Sunday, November 20, 2011


After six times on the operating table last year I had to leave my bus route rather abruptly before the end of school. The driver who took over was a "redneck" type fellow from Tombstone Arizona who was missing one front tooth. I was somewhat reluctant to leave my beautiful students in his care.

The first day of school each year is a notable event for students which sometimes involves new schools, new teachers and new bus drivers that they will be spending the next nine months with. As I approached my group pickups on the first day of school this year I could see the students straining to see through the reflective windshield to identify who the driver was. As they got on I could see some smiles and restrained approval that Mr. "B" was back. On my next to the last pickup the restraint was lifted as one of the junior high girls that had been on my route for three years gave a shriek of joy upon seeing me. At first I thought it might have been because of my rugged good looks. On second thought it was probably just because I was well groomed and had all of my front teeth. 

After I got everyone on board I took the PA microphone and welcomed the students 20% of who were new to the bus. I told them I was called Mr. "B". To my surprise the bus erupted in cheers with fist pumping in the air.[ Now I'm thinking maybe it is because of my rugged good looks.]  I went on to tell them that my bus rules were pretty simple. Stay in your seats while the bus is moving. Don't throw things and no jumping out of the windows at speeds over 35 mph. The new students seemed confused at the last instruction. The pay is still $12.50/hr. The cheers were priceless.

After a few weeks I decided that I would sing to them each Friday morning. I had much to sing about. I had lived through six operations. I had made it through a summer on The Sweetwater with John as my boss and I was looking forward to a Arizona winter with of my children and grandchildren. I doubt that when manufactuerers of "Thomas" buses mounted eight speakers in the rounded metal roof of a 40 ft. school bus they were thinking of the singing bus driver. The acoustical effects are quite remarkable.

The first Friday I selected the poem "Trees" by Joyce Kilmer that has beautifully been put to music. I told them to listen carefully to the words. 

As a second number that day I had them join me in singing from Disney's  " It's A Small Small World". They were quite good at this one.

 The next Friday I sang the version of " Ghost Riders In The Sky" made famous by Johnny Cash . This song too has a cowboy message.
The third week the PA system broke down so it was a "no song Friday" without explaination. To my surprise a half of dozen students asked me on the way off the bus why I hadn't sang that morning. Well that is all us "aging" transportation entertainers need is a little encoragement and who knows when and where we will be singing. I think Johnny Cash would be proud.
Coming up this week is a short song from "Oklahama"
Mr. B

This online album has 3 photos and will be available on SkyDrive until 12/26/2011.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


In the first picture of the handcarts are rickshaws so that the youth can pull disabled friends on the trek that may not be able to hike. The second picture is me moving picnic tables around the campground with the skip loader. The third picture is our 140 handcarts that we are getting ready to re-oil with linseed oil. I also got my spray machine out this week and painted the 24 new picnic tables that we built for a new campground.
This online album has 3 photos and will be available on SkyDrive until 08/15/2011.



Monday, May 16, 2011

Women of the Church

Dear Family,
The two pictures are of Mom [third one in] on one of our women's pulls. This is part of all the treks to have the men and boys leave the sisters to pull the carts alone. You will notice that these carts did not have several hundred pounds of luggage in them. We then tell stories of how in former times and now the women of the church are called on to pull the load alone.
Having said that I would like to devote some time to Ashley's graduation with honors from collage. I had to remember back to our stake trek and the women's pull that Ashley was part of. None of the several women's pull sites here are as difficult as the one Ashley was on. It was a heartbreaker that our North Stake sisters thought they were going to die on. The men watching from the trees thought we were going to die just watching as the sister would block the wheels with rocks when they could go no farther. When they got to the top most just dropped to the ground and cried.
After they had rested, as leader of one of the groups, I instructed the girls to step away from the handcarts and told the boys to pull up the final non challenging hill. After going a short distance I looked back and all of the girls had disregarded my instructions and were back helping with the carts. We as men are lucky to have such women in our lives.
Ashley, Mom and I will celebrate with you when we get home. Rest assured that this accomplishment did not go unnoticed. Love Dad  We are very proud of your accomplishment. I know the end was hard to get through as your interests were in other things, but you stuck it out, and as the years go by, you will be glad you did. we love and miss you all  mom

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Another Day on the Trail

Today was another day on the trails with handcarts and telling the stories that we will tell the trekker youth. We were just telling them to the other missionaries. We are having some surprisingly sunny days even though we have to unhook our water hose each night so it does not freeze. Elaine is changing from four layers of cloths to three layers. Dad

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Happy Mothers Day

Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers in our family. We are so proud of you and miss you. Sunday we did our 120 mi R/T to the Cove for church. This was our second trip this week to the Cove. We have been hiking their trails and some of ours, over 10 miles this week. This is the "weeper" mission. There are so many stories that we have to learn and tell. John has told some of the stories dozens of time and still can't get thought them without emotion. Elaine and I have been called to be the" handcart wranglers" this summer. We will be in charge of getting the handcarts to the proper locations for the trekers. There are four locations within twenty miles. We use 3/4 ton trucks with long trailers. Sometimes we will have a trailer behind another trailer. After church we had a potluck dinner. So far there has not been a shortage of good food as these displaced mothers show off their cooking skills. E&E

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The “catheter”

FEBRUARY 1, 2011

2:00 P.M.
Scottsdale, Arizona

If any of you in the western states heard a wild scream at that time, it was me as my catheter was being removed. I had thought that these devices only went into the bladder. It felt like mine was being pulled from my throat. In saying that I must admit that I am a wimp and am against pain in any form. My day at the doctor’s office began with a large but pleasant young woman escorting me to the exam room. When she told me to drop my pants and lay down on the exam table I did just that. In this state of Le Grand Exposé she began by taking the staples out of my abdomen incisions. Given the fact that I am beyond ticklish this was a mixture of hilarity and pain. For some reason at this point another young lady comes in to ask the first one a question. Perhaps the second female was just checking up on the first to see if some new form of torture had been discovered for future urilogical patients.

The “catheter” in for five days, while annoying, had not been as troublesome as I had expected. You have a large bag for nighttime use and a small bag that is attached to the inside of your calf for day use. To empty the day bag you just put your foot up on the edge of a toilet or fire hydrant whichever is closer and turn the valve.

When the office girls got done with me, the doctor came in to explain that pathology had confirmed  20% of my prostate to have been cancerous.  The cancer appeared to be contained to the prostate, which is no longer among my current list of internal organs.

Then came the “Talk”. The good doctor gave me some free Viagra pills with these simple instructions: “Use it or loose it”

With those encouraging words I make my way though the waiting room wondering if my diaper make me look fat.

Mr. “B”

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Thanks for coming back Mr "B". Those relief drivers were scary !!

Perhaps less than a dozen times in my life I have felt deep emotional pain/sorrow. I don't mean the lump in your throat kind. I mean the kind that originates somewhere inside your chest and you are hoping to find a switch to turn it off. The first time I remember this happening was just before Rob left home to go to BYU. I was driving at about Broadway and Country Club. I came at that time to the realization that once your children leave home they generally only come back as visitors. That of course is part of life's plan and it is a good plan. The last time this happened before yesterday was when I dropped Ashley off in SLC on her way to BYU Idaho.

Tuesday morning I had my first doctor visit since my surgery a week before. My post surgery week had been lousy. This had been my sixth time on the operating table in one year. While it was only a one hour surgery my body seemed to be rebelling from the intrusions that involved knives and anesthesia. I had started driving several days before the doctor visit. I would drive and come home and go directly to bed after each run. I wondered each morning if physically and mentally I should even be driving a bus. It was decided by me and my doctor that I should quit driving and apply for a medical leave of absence. This in fact was the only way that  I was going to be able to come back to driving without losing my seniority #, good route, and good bus. I called dispatch and told them that I would be gone for the near future and I went directly to bed.

The next morning I realized what I had done and I had my melt down. I had been driving for three years arguably some of the best students in the school district to the Mesa Academy for Advance Studies. I was their Mr"B" and I knew them by name. When I came back from my numerous sick leaves I was always greeted with enthusiasm. Thanks for coming back Mr "B". Those relief drivers were scary !! I had been practicing my departure speech for a week and I left without even saying good by. Well there you have it. A crusty 67 year old bus driver with a heart of mush.

Mr "B"

"Do you wish to state a religions preference?"

I don't know if I shared with you that I will be going in Monday morning for another surgery. The hole near my belly button where they took my prostate out did not heal up properly and left me with a hernia. It is an outpatient thing.

Friday night a lady called me from the hospital to ask me a long series of health questions. I don't like these long telephone inquires but I tried to make the best of it. This is how some of our conversation went.

"Do you wish to state a religions preference?"

"I'm LDS."

"Do you smoke or drink?"

"No , they don't let us".

"I know you are not suppose to but since I don't go to your church you could tell me ".

"Really I don't".

"Do you ever have any anxiety attacks"?

"Yes sometimes".

"When does it happen"?

"Usually when I am laying naked on an operating table".

" Who will be accompanying you to the hospital at 6:00 AM"?

" Either my wife or my girlfriend--whoever I can wake up".

Maybe I shouldn't have told her I was LDS. Actually we were both about laughing to tears by the end of our conversation. EB