Posted by: Marie | June 4, 2011

(557) Stammers and stutters

Post #557

Stories from the Bus Barn

Well, my blog’s content has been pretty heavy this week . . . how about some school bus stories to lighten the mood?!?!?

(For those of you who don’t know, I drove a school bus during the 2½ years it took to get my piano lesson business up and running. As you can imagine, I have a hundred funny stories stored up from working there . . . anything to do with kids provides a steady supply of humorous tales, ya’ know . . . )


Along about the third day of my employment at the bus barn, we had a staff meeting. Our boss introduced us newbies . . . he asked each of us to tell a little about ourselves. When it came around to my turn, I mentioned that I had a cruiser-style motorcycle and that I rode quite a bit with a local motorcycle club.

Now . . . our boss is a big dude (as in tall and especially wide) . . . and he is a hairy dude . . . with a full beard . . . and a booming voice . . . and plenty of tattoos on both arms, running from shoulders to his wrists. He wears lots of black . . . and he always wears a black leather jacket. At first glance, he could qualify as one of Hell’s Angels . . . until you get to know him . . . then you find out that he is a big, sappy teddy bear.

Photo by Martin Chen

Oh . . by the way, he really is a biker dude.

When I mentioned my motorcycle, several people immediately piped up and asked what make and model . . . I proudly said, “Honda Magna”.

It got very quiet in the room . . . one of the guys said, “Well, I guess you can park it in the rear parking lot . . . ”

That’s when I learned that about eight or nine of the employees rode motorcycles, including one other female. It’s also when I learned that all of them – every single one of them – rode Harleys.

Whoops! I guess rice-burners don’t get to park in the front “motorcycles only” area . . .

It was a good two months after that before I figured out they were joking . . .


During the first week of training, I was walking the four blocks from the bus barn to my house to get some lunch during our midday break. This car pulled up next to me. I didn’t know the guy inside . . . and he asked me for directions to one of our local elementary schools.

I was supposed to be studying the maps of the town to learn the locations of the schools. Our town is not very big (about 1.5 miles by 1.5 miles), so it should not have been a big deal to learn their locations. All the other drivers-in-training already knew the locations because they had lived in the area for years. But, I had only lived in the town for about seven months – and I hadn’t had a reason to learn my way around the less-traveled roads until I got hired at the bus barn.

Anyway . . . I was supposed to be studying the maps . . . I hadn’t been . . . too much other stuff to do . . .

So, I figured my boss, or one of the trainers, had sent this guy to catch me off guard with a question for which I should have known the answer. The training crew was an ornery enough bunch that it wouldn’t be out of character for them to do something like that . . .

I gave the guy a hard time . . . I asked him, “Did [my boss] send you to cause me some grief?” The guy looked at me in quite a funny way . . . I looked back at him, trying to figure out if I was being punked or if this poor guy really needed my help . . .

Well, to make a long story short . . . he was just a joe-blow citizen trying to figure out how to get to one of the schools. Unfortunately, it was one of the schools I had not yet learned how to find. Poor guy . . . we were both stammering and stuttering before the ordeal was over!


During the weeks before I got my license – and before I got my “own” route, I would ride along on other people’s routes as an aide. I rode quite a bit with this one gentleman . . . a very reserved, minds-his-own-business, live-and-let-live, long-in-the-tooth guy . . .

This gentleman – Willard is his name – has been around agriculture all his life. One afternoon, as we were dropping off our charges in their various neighborhoods, Willard made some comment about how quickly the steers in an adjacent pasture were growing.

One little boy – if I remember correctly, he was six years old – piped up and asked, “What is a steer?”

For those of you who have not been raised around cattle, steers are cattle that have been castrated . . .

Hmmm . . . how does one go about answering such a question without getting fired for giving out too much information . . . ??

Again, I found myself stammering and stuttering, searching for the right words . . . and Willard calmly provided the best answer I could have ever imagined:

“Steers are the cattle you eat.”


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