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My Generation

As the Bus Turns

Now my kids have their own “the bus is in the ditch” story.

Ok, former farm kids: remember that day – that glorious day – from your youth, when somehow your school bus, as it wound its way around the rural backroads, got stuck in the ditch? Remember the rush, the excitement? Something different! And we’ll be late! For school! And all the kids will know about it when we do get there and we’ll be famous! They might even make an announcement on the intercom!

I remember it like it was yesterday. Linda the Bus Driver miscalculated a back up in the snow and that old bus just slid right down into the ditch. We sat there in anticipatory silence, grinning at each other as she revved the motor and the tires spun. The bus heaved, and then settled back into the ditch. We broke out in a universal chorus of cheers. We were stuck! Woohoo! We were gonna be late for school!

Well, now my kids have their own story to tell.

Tuesday afternoon, just a few minutes after the bus should have delivered my little ones safely to the farm, my cell phone rang. It was my friend, Cynthia, whose son rides our bus.

“Have you heard about the bus? Matt said it slid into a ditch and is tipped but not all the way on the side. But everyone’s ok.”

Um, no. Hadn’t heard that. At all.

I grabbed my coat and headed out the door, in the direction of her son’s description. Matt had caught a ride back to his house with a friend, but as far as I knew, my kids were still on the bus in the ditch. I headed down the road. I met a school bus, but not ours. Turns out, my kids were on that one, along with the rest of the kids who weren’t able to cell phone home and have a parent come pick them up.

Once I got home, the kids were beside themselves with excitement. Really, I thought they might act the whole thing out for me. With song.

The highlight of the experience appeared to have been the chance to exit from the back of the bus. Seems the door wouldn’t open, since the passenger side was resting against the ditch. I have to admit, I’m a little jealous; I don’t think I’ve ever used the emergency exit, at least not in an emergency.

Three days later, they’re still talking about it. I have a feeling this could go on for awhile.

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