New School Year

The new School Year began in Cassville, MO on August 17.  I also started driving a different route.

I now drive the Jenkins route, and though I am pretty familiar with the area, since I do live in the Jenkins area, I am finding myself having a bit of trouble with some names of my kids.  Remembering their names.

As it is in most communities people move away, and new people move in.  There are only  about three families I am I am familiar with from my years of living here growing up.  One family is cousins, another is nephews, and another is a native of the area.  I just remembered a fourth family, and they are distant relatives.

One thing about it; I will not get lost.

I hope all who are reading this have a great new School year, and great days ahead.

From the banks of Flat Creek.

~tim

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Driving a School Bus

Where I live the new School year for ages K – 12 began on August 13; so we have been in school now for two weeks.

I have been driving for the Cassville R-IV School District in the southwest part of the State of Missouri now for the last 9 years, and started my tenth year.  I have a total of 16 years driving with the Cassville School District.  With the first stint being from 1984 – 1990.

I quit driving a bus for 12 years, even gave up my CDL for a regular license for a while until I decided I needed to go back to driving a bus.  That was in 2003, and I have been driving a bus ever since then.

Actually I am driving for Cassville for my third time.  When I came back in ’03 I came in as a sub driver, then was given a route in the beginning of 2004 (January).  I left at the end of that school year, moved to Farmington, Missouri, and drove a School bus for the Farmington District for two years, then moved back to Cassville.

Driving a School bus is a challenging job; yet it is rewarding.  The reward is watching those kids grow up.  I took the route I have now in March of 2007.  I now have one student who is the only original student who was riding when I started it.  She is a Senior this year.  She was a third grader when I started.

It is a difficult job while you are driving, watching the road, tending misbehaving children, and watching for other drivers who are not watching what they are doing.

I guess I am writing this because I know many School Districts are in need of good bus drivers; people who love and care for kids.  If you are one of those go to your local School District and talk to them about driving a bus.

If you do it for the money you will not make it.  If you do it because of the kids, and you enjoy it.  You will do great.

I am writing this from the banks of Flat Creek.

-tim

Tomato Plants

For where my wife and I live we planted tomato plants earlier than we probably should have.  We however had the opportunity to purchase some plants that were big and  healthy for a very good price; and I purchased ten of them; so they needed in the ground.

On Thursday April 09 I purchased 10 Hybrid-Big Ds from a former Cassville School Teacher, and Bus driver who had purchased several from someone he knew.  I was told these plants are selling in Walmart and other places for 6 – 8 dollars per plant.  He charged considerably less.

On Saturday April 11 in the early evening hours we (Madge and I) put them in our garden.  I have been concerned with frost dangers for the earliness of the time; but I thought of a very good cover for them.

We have a trampoline in our backyard, that goes unused for weeks on end.  I got to thinking;  “You know the grass grows beautifully under that thing.  Why not pull it down over the plants.”  I did that this morning.  Now no frost worry.  Now if there is a hard freeze or something, that will be a different story.

Looking forward to having some good tomatoes this Summer.

From the banks of Flat Creek.

-tim

Predictions

I am not a fan of prognostications; especially early ones.  A farmer cannot make a decision to not plow the ground because it looks like it might rain; or even if the weather people have predicted that it is going to rain.  The field would never get plowed.

What set this off I guess is because our School for which I drive a School bus, cancelled school today with only rain falling; upon the prediction of ice and snow on the way.

I know it is a safety issue.  We do  not want to get caught on the road with hundreds of children on the school bus, with a possibility of sliding into the ditch or another vehicle.

I will applaud their decision when the ice and snow, or snow and ice come.  I just do not like making decisions like this based on the predictions of faulty people, and their man made equipment.

It was probably a good decision, but that is yet to be seen.  From the banks of Flat Creek.

-tim

Spring 2012 – School is Out

May 17 was the last day of School at Cassville R-IV School District in Cassville, MO.  That is about 11 days earlier than last year.

We had a rather mild Winter, so we had fewer days to make up due to weather, ice, snow and such things.  We only had one snow day, and we made it up by getting out a bit later than scheduled.

Anyway, School is out; Summer is on the way, and boy am I glad to see it.

Have a great finish to Spring, and a whole Summer of warmth, rain, and sunshine.

The Blessings of the LORD of hosts be with you.

-tim

The First Snow

On Tuesday December 6 we got our first measurable snow.  It was in fact the first I had seen this season.  By that I mean I had not even noticed a flake or anything until I got up about 2:30 a.m. and noticed in the lights there was a pretty serious amount of snow falling.  It did end up being less than an inch, but it was hazardous.

We had school that day, but I think there were a few of us drivers who were probably thinking, “What are we doing out here?”  I was probably one of them, yet we just did our job, picked up those kids, and brought them into school.

On the way into the bus the road did not seem slick.  Driving was pretty normal.  The snow seemed to be dry and blowing off the road as you drove over it; however it was packing under those wheels,  I guess, and it became a sheet of ice on some roads.

When I pulled out from Wildcat Drive onto Business 37 by the Administration Building my bus went sideways, and into a sign, breaking out the right rear clearance light, and I noticed later a mark on the sign.  I saw one driver in the ditch on his side on Highway 76 East of what is known as Bates Corner.  I rarely am stressed about driving, but this morning was an exception to that.  It is probably a good thing that I was.

Without further incident or accident every bus made it safely back into school with all the children who rode that morning.

Just to note: our people at the school who make the decisions concerning weather conditions do a good job, and this morning was no different; considering the time and conditions.  It was not slick, then it was.  There was many incidents/accidents that morning, but thankfully not many were too serious; that I know of anyway.

Now safe and warm on the banks of Flat Creek.

-Tim

School Has Started Again

Cassville R-IV Schools began on August 18, 2011.  And man, did my route change.  It is a little longer.
I now go down to the place by the Lake I did when I first took the route four years ago.  Down there I pick up two little girls who are a couple of sweet little girls, but need to learn how to stay in their seats, and be quiet; especially one of them; the youngest.

I do not think people realize how much of a distraction moving around and a loud voice can be to a bus driver.  It really is though.  One sudden move can call the driver’s attention to the mirror and away from the road.  Sure we have training, and experience, yet, even the best and most professional driver can mess up, by a child’s scream and such as that.

If you are a parent; please teach your small children to be seated; and a non-distraction.  It will go a long way in a peaceful ride on the School Bus and a long life for your child and the others on the bus.
I do not want to see any of them hurt, nor do I enjoy the idea of taking them to see their Principal.  If I must though, I must and will do so.
I will be taking care of; and most drivers I know will be taking good care of your children on the way to school.  There is no other way.
Tim A. Blankenship