Three cheers for the bus driver

I rode the Huskie bus on Friday and it was one of the best rides of my life.

After spending six unsuccessful hours at the paper trying to write a column for today, I took my friend Jen’s advice and left for home. She was convinced that something would happen this weekend that I would want to write about. Sure enough, Jen was right. She always is.

It was on to the Huskie bus. As we boarded the big red machine, we ran into our friend Jami. As soon as we sat down Jami pulled out her harmonica.

“Play us a tune, play us a tune,” Jen and I exclaimed.

Before we knew it, Jami was playing “The Flintstones.” Jen and I, being the good sports we are, sang along. The two children on the bus joined in too.

When Jami stopped playing, the little boy sang solo, and the bus driver encouraged repeating the sing-along. So we started up again.

Jen and I then proposed a toast to the bus driver. “Three cheers for the the bus driver! Hip Hip Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray!”

Unfortunately, we came to our stop and the other 25 people on the bus were no longer honored with our entertainment. While exiting I decided that I would go out and buy a harmonica this weekend. I wanted to get the orange wax ones that after you play a while, you chew on it and spit it out, except I don’t think they make them anymore.

I left the Huskie Bus very happily and recalled the few times that I took the bus here. It seemed I was never able to have a good bus ride.

Everyone always seems so unhappy on the bus. Trying to get a hello or a smile out of some people is like taking my dog for a walk. It never happens, Maddie’s walking pace is the speed of light.

When I rode the bus a few times in my junior year, I was always dropped off in an abyss of mud. I shuddered to think what was at the bottom. I thought I might fall into China or something.

So I opted to walk. You might remember seeing me. A stubborn walking frozen icicle, that was me.

However, I remember when the bus was fun. Especially in grammar school. Good old St. Thomas More.

First we would all fight for a window seat. We were never supposed to put our hands or heads out of them. There were always safety lines that said DO NOT PULL WINDOW BELOW THIS LINE.

We did it anyway, and then the teachers would yell and warn us that we might lose a limb or get decapitated. We didn’t know what a limb was, nor did we have a clue what that other five syllable word meant.

After bouncing on the big green springy benches, we started to sing. We sang lots and lots of songs. One of my favorites was “Catalina Matalina.” Not a lot of people know the song, it goes something like this —

Refrain: “Catalina Matalina roomside wallside, Hoga Loga Poga her name.

“She had twenty hairs on the top of her head, ten were alive and the others were dead. Refrain.

One day a truck hit poor Catalina, the truck driver had to get a new machina … ” and so on.

Some others were “B-I-N-G-O,” “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall,” “The People on the Bus Go Up and Down” and of course, “When the Saints Come Marching In.”

The best was when we showed our gratitude to the bus driver. Instead of three cheers, we sang a half hour’s worth. What a great time, we left singing and the bus driver popped a bottle of Excedrin.

So this week, I propose a toast to all those Huskie bus drivers who have to deal with unhappy students, constant traffic and endless construction.

Thanks for the ride, you made my day and my column.