School’s Out for the Summer (and I finally have time to update my blog)

Every morning I pick up the kids for the elementary school and we get there a few minutes before the school opens. When I stop the bus I say, “Nap time, go to sleep!”

They protest.

“We already slept!”

“I’m not tired.”

“It’s not nap time, it’s time to go to school.”

Two minutes later when they open the doors I say, “Nap time is over, have a spectabulous day!”

One day I parked the bus and said, “Nap time!”

A seven year old boy named Tyler stood at the line at the front of the aisle and laughed.

I said, “Are you asleep?”

He said, “Yes.”

I said, “Oh, yeah? What are you dreaming about?”

Without missing a beat Tyler said, “Pink fuzzy unicorns farting out rainbows.”

How can I not love this job? What imagery!

My little school bus guitar got a new paint job.

At the end of every school year the kids sign my guitar. The tradition started many years ago around the turn of the century with two first graders named Brianna and Lupe.

Back then I had an old classical guitar that my neighbor found in the trash and gave to me in 1986. It needed a set of tuners and strings. For about $12 I had a decent sounding guitar. It had a few scratches and battle scars so I didn’t mind bringing it to work. In those days the guitar would fit between my seat and the console to my left.

Lupe and Brianna sat in the first seat behind me. One day I heard the muffled sound of someone plucking guitar strings, “plink, plink, plink.”

I said, “Brianna, Lupe, what are you girls doing? Get back in your seat. They giggled like a pair of six year old girls.

Then they were silent for a few minutes so I knew they were up to something. I said, “What are you doing now?!”

Lupe said, “Brianna wrote her name on your guitar!”

I said, “What?! Brianna, did you write your name on my guitar?”

I looked in the mirror and saw her nodding and grinning.

I said, “That’s it! You are in Big Trouble!”

The girls laughed and giggled some more.

I finished the route and couldn’t wait to see what the girls had done to my guitar.

After I had dropped everybody off and walked back to check for sleepers, I picked up my guitar to find a completely unmarked finish. The girls lied, but they gave me a great idea. At the end of that school year (I don’t remember exactly when but it was around the turn of the century) Brianna and Lupe were the first to sign my guitar.

On one of the last days of this school year I pulled my bus up to my parking spot a few feet from the fence that surrounds the school yard. At this point in the year the children were allowed to roam the yard like free range kids. A few of them had gathered around a metal utility cover on the ground close to where I was parked. They were hitting the cover with sticks they had found on the ground. I played a few chords. They banged on the cover to my beat. I played more chords and like a call and response blues, they repeated my rhythm. Then more kids joined in. By now we were all playing together in a tribal-like jam.

After a while a teacher blew a whistle and the kids got up to go. Not a word was spoken the entire time until the last child to get up turned around and said, “Thank You!”

I do love my job

Happy Summer