Monthly Archives: November 2013

Bus Driver

Ok, I lied.

Remember Friday when I said I was going to do the daily “what I’m thankful for” thing during the month of November?  Well.  I guess that’s not happening.

Here we are – November 4th – and I have written a grand total of….ONE blog.  Crap.

It’s not that I’m not thankful for things.  I am.  It’s just that I don’t like forcing myself to write.  Telling myself to write every day makes it feel like a chore.  And for me, writing cannot turn into a chore.  It’s one of my only escapes from life’s many other chores as it is.  And besides, I’ve been grumpy as crap over the past few days, so forcing myself to write about what I’m thankful for during my current mindset would have been about as productive as the time I tried to give my cat a bath.

catbath

Get my drift?

So, I skipped a few days.  And I’m probably going to be skipping a few more if I’m going to just be quite honest with you.  I’m just a tad too much of a cynic to come up with a cutesy thankful blog every single day, anyway.  Again, it’s not that I’m not thankful for things.  I just don’t feel like being forced to vomit sunshine and roses every day for a month.  Because some days just aren’t conducive to that kind of…um…’product.’

But, even with that being said, I do, however, want to give a shout out to someone I noticed over the weekend.

My daughter’s school drama club had their annual drama competition on Saturday.  It was in another town – about a two-hour drive – and the team was being transported by bus.  Since they had performed their skit the night before at the school for parents, none of the parents were going along on the Saturday trip.  Except me – the one parent who works in a separate state which kept her from getting to the Friday night performance on time.  So, with the coach’s advance permission, I rode along on the bus with the kids.

Now, believe me when I tell you that there was not a dull moment on that bus ride.  I like to think I’m a pretty young and hip momma, but shew!  I was exhausted before we even got to the competition.  They were great kids, don’t get me wrong.  I don’t mean there was any trouble or anything like that – it was just loud.  LOUD.  And there was so much energy.  Where do they get that from??  I sure do wish I could’ve siphoned some of it into a bottle to take with me to my half marathon in a few days.  Good grief!bus

Well, we got to the competition, and they all performed their little hearts out.  But, sadly, when the results were tallied, not only did they not win, but they actually came in last place. 😦  Talk about a bunch of sad kiddos.  That energy that I mentioned before?  Yeah, it had turned down quite a few notches by the time they all piled back on the bus for the trip home.  While they truly did have a great attitude about the whole thing, the disappointment was evident in all of their faces and body language.  They just couldn’t hide it.

So, we start the much quieter trip home, and someone (in hopes of lifting everyone’s spirits) gets the idea to ask the bus driver if they could play one of their CDs on his stereo system on the bus.  From my safe little seat near the front of the bus (my, how things have changed from when I was a teen myself…), I could see what I expected to be a stern “No, now sit back down and let me drive” from the bus driver.  But, to my surprise, he not only allowed it, but asked them if they wanted him to crank it.  Ha!  What a pointless question – this was a bus full of teenagers.  So, crank it, he did.  Now, we all know the healing power of music, and this was no exception.  As the decibel rose, so did those kids’ spirits.  Before long, there was laughter, singing, and even some “dancing” (at least I think that’s what you call that these days…).  Just like that, the teens’ disappointment was all but forgotten and the bus trip returned to its original state from earlier in the day.  A bus full of happy kids with nothing to worry about except hoping their parents were there at the school to pick them up upon their return.

So, we got back safe and sound (well, maybe our ears were a little worse for wear, but other than that…).  As we were all piling off the bus, myself lagging near the end, I stopped and put my hand on the bus driver’s shoulder and said, “you have the most patience of anyone I’ve ever known.”  His response?  “Nah.  I didn’t mind at all.  They only get to be young once.”

Wow.  Did you hear that?

“They only get to be young once.”

What a guy.  What a philosophy.  What a reminder.

Because of this one man’s positive attitude and flexibility, a potentially depressing bus ride home for a bunch of devastated teenagers turned into the happy, fun-filled trip that it should have been all along.  I wonder if he realizes that?  I wonder if this man knows how contagious his one little attitude ended up being for a busload of kids…and one somewhat grumpy momma?

I hope so.

So, even though I have failed miserably at doing my daily duty of documenting the things I’m thankful for each day, I would still like to add Mr. Bus Driver to the list anyway.  I am thankful for people like him.  People who think of the wellbeing of others before himself.  People who sacrifice a full day of their time to transport a bunch of kids to some event hours away, and then sacrifices his own comfort to be sure they had the best time they possibly could’ve had.  I’d like to think I’d have been the same way if I were him, but I honestly don’t know. I probably would have been tired.  And grumpy.  And ready to go home.  And not willing to listen to the laughter and loud music while I drove all that way after spending an entire day with teenagers.  But see, that’s why I’m not a bus driver.  And that’s why he is.

So, welcome to my small thankful list, bus driver dude.  You made an impact on more people than you probably realized, including myself.  Thank you for being in the right place at the right time.

This blog’s for you.

***

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
– Winston Churchill

November 1

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”
– Eckhart Tolle

Ok.  I think I’m gonna do it this year.

So, I know you’ve all seen the November challenge on Facebook, right?  No, not the no-shave November thing.  (My boyfriend would probably not be too thrilled if I participated in that.  And besides, I’d have to buy larger shirts to fit my arms in if I didn’t shave for 30 days.  That pit hair is comparable to a Chia Pet when it gets out of control.  Seriously.  Ok, TMI, moving on….)

And no, not the “write a novel in a month” November thing (NaNoWriMo).  Ha!  Like that’s going to happen.  I haven’t written a novel in 35 years so far, so I doubt it’s going to happen in the month of November.

No, what I’m talking about is the 30 Days of Gratitude.  Each day, your status is supposed to be about whatever you’re thankful for that day.  Every November, I see it roll around, and every November, I just read everyone else’s status messages and go about my business without participating.  Well, today, I asked myself a question.  “Self,” I said, (that’s what I like to call myself)…

What the heck is wrong with you??”

Come on, chick.  You have a bajillion patrillion things to be thankful for.  Why not dedicate a month of blogs to them?

So, here I am.

Now, I’m going to do my best to not make them generic.  No “today I’m thankful for my family” crap.  No, that’s too easy.  These things are going to be specific.  Not just “family,” but which member of the family?  And why?  You know, stuff like that.

So, there’s no time like today to put my money where my mouth is.

Today, November 1, would have been my grandfather, Greene Halsey’s, 86th birthday.

papaw1

So, today, I’m thankful for him.  Thankful that he existed.  Thankful for the family name that he passed down.  Thankful for the red hair that my kids got because of him.  Thankful for the quiet, honorable man that he was.  Thankful for his insistence that my shoes remain spotless (oh, the memories of seeing him endlessly shining all of our shoes until they practically sparkled).  Thankful for the funny things that he would say on the random times that he did decide to speak up.  Thankful for the money he’d always slip me when he thought no one was looking…and thankful for watching him do the same thing with my kids as they got older.  papaw2Thankful for the lesson that you don’t have to be loud and obnoxious to make your mark on the world.  This quiet man managed to leave behind a legacy with very few words, only actions.  The many non-dramatic, sometimes non-noticed, small tokens of the love that he didn’t quite know how to verbalize remain in all of our memories.

He left this world in February of 2012, but in the ways that matter, he still remains.

So, for my November month of gratitude, I hereby officially nominate Greene Halsey as the first addition to the list.  Welcome, Pa-paw.

And thank you.

And to the rest of you – here’s my challenge to you.  This year, why don’t you join me?  There’s no reason not to.  If you don’t want to write it, don’t.  No status is needed.  No blog entry is required.  Just force yourself, every day for this one little month in your life, to dedicate each and every day to one specific thing for which you’re thankful.  By the end of this month, I’m betting that you’ll be surprised at just how blessed you really are.  And maybe, just maybe, you won’t stop on November 30.

See you tomorrow.

***

“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”
– Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray Love