And so, on the day after one of the saddest days of his life, the driver parked the big yellow school bus, shut it down, did his proper post-trip routine, walked up his steps, opened his front door, and stepped into a puddle of loneliness.
The faithful family dog had died the day before.
No warning. She had a seizure or a stroke or a heart attack. No matter. She quivered, quaked, shuddered once or twice, and died. All in about fifteen minutes.
No more would he be able to come home and tell the good golden retriever about the day he managed to get his bus stuck, not once-- but twice -- on the same day. It was all his fault, of course. Mishaps like this always are as it could have been avoided. He had taken his eyes off the road for just a second one morning, and plowed into a snow bank. Luckily a road grader was close by and it pulled the bus from its predicament in no time flat.
Then, that same afternoon, he was turning the bus around in a farm yard and didn't give himself enough room, and so he drove into another snow bank. About 45 minutes later a high school kid arrived with his trusty John Deere tractor and pulled the bus from the snow. By that time the remaining riders had managed to find rides home, so the only damage done was to the driver's pride.
He told Molly, his golden girl, all about it. She didn't lecture him, just rubbed up against him and wanted her supper. Gladly he served it to her.
No more would he come home after a bus run and find her eager to be taken for a walk. No more would she ring her bell to be let outside. No more would she look up at him with those achingly beautiful brown eyes and signal her need for a doggie treat.
No more. Molly was gone. Coming home from a bus run would never be the same.
Dedicated to Molly, the best family golden retriever companion any one could ever have. She was with us from August of 2001 until March of 2013. She is not here but she will always be near.