Some readers are already aware that Mrs R J has been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing treatment. Chemotherapy is never pleasant, and usually hell on earth for those unfortunate enough to suffer it. Consequently, it’s difficult for me to find the time to write very much, and of late Sparrow Chat has been sadly lacking fresh material.
I’ve decided to have an update of my wife’s progress at the top of the sidebar (except for cellphone users, I’m afraid, who presently have no sidebar but we’re working to rectify that). Meanwhile, dredging through old files recently I came across a collection of bloggings, some so ancient Methuselah may have read them. I will sort a few that might still have relevance and post them from time to time, in the hope they may prove of interest.
While living in America I drove a school bus for six years. It was an eye-opening experience. The route was considered one of the worst at the depot, transporting grade school kids from the most deprived areas in the town. Over those six years I watched some of them grow from five year olds to age eleven, when they left for the local junior high. They were a rag-tag bunch, but I grew to love them all. Well, most of ’em!
It was my intention to write a book about those years, but it was not to be and now the memories have become too distant for recall. All I have left is a few notes. So I’ll begin with them.
School’s back on Monday. The Thanksgiving holiday is almost over and the Roberts kids will be returning once more to their educational facility. The Roberts’ had an extended vacation – at least from the school bus. Seven out of the nine Roberts kids were barred from riding the bus for the week prior to Thanksgiving, due to antisocial activities that included fighting and creating a mass disturbance. It resulted in the driver returning his load of kids to their school, rather than home to the welcoming parents who expected them.
Not that the other kids on the bus are total innocents. Nicholas Lilly, a third-grade, suffered a blacked eye only last week when his best friend, Quinton Long, suddenly decided he was no longer Nicholas’ friend, and laid into him with vigor. The resulting bruises earned Quinton a three day bus suspension and a threat from his irate Mom to “black more than your eye if you ever do that again!”
The last time Quinton had a bus suspension was when he uttered a four letter word. It all happened in a vain attempt to make his brother shut up. I felt sympathy for Quinton on that occasion. He shared a seat with his younger sibling, Malcolm, who was nowhere near the voice-breaking stage, and prone to long outbursts of high-pitched gibberish, apparently meant to convey disapproval of some minor infringement of his rights by another student on the bus. By the time Malcolm had been quieted sufficient to interpret his long-winded, and ear-piercing complaints, he’d forgotten whom it was he was originally attempting to incriminate.
Nevertheless, Quinton’s ‘F-word’ eruption earned him a ‘bus referral’, later followed by a mouthful of carbolic soap forcefully inserted by his mother in an effort to cleanse her eight-year-old of his unsavory taste in language.
Oakley Canton will be on the bus Monday, complete with her over-abundance of hormones. Fifth-grade girls can be a problem, particularly when fifth and sixth-grade boys are riding the yellow school bus. Oakley’s a nice enough girl, but like most on Bus 13, she hails from the poorer areas of the town. Consequently, her fashion sense – something never terribly mature among young, black female, minors – lacks a certain sophistication. Oakley’s tight skirt and high heels don’t assist her to mount the three steps onto the bus with any degree of alacrity. Once inside, she’ll sway one way, then the other, on her way down the aisle to her seat, ensuring any eligible young male receives a portion of her ample backside in his face as she passes by.
The most startling aspect of eleven year old Oakley’s appearance is not her enormous gold earrings, nor the six inch heels on which she teeters precariously to her seat. Neither is it the hip length mini-skirt, or multitude of brightly-colored plastic dangly bits hanging from a hair-style whose creation must surely have kept her up all night. Oakley’s pièce de résistance is her brassiere, a work of art that must surely contain the innards of one of her mother’s settee cushions. Oakley stands out in true Marilyn Munroe fashion, though sadly it could all shrink alarmingly if her mother ever demands her cushion back.
The latest male to light Oakley’s hormonal fire is one of the Roberts’ boys. Last Monday, Cordell Roberts, blind to all but Oakley’s buttocks swirling past his face, was quick to plant a punch on his younger brother, Jethro, when the poor lad happened to call her a “stupid bitch” after one of Oakley’s six inch heels mangled his toe as she sashayed past him on the way to her seat.
The resulting melee caused the irate bus driver to divert from his route and return the bus load of punch-drunk, pre-pubescent, hooligans to the school they had recently vacated. Consequently, the Principal had an apoplectic fit, and banned all the Robert’s boys from riding the bus for the remainder of the week.
Peace returned to Bus 13, though Quinton Long still looked daggers at Nicholas Lilly from across the aisle, and Oakley Canton, no interest in any other male but Cordell, sat and stared out the window with an air of total boredom, her bosoms sagging somewhat with the lateness of the day.
Still, nothing lasts forever, and the Roberts kids will be back on Monday.