Thursday, June 30, 2022

The flatulent school bus is gone

Mornings are much quieter now. We live on one of the main loop roads through the neighbourhood. That means a certain amount of traffic noise as people try to get to work, or their kids to school. For years when I was between contracts, or taking time off, I've been amused by one family living behind us in the cul-de-sac. The bus would pull up, I could see the driver peering down the street, then sigh, and put their head down on the steering wheel. Sometimes a van would pull up and two kids would pile out and run for the bus, trying not to get run over. Sometimes the van just missed the bus, and it would zoom off in hot pursuit. 

The bus would lumber off, with a particularly distinctive flatulent roar. I could hear it in the bedroom, and I'd know it was 7:35 or so. Time to get up and get on with it. I can just imagine the mom trying to herd the two kids out the door. I'm pretty sure it was the older one that was difficult. Once that one was off to post secondary activities, the morning show was less erratic. 

But school is out now. No morning show. No busses on the street other than the regular public transit. Driving to the pool is much less fraught, given that it's right beside a high school, and I often swim near lunch time. One of the women I sometimes swim with is a teacher, and she's just as happy to have the kids gone for the summer, as they probably are. I was always delighted to be out of school. September was always a rude shock, that I was expected to go back. Summer was never long enough.

Writing the blog I've sometimes touched on last times. Sometimes we know, or we're pretty sure. Given how long the kid/bus show has been going on, I suspect last week was the last time. 

Often we don't know when something happens for the last time. A couple blogs ago I mentioned spending childhood summers on grandparents farms in Fraser Valley. My father's family farm was fronted by 4 homes. First was my Aunt Bessie (grandfather's sister), then Uncle Arthur (grandfather's brother), then Uncle Barrie (father's brother), then my father's parents. Bessie died in 1969, but I remember she was an amazing baker, and always asked what shape I wanted my birthday cake. One year she delivered one that was recognizably a DC-3. My uncle Leonard (father's brother) and Aunt Doris tore that house down late 60's or so, and built a new one for their family. (I don't know who moved into Arthur's house. Barrie's house was the original family home, owned by my grandparents. Then they built a new house, and lived there till the early 80's or so. Then my aunt Marilyn (father's sister) lived there, and then her son Renee and his wife Jean lived there. They've since sold it outside the family.)

Once as an adult I happened to be passing through and dropped in on my aunt Doris. I'm thinking this would be late 80's, or early 90's. Uncle Leonard was out, as were all my cousins. We had a lovely chat, then like any other busy young adult, I was on my way. I did not know that would be the last time I would talk with her. I saw her briefly at grandmother's funeral, but we didn't get to talk, I'd been captured by younger cousins who wanted to see the gray sheep of the family. She recently passed away, and I'll be attending a celebration of life in a few weeks. It will be nice to catch up with cousins I haven't seen in a long time.

Given that I live here, and they live in a multitude of theres, that event is quite likely to be the last time I see some of them. I just won't know which. I plan to make the most of the trip.

This wasn't the last time I had a beard, but pretty close. I think this is during a visit to the Toronto zoo. I didn't have a beard for job reasons between mid 1983, and Sept 1990, so I'm guessing before that earlier date. I mean, look how skinny I am, must have been before Linda started feeding me.

Of the Day


Film (35mm Ektar 100)

courtesy of Green Fools 
Clowns playing a game, starring Lauren, Kestrel, Anne-Marie, Chris, and Lance.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing these memories and observations, Keith. I found them very moving. We're headed to Ottawa in a few weeks to attend my sister-in-law's wedding, and were just discussing the importance of spending time with Luke's uncle while we're there. He's getting up there in years and not doing so well so we both expect it will be our last visit with him - which feels unspeakably sad. Given the way covid is impacting our elders, I suspect there will be many more such last times in the months ahead. Hope your visit with your extended family goes well. Thanks again for this.


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