We’re well into the new school year. I’ve traded in the lion bus for a frog bus. The frog doesn’t roar like the lion but it outperforms it by leaps and bounds. Okay, enough of the bad puns.
I miss the kids from last year’s route but I’m getting to know a whole new batch. One worried little girl said, “I’ve lost something. I don’t know what it is and I don’t know where I lost it but I’ve always had it.”
I never did find what she didn’t know she lost.
I have a new star of the bus already. She’s four years old and bursting with cuteness. One day I asked her how she was. She said, “Good. I didn’t pee in my pants.” Yesterday she was very excited that her grandparents came to visit and see her off to school. She said, “I have a grandma and I have a grandpa. And, and, and…”
I cut in and said, “And they’re going to meet you at the bus stop after school!”
She said with a big smile, “Yes, they’re coming to the bus!”
Sure enough, Grandma and Grandpa were waiting at the bus stop. The little one was frustrated because she couldn’t unbuckle the seatbelt fast enough to spring from the seat into their arms. They seemed like very nice folks who were as happy to see her as she was them. The next morning my little friend was waiting at the stop with her grandparents. As she climbed up the giant steps she said, “Hi Uncle Jimmy Joe!” I thought it was a one time fluke, calling me uncle, but she sat down and said, “Uncle Jimmy Joe, can you help me with my seatbelt?” I didn’t bother to correct her. Then she said, “Uncle Jimmy Joe, did you know me when I was a little girl?”
I said, “How old were you when you were a little girl?”
She replied, “She was two.”
I asked, “Who was two?”
She looked at me like I forgot to plug in my brain, “My little sister!”
Later that day as the kids were piling in to go home, the girl and her friend were calling me Uncle Joe. I tried to teach them my other name, Mr. Bus Driver Man Sir.
After that I was addressed as Mr. Sir Bus Driver, Mr. Uncle Bus Driver Sir and, well, you get the picture.
I overheard a middle school boy say to his friend, “Why would you dream that Curious George could kill you? Why?!?!”
The high school bus is overcrowded. One afternoon a young man declined an invitation to go to his friend’s house. He said, “I can’t. I got house arrest.”
I thought he was joking until I noticed the bulky black device wrapped around his ankle. Should I be scared, I thought. No, he knows he has to be on his best behavior.
I think it’ll be a good year.
Mr. Uncle Sir Bus Man Driver