I Saw Wonderful Things

Once I drove a school bus in Iowa.

Quite a few times, actually, over

a number of years. Out in the wild,

wide places of time and place long,

long ago and I had four little boys

who rode my bus. The Vlegers.

Their last name was Vleger as I recall

and cannot forget and they always

smelled of soap and bacon, because

their mother always sent them off

to school clean and well fed and they

were well behaved, perfect little

gentlemen of various little sizes

in the seats of my bus. I drove

Number 15. Their mother, a big

handsome farm wife, would stand

with arms folded watching them

walk down to the bus in the morning

or back from the bus in the afternoon,

like a hawk, stern and vigilant and

loving of her brood and they had a

little sister, a golden haired cherub

too young for school who greeted

them and one golden afternoon

they got off the bus and the child

ran toward them with arms outstretched

and laughing and they laughed and

ran toward her and gathered around

her with books forgotten and almost

dropped and lessons unlearned

and laughed they all laughed

and walked back to the house

together beneath the gaze of their

never smiling mother, but I knew

as I sat behind the wheel of my bus

I had never seen a picture greater

of familial love in my entire life

and I have lived much longer since yet

still remember that truth after all

these years. I saw wonderful things.

Once you have, you never forget.