I drive a school bus, and I love my job

I drive a school bus, and I love my job

By Michael Morgan

My first pick up is at 6:53 a.m. with a busload of sleepy(ˈslēpē) high-school students who will, if prompted(präm(p)t), return a pallid(ˈpaləd) “good morning” with a quick mumble(ˈməmbəl) but nothing more. They’re headed for the ferry(ˈferē) to attend classes on the mainland. High-school kids capture my heart because they look and want to be treated as adults and are long past, if not embarrassed(əmˈberəst) by, any show of affection such as an early morning send-off from family committees(kəˈmidē) of mothers, fathers or baby brothers and sisters waving and wishing them well as they depart for their day.

There is one cheerful(ˈCHirfəl) fellow in Grade 9 who receives a big send-off every morning and it’s heartwarming how his family unabashedly(ənəˈbaSHədlē) waves their encouragement as he boards the bus. The rest of the teenagers onboard take note of this daily event. These teens have their adult faces on, even though they are still very much kids inside. And those faces are wistful(ˈwis(t)fəl) at times like these.

One fellow who graduates elementary(ˌeləˈment(ə)rē) school in June is champing at the bit to get into high school. He spends every day telling the little kids on the bus stories of what to expect when they grow up like him. He is 12 and a man of the world now who knows all the teachers and their various habits and behaviours, likes and dislikes. He is an oracle who holds the young ones spellbound on the morning magic carpet(ˈkärpət) ride(rīd) to Bowen(ˈbōən) Island Community School.

I will keep driving through fierce(firs) weather on these rocky rural(ˈro͝orəl) paths, with no streetlights or sidewalks, grateful that I have a window into the little lives that put their trust in me to take them home.