Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Bus Stops Here

We're lucky. The bus stop is directly across the street from our house.

Partly because of this fact, our kids have never been late for the bus. (Yet.) I can look out the window and see when the other kids are lining up at the bus stop and know that it's time to get my kids out the door.

It's fun to watch all of the kids from the neighborhood gathered together and playing as they wait for the bus. They'll chase each other and play catch and stomp all over my neighbor's lawn.
Another one rides the bus.

When I was a kid I had to walk all the way across town to get to the bus stop. Of course, Arimo was such a small town that "all the way across town" was basically about four or five blocks.

Actually, for first and second grades I didn't have to ride the bus at all. For those two years I just walked to the school itself. But, after I finished second grade they decided that Arimo was too small to have an elementary school on its own, so they started to bus us to the nearby town of McCammon. (McCammon was about twice as big as Arimo, with about twice as many stop signs, but the same number of traffic lights.) (Zero is a number.)

So, every morning I would start out for my long trek to the bus stop. On the way I'd have to walk past the house with the mean dog. It was usually on a leash, but not always. It was a big relief when I saw that Blue wasn't roaming free. (Yes, I knew the dog's name. In Arimo you knew the name of every person, all of the dogs, most of the horses, some of the cats, and even a few of the pet rocks.)

Once I made it past Blue it was free and clear to the bus stop. A lot happened at that bus stop. There were games of tag and hide and go seek. Every once in a while we would even get in a game of red rover. There were snowball fights. And, quite often, there were real fights. The real fights were usually about what place in the line you were to get on the bus.

Looking back, I don't know why it was always such a big deal. There was always plenty of room on the bus, and you never had to sit with someone you didn't want to sit with. As adults we get all concerned with taxes and mortgages and politics, but as kids there was nothing more important than what order you were in when you got on the bus.

The earlier you got on the bus, the better the chances were that you could sit where you wanted. The cool kids sat at the back of the bus. The not-quite-as-cool kids sat at the front of the bus. And all of the rest of us sat in the middle.

I look out across the street these days and it doesn't look like what order they get on the bus is quite as big of a deal to the kids today as it was back then. Oh, they'll run to get to the bus stop first, and they'll put their backpacks in their place at the line so they can go off and play, but I have yet to see any fistfights or pushing and shoving when it comes time to actually get on the bus.

So yes, I'm glad the bus stop is right across the street. And I'm glad all of the kids at the bus stop seem to get along with each other. I'm glad my kids have made friends with their bus stop mates. But mostly I'm glad that I don't have to take the kids to school myself. I prefer being in my pajamas at 8:30 in the morning.

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