Growing up on Cherry Fork Road provided me with many memorable experiences. One memory that stands out today is when the school system decided to change the bus routes. This wasn't necessarily a good thing. I had ridden the same bus, Number 7, and had the same driver, Don Vogler, for at least eight years. I knew what I could get away with and also knew when to shut up and get back in my seat.
Bus Number 7 and I had been through several harrowing bus rides together. It was on that bus that Sister and I had clung together while Don rushed us home to see if Brother had burnt the house down. You can check out that story here.
It was also the bus that sent me flying in the air and off to the hospital which was a really scary and cool thing when you're in the sixth grade. (I haven't shared that remembrance yet.) I liked riding that bus; I knew everybody and everybody knew where to sit.
The bus that I was now assigned to was Number 23, driven by John Smiley, or Smiley as we called him. He was an older gentleman, kind of gruff and silent. He didn't seem to be too excited about getting a new route either.
The first day on my new bus I was nervous. I was in ninth grade, a lowly freshman and I now got on the bus midway through the route instead of being one of the first kids on like I was on Bus Number 7. That meant that most of the empty seats were taken and I had to sit with the kid that nobody wanted to sit with.
Not to be mean or anything but every bus had a kid like that: the nose-picker, the one that smelled like poop, the bed-wetter that hadn't bathed, the kid that always seemed to have shaved areas on their head because of frequent bouts of head lice, the fat kid, or worst of all, the empty seat where someone had just thrown up and now reeked of leftover puke and sawdust.
I knew it was going to be a long year if I had to ride in the puke seat every day...