  “Sure,” he said, “he rode my bus all last year.”  You know buses and bus drivers, they all look alike.