When you grow up alongside a gravel road, there are so many miles between where you are and where you’re going.
Many of those miles in my childhood were spent sitting next to my best friend on a dusty seat in yellow school bus #12.
This week’s column is about a man who spent the majority of his life behind the wheel of that bus, picking up country kids on time and at 7 am from farmyards and small houses along those gravel roads and bringing them safely to school, in the heat of late summer, through plenty of blizzards and then splashing along the melt and mud of spring when school was out.
The kids on George’s bus didn’t mis-behave much. And if we did, he didn’t yell.
He just tapped on the breaks so that those of us who were standing up got a little warning jolt.
That’s all we needed. A little warning jolt.
I guess that’s what George’s recent death was to me. George, a legendary character on this changing landscape, a man who drove bus for my dad and both of my sisters, my cousins and neighbors, the kind of man they don’t make anymore, left us here to navigate these roads and get to school on time without him.
George. What a guy, that George.
Coming Home: Bus driver taught lessons that stick with us as adults
by Jessie Veeder