Old Yellow Bus


Brenda Nail DeLauder

Columnist


If it’s a school day, Pepper and I go to the front porch to watch over kids at the bus stop. He recognizes each child he watches over and if a vehicle slows or a walker comes by, he is on alert. Pepper’s regular greeting for his favorite people is quite different from that of “intruder!” Once the kids are on the bus and it moves on down the street, he goes off duty as his work is done.

The other morning I watched a newer model bus arrive to pick up the kids. It appeared to have so many more bells and whistles, along with extra safety features, compared to the old type. However, I noticed the windows were still cracked open for the “air-conditioning,” indicating some things have not changed. This new model of bus made me think back to years ago. In my mind I can clearly see the old yellow bus as it lumbers down the winding dirt road making its way to the next stop. There wasn’t much heat in the winter and the only air conditioning came from an open window in those old buses. On dry hot days, the dust from the back roads came in through those windows, but dusty air beat no air at all.

My first bus driver was Mr. Odell Cleveland, a kinder man could not be found and was always held in high regard by all who rode the bus. He was a hard-working man, both as a farmer and bus driver. Sometimes he would have to leave his tractor and hop right on the bus in order to make his schedule, but he did so without fail. Mr. James Garland took the route next and I remember his deep chuckle. He would shake his head and a rumbling sound of laughter would soon follow. He too was well respected along the route. In that time there were no alarms, radios, or cell phones. If there was a problem, the bus driver handled it.

Both of these men were in charge of their bus which meant they took care of getting us to and from each day. If there was a situation, whether with the vehicle itself or with those who rode it, these gentlemen quickly resolved the issue. I remember traveling through fierce thunderstorms and sliding along slick muddy roads. There were a few fast approaching winter storms where time was limited to get everyone home safely before ice coated the roads. It took every ounce of their driving skills, all while remaining calm, letting us know they would get us home. I always felt safe with them at the wheel.

When we have Jesus with us, we feel safe and secure. We place our trust in Him to lead us along our path. Much like being in the old school bus, there are plenty of bumps along the roads we travel, with places where we become stuck in the mud, run off the road, breakdown, or experience near misses of a crash. Just like the parents who put their children on a school bus and trust they will arrive safely, we must place our trust in the Holy Spirit to stay with us. Once we accept His Mighty Presence, acknowledging we are not alone and trust the outcome is in His control, the way becomes more peaceful. Our challenges will continue but we have the peace to think clearly and find the solutions we need to handle whatever is before us.

I pray for the drivers of our buses and hope they invite Jesus along as they travel. Christ is definitely a passenger you want on board!

Brenda Nail DeLauder is a native of Henry County. Her heart remains in her hometown.