Friday, January 25, 2008

I Remember....

Just thinking about my former post and how Richie and I just pulled our big orange busses right up in front of Dunn Brothers Coffee on main street in Chaska, left them running and hopped on in for a quick cup....sorta like something a driver could do in good old Pelican Rapids, not in a western metropolitan suburb. It also made me think back to the days when my Dad first bought the busses in Pelican and got me started as a driver, way back in 1979. I remember how he would stand out on Hwy 59 with a red flag and stop the highway traffic, flagging his busses through so we had the right-of-way to get out of town quickly. People would stop their cars, wave and back then it sorta felt like an honor to be driving their kids home after school. It was appreciated. I especially remember on snowy, storm days how the traffic would gather round completely stopped as he stood out there in his work grays and green sweatshirt and flagged us through... a driver could see the worry on their faces, and feel the townspeople supporting us, wishing us safety as they let us through knowing we had tough roads ahead of us. These days, it's certainly nothing like that for school bus drivers. Down here in Chaska, parents delivering their kids to school always feel they have the right-of-way... even when every school has a separate bus delivery area with huge signs warning other motorists they are prohibited.....they cut in front of you, they honk their horns angrily at you, they often just ignore your red flashing lights and stop-arms. To them, you are nothing but a nuisance on the road, and believe me if you're driving down two-lane Hwy 212 and have to pick-up kids several times, they'll risk their life to pass you so they can get to work. I also realized how all of my Dad's kids are still bus drivers...Richie and I drive, Sheri and Mike drive, Jim drives and even though Johanna doesn't saddle up, she's involved in the family school bus business. This must make my Dad proud --- funny though what a difference a generation makes... not one of his 8 grandchildren have ever gotten licensed and sat behind the wheel. Maybe the newest generation will change that...there's 9 great-grandchildren with two more on the way...and each one has always seemed to enjoy playing with a school bus.

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