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, March 24, 2016

"Facing Mortality"

We have all thought of it at one time or another, the end, final day, our last breath.  For most it comes at an unknown hour but for some it can come at a given period of time.  We sometimes ask ourselves what would I do if I knew the time?  This was the question that was posed by one young student to another student.  He said, “What would you do if you were on Hawaii and you knew it was going to blow up in thirty-six hours?” The other student answered, “Leave Hawaii.”   I was in complete agreement.  This was not the thought provoking response that was desired so he tried again.  “What would you do if you knew the whole world would blow up in thirty-six hours?”  Well this was more to the point and took a little more time in thought but not as much as you would expect.  His eyebrows went down; you could tell he was pondering the end, the certain mortality of man.  After a surprisingly short time for such a weighty question, he responded with the certainty of a man with a plan that would surly give him peace of mind as he prepared to meet his maker.  “Well,” he said “I guess I would go to my room and eat some Beanee Weenees.”  He noticed the looks on the faces around him and so as if to add validity to his plan he added, “There’re really pretty good.”  So the next time someone comes up to you and says, “You look like you could use a can of Beanee Weenes.”  You might want to make sure things are in order.

Thursday, March 10, 2016


With Pop-Tarts in hand the pre-K student struggled up the steps to the bus.  He looked at the package of Pop-Tarts and then at me and asked, “Can I eat these; I didn’t have time this morning?”  Well the bus rules strictly forbid eating or drinking on the bus so I looked into his little innocent face and said, “Sure, but I better not find any crumbs on the floor of my bus.”  With a grin on his face he started down the aisle to find a place to sit.  Within a few minutes he was back at my elbow, “Mr. Brandon, I don’t think I can eat these without getting a few crumbs on the floor.”  “I understand,” I told him. “But be careful and don’t get too many.”  Later he was back with a Pop-Tart in hand and said, “Here you go Mr. Brandon you can have this one.”  Not being a Pop-Tart fan I was not particularly interested but I assumed it was an offering of gratitude for letting him eat the other one on the bus, knowing that most likely there was a small mountain of Pop-Tart crumbs on the bus floor.  As he handed me the Pop-Tart he added, “It’s a super hero Pop-Tart.”  I looked at it and sure enough there was Catwomen.  I might have been able to turn down a Pop-Tart at any other time but a Catwomen Pop-Tart, I don’t think so.  I think you could market mud pies if they had a picture of Catwomen on them.  You put Catwomen on a Pop-Tart and that thing comes out of the package hot, no toaster needed.  Sorry, got a little side tracked, back to the story.  As we pulled onto the school grounds he was once again at my side waiting to get off the bus.  Knowing that students are supposed to wait till the bus has come to a complete stop before they line up, several of the students told him he should sit down.   The reply that he gave made clear to me I had been a pawn in a web of graft and corruption.  He said to them, “Its ok, I gave him a Pop-Tart.”  It turned out the Pop-Tart was a payoff, a bribe; my good reputation had been compromised for a place in the front of the line.  Now the other students addressed me, “Mr. Brandon he needs to sit down we haven’t stopped yet.”  I turned and looked at the driver’s side window where I had carefully stood a Pop-Tart.  Looking back at me was Catwomen, memories of Julie Newmar and Lee Meriwether flashed through my head and I said, “Its ok, he gave me a Pop-Tart.”  They say, “Every man has his price.”

Thursday, March 3, 2016


A normally cheerful student entered the bus with his hat turned backwards and a disgruntled look on his face.  As he sat there he mumbled some rather grumpy remarks to those that were around him who in turn looked back at him with very puzzled looks wondering what they had done.  It looked as if this situation would continue to deteriorate.  It was time for “Bad Attitude Intervention”.  I called his name and he turned his furrowed brow toward me.  “First things first,” I started.  “I believe the first step to making this a better day would to be to turn that hat around so that you look like somebody who knows the front from back and not look like a hood.”  He slowly complied with the request. “Ok, handsome young man let’s move to step number two.”  There was not a smile on his face but the frown had subsided somewhat.  “Now I want you to look at each of the friends that are seated around you and say something nice about each of them and they will say something nice about you.”  There was an exchange of pleasantries such as, “You’re a good friend, I like your hat, you’re funny, and you’re nice.”  As they looked at each other they begin to laugh and all was ended in good humor.  Believing all was well, I left them alone.  Little did I know, the snowball of happiness that I had put in motion was continuing downhill and was about to end in disaster.  The first sign was on hearing the now happy young man singing, “I’m a tap dancing monkey, I’m a tap dancing monkey.”  He had removed from his backpack an old fashion sock monkey and it was dancing across the back of the seat.  The musical cabaret continued with a performance of “Watch me whip, whip, watch me nae, nae.”  There was a slight intermission with a discussion of what exactly was a nae?  Then the snowball crashed into the peaceful valley below with sock monkey preforming “I came in like a wrecking ball”.  This is not something you want to see a sock monkey preform.  It will crush and destroy precious sock monkey memories that you have cherished from your childhood.  Note to self; a frown and furrowed brow are much preferred over an illicit sock monkey dance.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


"Well," the young man said in a tone loud enough to gain the attention of those around him, "in a couple of weeks I'll be having another birthday and you know what that means." The students around him and myself waited to hear what that meant. There was a pause then all was revealed, "I'll be having a birthday and then it won't be but a few more years and I'll be going through puberty and things will start happening." He definitely had my attention. He looked at the others and said, "Let me tell you about it." I cleared my throat loud enough to get his attention and he looked at me in the mirror. "There are some things that we do not share with younger children," I said. He frowned and shook his head yes. Then he looked at a second grade girl that was seated in front of him and still looking his way and said, "Trust me some changes coming your way." I cleared my throat again and shook my head no. So he changed tactics paused for a moment and said, "Mr. Brandon when did you grow that mustache?" I must have given him a disapproving look without realizing it because before I could answer he said, “Come on Mr. Brandon give me a break here, big man is going through some changes." Before I could reply he continued. “I’m sure my older brothers will be good role models they have already talked to me about,” At this point I took a deep breath and gritted my teeth. “They have already talked to me about how to kick a football.” I hope that is the only step of puberty that we have to worry about at this time.