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Essays by Karen Anderson: School Bus Driver

Essays by Karen Anderson.png
Illustration by Kacie Brown

When my daughter was in elementary school, we lived on a hill in the woods. The school bus picked her up at the bottom of the hill and in the afternoon I would watch for her to come home.

In the winter, the first thing I saw was the top of her stocking cap bobbing up the path between the trees. Seeing that bright red hat against the white landscape always made me smile—and murmur a silent thank you to the school bus driver.

Once, when she was late, I was convinced her bus had toppled into a ditch and I was in tears by the time she arrived. “I just stopped to play,” she said. “Don’t worry, mom.”

But there were so many hills and so much snow.

I was in awe of bus drivers, navigating those big awkward machines up and down those narrow slippery roads. Not to mention the noise factor behind them in the seats.

In their capable hands they held not only a huge steering wheel but the well-being of every parent on their route. So I have to believe there’s a special corner of heaven reserved for these saints where the pavement is always dry.

Karen Anderson is a writer who lives and works in Traverse City, Michigan. She was a columnist for the Traverse City Record-Eagle for 30 years and published two collections.