Tag Archives: Driving

Life Lesson from the School Bus (#9) “Making a Way”

Trying to Merge

Have you ever tried to merge into traffic, only to find that everyone else is in a bigger hurry than you? Try convincing a bunch of motorists on their way home that your school bus needs to jump into the flow.

Every time people see my kid transporter attempting to enter traffic from a side street, they say to themselves, “Oh no! I can’t get stuck behind a bus!

So, without any compassion for me and my nerves, they pretend that they don’t see me. Better yet, they hold up a hand, wave slightly, and give me a look that says, “Sorry, but my schedule is too hectic to let you in front of me.” Jerks.

Making a Way

That’s when a school bus driver has to be proactive…he has to make a way into traffic. By being assertive with 35,ooo pounds of diesel-powered intimidation, one can MAKE motorist slow down and be polite. Making a way into traffic is possible because of a simple fact of life – getting put on the local news for hitting a school bus full of children is NOT in one’s best interest.

Life Lesson

God can make a way, when there seems to be no way.

Isaiah 43:16, 20 – [16] Thus saith the LORD, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters; … [20] The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, [and] rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.

When God chooses to do something, nothing in heaven or on earth can stop Him. God can make a way. No decree of man or law of nature is an obstacle to the LORD of creation. If God has told you to go somewhere, do some work, or reach some person, even if the way seems impossible, He is God…He will MAKE a way.

Are you going through a valley? Are you on a stormy sea and can’t see past the waves? Do you think that there is no hope, no way out of it this time? Trust in Jesus – He can make a way, where there seems to be no way. He can give rivers of hope in the midst of your wilderness.

Hope you enjoy this short video of a beautiful song by Don Moen.

 

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Filed under General Observations, Life Lessons, the future, Uncategorized

Life Lessons from the School Bus (#8) “Stop”

Stop Signs

If there is one thing that makes me angry enough to spit nails, pound a steering wheel, clinch my teeth, and silently whisper vulgarities under my breath, it is this:

People who run school bus stop signs!

Honestly, I would like to know what goes through the minds of these idiots. What causes them to act so carelessly? Are they just careless, or are they blind? Should they even be behind the wheel of a vehicle?

I can’t tell you how many times it has happened to me while driving. One time, believe it or not, a motorist (older white male) came around from behind me on the side of the service door! Let me make that clear, the driver came from behind and passed me on the side the kids get out! He came within a few feet of hitting three middle-schoolers!

What do you do in a situation like that? Well, what wanted to do was chase him with the bus and pin him to a guardrail with 30,000 pounds of yellow furry!

What did I actually do? I called him an unflattering name that referred back to him possibly not coming from a woman who was married at the time of his unfortunate birth. That was all I could do. He got away before I could get his plate number.

If you are one of those slimy pieces of human debris that think it’s OK to run a school bus stop sign, especially if you have an important date, or just can’t stand the thought of being held up another minute – God is watching. Yep, that’s what I said, scumbag. Every time you think you are so special that you can skirt the law, run the stop sign, and go your merry way, God is watching you. When I can’t get your license plate number, God has got YOUR number, bub.

And whosoever shall offend one of [these] little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. – Mark 9:42 KJV

Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. … Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish. – Matthew 18:10, 14 KJV

You should stop and think a moment. Every time you flagrantly drive through a bus stop, you put children ask risk. You make your priorities more important than the lives of little children. Do you think that for one moment Heaven is on your side of the argument? Do you think that risking running over one of “these little ones” is any different than “despising” them? Do you believe in God? Keep running those stop signs and you will learn the lesson of the day…

Life Lesson

You will eventually reap what you sow (what goes around, comes around).

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. – Galatians 6:7 KJV

Sometimes children are told to “sow their wild oats while they’re young.” I can’t think of a more stupid piece of advice to give anyone! That is like saying, “Do everything wrong while you can, but don’t worry, it will never come back to bite you in the rear end.” God says, “Don’t be decieved by these idiots, because you will reap a harvest from the seeds you plant.”

The same can be said about those who run bus stop signs. Just keep it up, but one day you are going to get what is coming to you, especially if you hit one of those children.

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An Official Goodbye to an Era

Time for a Change

As you know, I have been driving a school bus for a while. Much of that time was spent in an area where I used to live and pastor, Lookout Valley, TN (just in sight of Lookout Mountain).

For several years (actually, since 2009) I was what we call a “park out” driver. That means that I was able, because I had the space, and because of the closeness to the schools I served, to keep my bus at home. That was extremely convenient in that all I had to do to go to work was walk out my front door.

But now that I no longer pastor in Lookout Valley, nor do I live there, it is no longer convenient to drive a bus route in that area. It makes much more sense to drive a school bus route closer to where I will now be living (in that parsonage I recently showed you) 30 miles away.

Now, there are no guarantees I will be able to secure a route in the area to which I am moving – that is still a matter of prayer. However, as with the last route I had, the fact remains the same: I want to be a fixture in the community in which I pastor. If it’s God’s will, He will provide the route I need.

It happened before, you know.

If it be the Lord’s will, next school year (2017-2018) I will secure a route on a special needs bus (a small bus) that I can park in the new church’s parking lot. However, that remains to be seen. This summer I will be working as a driver trainer, but I will be keeping my eyes open for whatever opportunities are out there.

In the meantime, I thought I would share with you some photos that tell a little about the era that is passing, the era of Bus 374.

A History In Pictures

When I first started driving for Durham School Services in Hamilton County (the Chattanooga, TN area), I was a “sub” driver. In other words, I didn’t have my own route, a particular route with an assigned bus, that I drove every day. What I did the first couple of years was fill in and drive whatever route needed me, wherever that route happened to go.

As a matter of fact, when I started driving a school bus in Kentucky back in 2001, that is all I ever did – work as a substitute driver. Some of the experiences I had while doing that, especially the part including tennis balls, is detailed in my book. However, I unfortunately don’t have any pictures of my early days driving a bus – I wish I did.

My first route after being a sub-driver was bus 369. I drove the 369 route for a year or so, then went on to drive bus 374. If I’m not mistaken, bus 369 started out as a conventional-style bus (with a long nose) and later changed to a front-engine transit (flat front) …it might have been the other way around, but I can’t remember.

All total I had four different models of buses during my time as driver of #374. At one point I drove a 2007 Thomas transit. Later I drove a conventional-style (long nose) Thomas with a Mercedes engine (my favorite bus out of all of them). After that I went back to a Thomas transit, but a more modern 2011 model. Lastly, I finally ended up with a 2013 International transit with AIR CONDITIONING!

My first ride as bus 374. A front-engined transit with no air – and it could reach 120 degrees around the driver’s seat in August!

 

The conventional-style Thomas (with the cool Mercedes engine) parked behind the church, the place where I parked all the time during the week.

 

The next generation of #374. This pic shows an ultra-rare instance of when we in Tennessee actually had to pick up kids in the snow!

 

A side view of the final incarnation of #374, the unwashed, rear-engined (called a “pusher”) 2013 International. Notice the additional cargo bays underneath.

 

Over the years I’ve seen a lot of things while driving a bus (and some of that is also detailed in my book) But there are two places on 374’s route that I will miss seeing on a regular basis.

The first is a little pond and the view of it from a little hill on Shanty Lake Road. The view varied with the change of seasons and the angle of the sun. Incidentally, the children on my bus hated it whenever another driver drove instead of me – I was always better at going over that hill without scaring the kids 😉

A view of the pond on Shanty Lake Road from inside my bus on the last day of school (the bus was stopped).

 

The very same view as above, but as the sun is coming up in January. God is a beautiful artist, isn’t He?

 

The other view that I will miss is the one seen driving back into Lookout Valley over Cummings Highway across the side of Lookout Mountain. I wrote about this in my book and six years ago in another blog, Ebs and Flows (you should check it out).

Looking down towards Lookout Valley and the Tennessee River from the Cummings Highway bridge – yes, a bridge.

 

Over the years I’ve also met a few adults while driving in Lookout Valley, not just a lot children (of all ages). There were a few teachers with which became friends, but it was the other bus drivers that helped make getting up in the morning a little easier.

Taken a couple of years ago, here we see Chris (370), Joseph (369), and me at McDonald’s.

 

Myself and Paul Mashburn (the contract driver of #49). Mr. Mashburn drove my wife on band trips in 1985! And she said he still looks the same!

 

The last day of school this year we went to Cracker Barrel. Here is Chris (370), a driver from New Orleans, Jean (369), and myself…I should have tucked in my shirt.

 

The following are just a couple of pictures I wanted to throw in for good measure. The first is me on a day when I wore a wig to keep my head warm – why wear a hat when you can be different?

The second picture is of our little dog, Nugget. Nugget went missing in August of last year, and we miss him terribly. This photo was taken on the day after we first got him. I was driving bus 369 at the time, and I didn’t want to leave him home alone, so I took him with me that day 🙂

A wig can both keep you warm and give you attitude.

 

Baby Nugget on the school bus.

 

On the last day of school I pulled up in front of Lookout Valley Middle and High School, along with the other buses there to pick up what kids actually came that day (I had none). Only four or five buses were ever needed to service this small school, so the afternoon lineup became a traditional time to shoot the breeze for a few minutes before the doors burst open.

My final lineup at Lookout Valley Middle/High.

 

And as you may have seen from other blog posts of mine, Bobble Head Phil always rode on my dash (secured with double-sided tape) and stared at the kids behind me. One time a little girl said, “Mr. Baker, make him stop looking at me!” I replied, “Why? What are you doing?”

Phil has left the building (or bus, rather).

 

I don’t know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future. God willing, Phil and I will drive another bus – a smaller bus – in the area closer to our new place of ministry. But for now, goodbye Lookout Valley and bus 374…we will always remember you.

In the meantime, keep me in your prayers – I’ve got new drivers to train! 

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Life Lesson from the School Bus #9 (Making a Way)

This post is one in a series I did back in 2011. And yes, I drew the bus.

Trying to Merge

Have you ever tried to merge into traffic, only to find that everyone else is in a bigger hurry than you? Try convincing a bunch of motorists on their way home that your school bus needs to jump into the flow.

Every time people see my kid transporter attempting to enter traffic from a side street, they say to themselves, “Oh no! I can’t get stuck behind a bus!

So, without any compassion for me and my nerves, they pretend that they don’t see me. Better yet, they hold up a hand, wave slightly, and give me a look that says, “Sorry, but my schedule is too hectic to let you in front of me.” Jerks.

Making a Way

That’s when a school bus driver has to be proactive…he has to make a way into traffic. By being assertive with 35,ooo pounds of deisel-powered intimidation, one can MAKE motorist slow down and be polite. Making a way into traffic is possible because of a simple fact of life – getting put on the local news for hitting a school bus full of children is NOT in one’s best interest.

Life Lesson

God can make a way, when there seems to be no way.

Isaiah 43:16, 20 KJV – [16] Thus saith the LORD, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters; … [20] The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, [and] rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.

When God chooses to do something, nothing in heaven or on earth can stop Him. God can make a way. No decree of man or law of nature is an obstacle to the LORD of creation. If God has told you to go somewhere, do some work, or reach some person, even if the way seems impossible, He is God…He will MAKE a way. Are you going through a valley? Are you on a stormy sea and can’t see past the waves? Do you think that there is no hope, no way out of it this time? Trust in Jesus – He can make a way, where there seems to be no way. He can give rivers of hope in the midst of your wilderness.

Hope you enjoy this short video of a beautiful song by Don Moen.

3 Comments

Filed under General Observations, Life Lessons, the future, Uncategorized

Life Lessons from the School Bus #8 (Stop)

Stop Signs

If there is one thing that makes me angry enough to spit nails, pound a steering wheel, clinch my teeth, and silently whisper vulgarities under my breath, it is this:

People who run school bus stop signs!

Honestly, I would like to know what goes through the minds of these idiots. What causes them to act so carelessly? Are they just careless, or are they blind? Should they even be behind the wheel of a vehicle?

I can’t tell you how many times it has happened to me while driving. One time, believe it or not, a motorist (older white male) came around from behind me on the side of the service door! Let me make that clear, the driver came from behind and passed me on the side the kids get out! He came within a few feet of hitting three middle-schoolers!

What do you do in a situation like that? Well, what wanted to do was chase him with the bus and pin him to a guardrail with 30,000 pounds of yellow furry!

What did I actually do? I called him an unflattering name that referred back to him possibly not coming from a woman who was married at the time of his unfortunate birth. That was all I could do. He got away before I could get his plate number.

If you are one of those slimy pieces of human debris that think it’s OK to run a school bus stop sign, especially if you have an important date, or just can’t stand the thought of being held up another minute – God is watching. Yep, that’s what I said, scumbag. Every time you think you are so special that you can skirt the law, run the stop sign, and go your merry way, God is watching you. When I can’t get your license plate number, God has got YOUR number, bub.

And whosoever shall offend one of [these] little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. – Mark 9:42 KJV

Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. … Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish. – Matthew 18:10, 14 KJV

You should stop and think a moment. Every time you flagrantly drive through a bus stop, you put children ask risk. You make your priorities more important than the lives of little children. Do you think that for one moment Heaven is on your side of the argument? Do you think that risking running over one of “these little ones” is any different than “despising” them? Do you believe in God? Keep running those stop signs and you will learn the lesson of the day…

Life Lesson

You will eventually reap what you sow (what goes around, comes around).

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. – Galatians 6:7 KJV

Sometimes children are told to “sow their wild oats while they’re young.” I can’t think of a more stupid piece of advice to give anyone! That is like saying, “Do everything wrong while you can, but don’t worry, it will never come back to bite you in the rear end.” God says, “Don’t be decieved by these idiots, because you will reap a harvest from the seeds you plant.”

The same can be said about those who run bus stop signs. Just keep it up, but one day you are going to get what is coming to you, especially if you hit one of those children.

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Filed under General Observations, Life Lessons, Uncategorized