Graduation Memories

When kids graduate from the school where I work, I always feel sad, especially those who also ride my school bus. Small country schools engender close relationships. This June, two girls, Molly, and Paisley will be leaving. They will be sorely missed.

Of course, not all bus rides make memories, but they’re often interesting. This past week alone, I was treated to a few. Monday, I saw a Baltimore oriole as I stopped in Molly’s farmyard. I brought the flaming orange bird to her and her sister’s attention.

“Yeah, whatever,” Molly said offhandedly, stomping up the bus steps without sparing the bird a glance. “We have about six of them.” Clearly, this was old and rather dull news.

The next sighting was a bunch of baby bush bunnies that hop crazily about this family’s lawn each morn. Sitting still as statues until the last moment, they then leap into action, zigzagging wildly in front of the bus. So cute.

“Who cares,” said Molly dismissively as I made this observation. “There’s too many of ‘em.” Her remarks were a bit deflating, but I still smiled at two more rabbits crouching in the bush.

That afternoon, when I braked for the fifth pair of geese that waddled down the road in front of us, Molly barked from the back of the bus.

“You should just hit them if they’re too stupid to move!” She glowered at the foolish fowl.

That’s Molly. She sounds hard-hearted, but she isn’t at all. She just enjoys the shock her words create. If I actually took a run at a few innocent geese (which I wouldn’t), she’d be the first to scream at me to stop. She does speak her mind, though.

When I wore a long coat of a rather wild pattern, Molly observed dryly it looked like grandma’s couch was driving the bus. When I wore green, she asked where I’d put my pot of gold, and a red outfit was neatly described as resembling a tomato. These remarks are delivered with a broad grin and not a speck of malice. She likes to get a rise out of me.

For example, one day, I noticed she had flopped onto the bus floor as we rattled down a country road.

“Get up, Molly,” I called.

“No,” came the muffled response.

“Do I have to come back there?” I mock threatened.

“It won’t help.” I saw two mischievous eyes peer at me over the seat. “You’re nothin’ but a spindly ole gramma.”

“What?” I hollered in disbelief, pulling up to a house. “Did you actually say that to me?” I stopped, applied the brake, and rose to march down the aisle. Shrieks of merriment erupted as delighted children bounced in their seats, waiting for the hammer to fall.

“I knew she was gonna do that,” said a happy voice as I passed. I loomed over Molly, and she scrambled up laughing.

Molly’s also sweet. You should know during COVID restrictions when I made weekly homework drops, I’d see a beautifully coloured message taped to this family’s door.

The notes were funny and kind, made by both girls who would wave from their window.

Then, when Molly began raising ducks, she proudly asked me to peruse her prized fowl, and I enjoyed a lovely farmyard tour. Times like those mean so much. I appreciate the bonds formed over the nine years that children spend with me, and I care about each one of them.

But I’m sure gonna miss Molly.

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