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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Mar 22, 2013

One thing leads to another. After remembering what it was like waiting for school to be called off due to a snow storm, I found myself recalling riding the school bus for many years.

I started riding the school bus at age 5 and rode it for 11 years until I could drive, which made riding the bus less frequent.

Now that I think about it, that was quite a change from being one of those little kids who would walk apprehensively down the bus aisle looking for a seat usually towards the front to one of the big kids who could sit almost anywhere and seemed to always be in the rear of the bus.

In those 11 years, I heard arguments, listened to the bus driver discipline trouble makers and saw sick kids throw up their breakfasts.

Before I started kindergarten, I had no idea of a school bus.

I remember seeing one drive by when I played outside, but all it was to me was an odd yellow truck.

One morning my dad and I were visiting our neighbor, Seymour, who lived across the road and I watched his son, Roger, run for all he was worth to get to the end of the driveway where that odd yellow thing was waiting.

I was puzzled how anything could be that important to make someone run like that.

Looking back, I realize that catching the bus every morning was probably our introduction to the notion that whatever else we had to do, we had to be ready by a certain time because we could not miss the bus.

I have been trying to meet deadlines ever since.

We were one of the first ones on in the morning, which was another disadvantage. It also meant that we were one of the first ones off and who would complain about that?

Most of the time, my sisters and I were waiting at the end of the driveway, a walk I considered too long, for the bus to arrive.

For a few years the bus had to go past our driveway to pick up our neighbor where it would turn around and come back which gave us a second chance to catch the bus.

But if the bus was running slightly early and we heard his horn and saw the bus waiting for us, there was a scramble for books, coats and anything else we needed as we ran for all we were worth down that too long of a driveway.

It was waiting for the bus in bad weather that made the wait uncomfortable, especially if it was late.

If it was raining, we might get a ride in the car to the end of the driveway where we would wait in total comfort. I would have preferred a car ride every day, but our parents told us to get a move on and start walking.

It was those winter days when the temperature was around or below zero that waiting for the bus seemed like punishment as I would feel my toes and fingertips get numb and then tingle once I got to school and they would get warm again.

But it was also a place where my two classmates and I would sit together at the beginning and end of the day to visit about whatever we thought was important.

And it was a place where my favorite bus riding memory happened for many years when our dog, Curly, would wait for us every day, sitting at the top of the small hill near our house waiting for us to come home. That was the best part of the ride.

Apparently, Curly thought just like me, that the driveway was too long to walk.

Good dog.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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