Here is my final instalment of my school bus driver story.
As always, the pictures have nothing to do with the story.
I do hope the roses, which I bought after Valentine's Day, just to take pictures of something other than snow, will brighten your day.
How the years have flown! So much has changed, yet so much is still the same. Over forty years ago, who would have thought that I would drive the bus for so long? Certainly not me. One of the constant things about bus driving is the children. Yes, the faces change but they are all so much alike. There are the shy ones who barely give a smile as they enter the bus and cry bitter tears when things go wrong. On the opposite side are the live wires, the ones that are either constantly talking or stirring up trouble.. In between these two extremes are the children who seem happy, have many friends and seldom, if ever cause a problem. Oh for a bus full of these children.
The part of bus driving that changes more often is the drivers. Yes, many stay for a long time , but many also do not. Over the last forty plus years I have seen many drivers come and go. Some left because of situations at home, others just didn’t enjoy it as much as they thought they would. Some worked till they were of retirement age and are still around to give a word of encouragement from time to time. The sad part is that several of our drivers have left because their life was cut short.
Some stayed till retirement but passed away shortly after that. Others left this earth while still employed with the school division.My mind goes to a gentleman by the name of Elgin Helps. That was his real name and it was so perfect as he was always quick to lend a helping hand whenever he could. When his life was cut short, it left a void in his family but also in the school division. Another one who didn’t get to retire was Merv Spencer. Merv and his wife Jean both drove for this division at one time. Merv’s dry humour is still missed and his name still comes up in conversation. I cannot forget to mention Art Dudgeon. Art did retire but left this world shortly after that. Art was one of those people who had a way of endearing himself to others. Good old Art, how could we ever forget his jokes and participation at our meetings.
I will choose to think of these and many others who I have met through this job, as my friends and cherish the memories I have of them.
These are some of the human changes that have taken place, but there are many others as well. Driver training has become more intense and that is good,. Rules and regulations have changes, some enforced by the government, some by the school division.Yet, with all these changes one thing always remains the same. Being a school bus driver is a huge responsibility. The lives of the children is in our hands. Alertness is of great importance.
Years ago, I found a prayer and for the longest time I had it printed out and on the dashboard of my bus so I would read it every day. It goes like this:
Oh ever present Lord, I pray be with me at the wheel today.
Fill every corner of my mind, so roaming thoughts no lodging find.
Take control of my two eyes, that they may be alert and wise.
Take my feet and take my hands, that they react to quick demands.
Then when I come to journeys end, my prayer to Heaven will ascend
In utter thankfulness to Thee, who kept the wheel all day with me.