The next stop was a minute or so along a fairly well-travelled side road, a road that was, at least in winter, in much better shape than Highway 340. The driver of the big yellow school bus that was rocking and rolling down the road figured this was due to the grace of the seasonal weather gods. Yes, it was winter, and that meant snow and ice, and that meant a travel surface that was, if nothing else, smoother and more level than any otherwise gravely road had a right to be. Truck and car tires had packed down the roadway and even after snows had fallen the driver preferred these back roads to most of the region’s regular highways.
"I could use a good cup of coffee right about now," he said, to no one in particular.
Up ahead, just past a parking spot for three combines, some grain bins and a swather, he would turn left, to a stop where a group of four, two brothers and two sisters, would scramble into the bus, find their seats, and either fall instantly back to sleep or amicably chatter and banter back and forth. The driver liked these kids. In fact, he liked all the passengers on his route. So far, all had proven to be helpful, respectful and not at all as unruly as some of the students on some of the city routes he had driven in the past. Perhaps this was due to the fact that, out here in the country, the school populations were smaller, the youngsters had mostly grown up together, and most of their parents were at least on speaking terms with one another. Or maybe it was just because the winter cold kept them quieter during these long rides. No matter. He was enjoying his job.
Only one thing: some of the kids had yet to take to heart the driver’s basic school bus rule, which was : No Drinking and No Eating on the bus. Why? Why couldn’t they enjoy a piece of toast on the way to class or a snack after school? Three reasons. Choking hazards, messes, and food allergies.
Just think. Liquids on the bus meant spills on the bus, spills the driver did not want to clean up. Snacks and treats on the bus meant litter on the bus, litter the driver did not want to deal with. As for chokings and allergic reactions? The less said about those subjects the better. Too scary to contemplate.
Sigh. So much for that cup of coffee he wanted. But, he dare not break his own rules.
(to be continued)