Wednesday, May 26, 2010

To my Academy and Franklin passengers

Note to my Academy and Franklin passengers;  If any of you read my stories I do wish you all well. It has been an unexpected pleasure to be your bus driver at this point of my life. Mr. B

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My Only Concert

If the walls of a home could absorb music and then reflect it back some day, the music in the walls of the Grover ranch house would be Franz Lists' Leibistraum.


Sometime in my last years of high school I took in upon myself to memorize this reasonably difficult piece. I have a good ear for music and I am all right at interpretation. Reading the music and transferring it from brain to fingers was an exercise that I had to work for. This work happened early in the morning sometimes even before Dad was awake and after school. I'm sure it made Mom happy as she had encouraged any of us who would pursue the piano beginning with my first piano teacher Ruth Clark. For the rest of this small three bedroom one bath household there would have been no escaping these endless drills on the Kimball piano.


Sometime after I had memorized this music someone talked me into performing it at the regional high school music contest at Evanston Wyoming. I think I only agreed to this, because I knew that was no real audience. The individual performers played only before a judge [A BYU music professor] and what few other performers happened to be waiting for their turn. The place for our performance was the LDS Stake Center and I was scheduled to play in the afternoon. Several of us wandered over to the stake center in the morning to see what was going on and the professor told us that if any of us wanted to play at that time there were openings. I didn't want to play ever but I was dying to get the anxiety cloud that was following me gone. I went outside ran around the entire stake center to calm my nerves, came back in and told him I was ready. To my surprise he gave me an "A".


This "A" came with a price. Those who got "A's" were then invited to perform at the closing music concert at Star Valley High. This was an audience of the entire student body, faculty, and parents. What was I thinking? My biggest audience to that point was playing the hymns occasionally for seminary class. In SVHS the guy heroes were athletes not piano players. Most of the student body didn't even know I played the piano and now I was the featured pianist in the closing high school concert. There was something wrong with this picture. At the appointed time that evening I left the relative comfort and anonymity of the trombone section and made my way to the grand piano. Apparently I was too ignorant to know that there was a very real chance of tunnel vision and complete black out setting in such a situation. With the exception of playing one part twice the performance seemed to go without flaw.--------Athletes of the high school eat your hearts out. Is it possible that the meek shall really inherit the earth?  

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Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Hospital


Tuesday I entered into the bowels of the Banner Baywood hospital complex. Signs were posted around reminding those who entered that this was one of the one hundred best heart hospitals in the United States. Their billing department is one of the best also. By the time I left they had separated more money from my healthcare provider than my employer had paid me in wages for the past two years. The angiogram showed that I had extensive obstructions in my arteries.   I would like to think the reason for this is 90% genetic 5% KFC and 5% DQ. That is probably not the case. Wednesday the cardiologist began the repairs.


The most uncomfortable part of the whole procedure was getting my upper legs shaved for the groin catheter to be inserted. I am so ticklish and sensitive that it was all I could do to stay on the bed while the male nurse did the prep. After this torture a husky nurse wheeled me towards the operating room. As we were passing a rest room she asked if I would like to make one last visit. At my age one should never pass that opportunity so I agreed. She helped me off the wheel bed while attempting to preserve my modesty. She said if we get a peek at this point it is called an  I  C  U. Any humor was appreciated.


Upon reaching the operating table the torture began anew as a new male nurse began the sterilization of the insertion site. I suggested that I did not know how I would ever be able to hold still while the doctor gained access to the artery. The next thing I remember was waking up and the whole thing was over. Back we went to the room for, four hours of not being able to bend my leg for fear of opening the wound at the artery insertion spot.


The night nurses have many duties. First among these is the wake you up if you should ever be fortunate enough to fall asleep in this house of healing. They did this all night taking blood and checking your vitals. One of them would even make my bed if she ever happened to find me out of it. I would come out of the bathroom to find my bed make up in tight military fashion. This maneuver helped keep you awake longer as you tried to regain access to the inside of your sheets. The night I stayed there they decided to shampoo the hall carpets. They brought in a riding shampoo machine as big as a small tractor. I had never seen anything like it. What were they thinking?  The only reason the death rate is so low in this hospital is because no one can find a peaceful time to die.


The next morning when my sleep depriving nurses finally told me I could go I gave one of them a hug and the other one a high five. They called for a young girl to give me a wheel chair ride out. By the time she found me pacing in the halls she looked up at me and said, " You would probably just as soon walk out wouldn't you?"  " I'll escort you". Good girl……



Tonight I am home in my king sized bed. Elaine made some hot bread that gives a pleasant smell to the whole house. I have three new stents in my heart. No one is shampooing the carpets. L

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Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2010 18:11:44 -0700

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Memoirs of a bus driver

                     Busing in the 50's and 60'
Having no new bus stories I thought I would recall some of my own busing experiences in the 50's and 60's. 
My first bus driver was Roe Herrick. The bus was an early 50's Ford with a flathead V-8, manual four speed and no power steering. I think the flashing lighting system were exactly the same as they are today except the stop arm and door would have been mechanically operated. No one ever saw Roe smile. We threw some candy kisses on his dash board one day as we got off. Maybe he smiled later when he ate them but no one knows for sure.
In Etna we attended a four room school house with two grades to each room. An ice rink was dug next to the school and filled with water each winter. Our recesses and noon hours were filled with skating on the ice. Later a new elementary school was built in Etna and the bus would pick us up from the four room school which had been changed to a junior high and then go pick up the elementary students. We had wonderful teachers in those days but none that were particularly distractive because of their good looks. That was, of course, until Miss Gee came to town. I'm not sure where she came from or how long she stayed in Star Valley.  I do know that some of us boys found it necessary get over on the school side of the bus as it stopped at the elementary school just so we could stare at Miss Gee as she walked her students to the bus.
                       The Etna Rebellion
It was decided by the school board one year that all the junior highs would be shut down and students would be bused to Afton. A group of parents in Etna [ the furtherest school from Afton] lead by Floyd Bagley decided that they would not be sending their students to Afton. We began that year holding school in the Etna church and were taught by some of the sisters in the ward. It may have been the only church school ever in Star Valley. This rebellion only lasted a week or so and we were indeed bused to Afton.
                          The Grover Years
The only other bus driver I remember for the rest of my schooling was Ervin Johnson. Making a living in Star Valley was not easy. Erv had a small farm, milked cows. drove bus and was cattle range rider in the summer. Everyone in Star Valley was Mormon. You were either active Mormon, inactive Mormon , or Non Mormon. Erv was the inactive kind who smoked. One time the stake hired him to take some of us to the Idaho Falls temple to do baptisms. I'm sure that was a long three hours for him till he got us off the bus and could go have a smoke. John and I were usually out doing morning chores before school  started on the Grover ranch and Dad kept us out to the last minute. We knew our reprieve had come when we could see the bus coming several miles away across the valley. We would make a dash for the house, hopefully inhale a little breakfast and be out ready to catch the bus
                      Owner Drivers / Feeder Routes
In those days except for a few buses owned by the district all of the drivers owned their own buses and were were paid for the routes they drove. Since it was not practical to run the big buses up all the dirt roads for a few students the district paid parent who had students in these out of the way places if they would buy a station wagon and pick their students as well as other along the way. These station wagons would then meet the big buses in route or  take the students directly to the schools. Otis Eggleston, our sometimes hired man drove one of these feeder routes. Otis & family lived up Willow Creek in the humblest of circumstances. In addition to a small farm they milked a few cows by hand, separated the cream, and hauled it to Idaho Falls every few weeks to sell it to the ice cream factory. Unfortunatley, they hauled the cream in the station wagon which always had the smell of spilt souring milk.
                        Heating the Bus
There were two heaters on the bus. One was up by the driver and another one was midway back under a seat. With lots of glass and thin metal walls a bus is not the ideal vehicle to try to heat in Star Valley winters with morning temperatures sometimes at "0" degrees. Unless you were very near one of the heaters the only difference between being inside the bus and outside was that the wind as not blowing. My cousin Dean Bagley [twenty years my senior] rode to school in a wooden camper shell built on the back of a pickup truck with the exhaust pipe running though the camper for heat. One has to think of the possible bad things that could have happened with this heating arrangement..
                    Walking boy/girl friend to the Bus
One of the tender scenes after each day at high school was the walking of ones girl/ boy friend to the bus. If you lived in Afton you didn't ride a bus so you were free to walk your "love" to the bus and just stand there waving good-by as the bus drove away. If both parties rode the bus then you had to decide who's bus you walked to first and then maybe wave to each other as the buses drove off. My time of having an Afton girlfriend walk me to the bus lasted only two weeks. I actually had an Afton girlfriend longer than that but she thought it was silly to walk me to the bus. Eventually she must have thought it was silly to have me as a boyfriend.
                             Field Trips
One time the band  followed the basketball team to Kemmerer Wyo. for a game. The trip one way was over three hours. On the way back [with no rest stops or convenience stores] cries were going up to the driver that miles traveled had exceeded the square root of bladder capacity x two. I'm not sure how we would have handled a rest stop late at night with a mixed group on a rural road but we were willing to give it a try. We never got the chance.  The driver just kept on driving back to Afton.
Girls often wore multiple petticoats to school. In sitting position these tended to take up most of bus seat. If two full petticoated girls sat together it would have been the same as a primitive air bag. This level of underclothing was more that just decorative. It could help retain body heat on a cold bus.
                           Forty Five Year Gap
In 1962 I rode a school bus for the last time. Forty five years later I started riding again. The color of the bus is  the same, but my bus has a turbo charged Mercedes Benz diesel engine, five speed automatic, air conditioning, air brakes, and an air ride seat. It has a satellite tracking system that tells dispatch where I am, how fast I am going, and what time I made each stop. A camera is filming the driver and passengers at all times. The C-B radio keeps me in touch with dispatch and eighty five other drivers.                
If Roe Herrick is looking down on all of this perhaps even he is now smiling.  Mr. "B"

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Transition Revisited

The day after I dropped Ashley of in SLC I started struggling with my emotions again. I couldn’t figure it out. I had done this separation thing seven times before and it was not a two-day affair. By mid morning I had to retire to my bedroom to hide my tears as I lay on my bed. When my children left they had always came home again with spouses and eventually grandchildren. This is a win-win situation After some bitter struggling with my emotions I finally came to realize this was probably more about me than it was about Ashley’s leaving.

When you have your “last child” seven years after your other “last child” and you are already into your forties it is not without consequences. It means that should that child remain with you as they attend several years of collage while living at home you will be in your mid sixties when they finally leave home. I have high school mates that had two children in their early twenties. The children left home in their early twenties and the parents have already been empty nesters now for twenty years. I met a friend of Elaine’s and mine the other day that I first met when we were freshmen at BYU,  Danny Boyle. Danny was chasing a four year old around Lenharts. Danny got remarried in his late fifties to a women almost twenty years his junior. The four year old was not his grandchild. It was his daughter. He will be around eighty when this girl leaves home. For years now we have been invited to the empty nesters monthly potluck dinner/home evening in our ward.
First of all we didn’t want to spend the evening with those old people and second of all we weren’t empty nesters.

By maintaining teenagers in your home well into your middle age you slow the aging process. You are enriched by their lives and the lives of their friends that also come into your home. By maintaining a grandchild in your home in your mid sixties you can actually reverse that aging process.
So there you have it. This was my transition and I am coming to terms with it. I’m still not going to go to the empty nesters monthly potluck/home evening. Dad

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


4 A.M. Tuesday. It was decided the night before that I would drive Ashley to SLC rather that Elaine. She and Ashley had been up all night packing. I have no idea where she is going to put the stuff. My HHR  had only room for two people in the front seats. After prayer Mom and Ashley were both in tears. We had a pleasant trip. In-between Ashley sleeping we had time for reminiscing stories and some good laughs. One of the stories I told her was of just before Rob left for BYU. I was driving home on Broadway when I unexpectedly got all teary and emotional at the thought that he would be gone to school then a mission then marriage and he would really never "come home again" in some sense. All went well until we entered SLC and I knew that Ashley would be dropping me off at Jeans and continuing on to Rexburg alone.  Then it hit me. For the last ten miles we were both in tears. Ashley had a few minutes with each of the kids as they came home from school and then she was off on her new adventure. Jean by the way looks great. I kept looking at her and saying who is this girl? She could pass for someone 20 years younger. After supper with Jean and the kids I caught a late flight home and again was reminded that someone had left as we drove in the garage with one empty stall. Dad