The things we learn on a school bus ride are endless

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

The little princess girl was fretting and anxious because momma is out of town for a few days. As is her nature, she insisted on hugging momma, telling her she would miss her, and generally acting as if she were hugging a soldier right before he departed for a combat mission. The tyrannosaurus rex hurricane boy simply said bye and returned to slaying dragons, mutilating barbie dolls, and blowing up ant beds. The little girl got in the car and said it will be sad while mamma is gone. The little boy replied, “yeah, but there is some good news, at least she won’t be able to tell me stuff not to do while she is gone.” Ah, the little boy always finds a silver lining in a dark cloud and remains the eternal optimist.

I recently read where someone was complaining to a local newspaper about the performance of the Lee County school buses because they took too long, didn’t have air conditioning, etc. I hear these type complaints often. Folks should be a little bit more like the little boy, and recognize a silver lining.

I reflect back on my days of riding the school bus. My first year I rode with my father because he drove the school bus and this was particularly unpleasant. Not because I was with my father, mind you, but it meant I was the first on the bus and last to leave. The later years the bus was driven by Mr. Madison Faust, who shall I say had a relaxed attitude towards school bus decorum.

Pretty much anything under the sun could occur on the school bus, save perhaps the drawing of weapons and gun fire, and Mr. Madison would let it roll. I am proud to say I learned almost every four letter, inappropriate word while riding the bus. Many of these words still serve me well today after I strike my thumb with a hammer, get behind someone who has their blinker on for two miles, or is talking on the cell phone while I am trying to order my fast food. I don’t know where I would be today without this advanced vocabulary and I owe a great deal of this to the bus.

We rode the bus with 1st through 12th grade. The high school students were quite accommodating in providing filthy language, including explanations for what each word meant. By 5th grade, if needed, I could have embarrassed a Marine Corps drill sergeant.

But it is not just vocabulary I learned on the bus. I also learned to adapt to hostile environments. The senior boys often grabbed me, turned their senior rings backwards on there finger, and then proceeded to play drums on my head. This may explain my sometimes shaky memory or a current lack of hair.

I also accepted $.50 one time simply to pick a fight with Robbie Perry, only to discover that perhaps there were easier ways to make 50 cents. Of course, senior boys took great delight in this foolishness.

I also learned that everyone does not necessarily, shall I say, share the same standards of hygiene. We had one particular family, which thankfully was picked up near the end of the bus route, that upon entry would require the immediate rolling down of windows, even in sub degree temperature. There is nothing like the smell of strong B.O. to get ones educational juices running before arriving at school.

Too hot, too slow, no way, after all we’re talking about education and it is a school bus.

Contact columnist T. Gamble at t@colliergamble.com.