Saturday, March 30, 2019

Ride Along

“It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood….won’t you ride along with me?” sings Daniel Tiger, on the cartoon based on Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.

We gathered our supplies: library books and water bottles and change for paying the bus fare (shortest kids are free) and waited at the bus station downtown. The bus station is the main artery downtown and so much life is happening! There was anxiety that we had missed him, or would we get back in time for our next activity? Finally, Phillip drove up a few minutes late on bus #88.

This would be a one-hour excursion going out to the Industries for the Blind off of University Parkway, where many visually impaired people would be getting off work. Riding the bus is a wonderful experience to learn about our community.

In this photo, you’ll see Phillip’s concentrating face in the rearview mirror. To his right is his trainer, as he is still a cadet. She double checks to ensure safety for him in these early days of driving.

Knowing his insecurities about this job, I felt proud when he successfully turned a tight corner or patiently waited for the cars that zoomed around him when he needed to change lanes to get ready to turn. Phillip had wanted to chat and visit with the kids, but this turned out to be a busy route at the time slot we chose to ride, so we just sat quietly in the back. This gave us the opportunity to just ride along and pray for him and try to feel his feels.

We are becoming more united as we try different ways to support Phillip in his new endeavor, seeing first-hand how exhausting it is to maintain concentration driving a bus. Unsolicited, the boys spent a good deal of time yesterday making a new Lego creation together: the blue and white bus, you see in the photo below!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019


After 4 days of driving as a cadet, I would like to recount how full my heart is.  Full of stories of human kindness and learning.  Full of learning from noble bus drivers with years of experience, who look forward to seeing their passengers.  I want to write about the thrill of safely making tight turns and the sense of accomplishment of completing a 9-hour straight shift.

But I am exhausted.   I am so very tired that all I really want to do is sleep.

Check my route calendar to see how early my days have begun.

Also, check it for a chance to COME RIDE.  You will be glad you did. And I will be more than glad to see you, a familiar face!

Editor's NOTE: if you read an earlier version of this he had been too tired to get me, his editor, to look for typos.  He should always ask me first before publishing.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Serenity Now

A vlog entry that celebrates driving my first route.  What a blessing to take the wheel as a cadet on route 86.   I commuted on route 86 when I worked in the Innovation Quarter and it is the main route for many of my neighbors to get to work.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

License to Drive

Phew!  I was nervous this morning about taking the final test for my Commercial Drivers License (CDL) Class B, with a Passenger endorsement.

The CDL exam begins with the driver providing a detailed pre-trip inspection of the bus.  It moves to the passenger compartment, then the driver compartment inspection. Next comes testing of the air-brakes.

If you pass those obstacles, you move to the driving test on a closed course which involves straight-line backing, off-set backing, and docking in an alley.  Not easy.

Then the final nerve-racking part...driving on the open road while the examiner gives you every imaginable tough situation to drive through, including a pedestrian wandering absentmindedly in front of the bus. What a relief to have passed!

I have a new appreciation and respect for how bus drivers keep the public safe.

Want to ride with me?

I will be updating my schedule on this public calendar.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Good Neighbor

Fred Rogers, followed the call to love your neighbor as your self. His example shaped my life in profound ways. Reading Maxwell King's book is helping me understand the impact of Rogers' ministry in my own life and vocation.

When I first moved to Waughtown I was afraid of my neighbors.  I overcame those fears in time by getting to know them.  One of the ways it happened was through friendships struck up while waiting at the bus stop. Over the intervening years of riding the bus, I came to realize how the bus brought us together. It brought us together though we were different in all the socio-economic variables that divide. These divisions also make us afraid of one another.

Winston-Salem, with its racial history, stark segregation, and income inequality needs ministers like Fred Rogers to help us understand how love casts out fear.   He was not afraid to love his neighbor and he worked to show the dignity that each of us possesses, just the way we are.

When he sings, "I always wanted to have a neighbor just like you" it is a beautiful message of unconditional love.  How can we see more of our neighbors from this perspective?

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Sick Kids

Nothing conjures up my insecurities like a loved one being sick. Last week our 5 year old son had double pink eye.  Phillip tends to think waiting it out is the best policy for dealing with most non-emergent illnesses.  Pink eye is very contagious, and I feared waiting it out would mean many days of school and work missed!

Thankfully we have physician friends who are committed to social justice and part of our network of support, so I phoned in a request for some drops.  These magical drops I have heard about.  These drops that make you no longer contagious within 24 hours.

Walking to the Waughtown pharmacy where my husband and our physician friend know the pharmacist/owner, felt hopeful.  I swallowed my pride and said, "This is embarrassing, but we don't have any insurance currently. Is there any way you can help?"   We don't currently have insurance because bus drivers begin as part time employees without benefits.

What a blessing to hear, "We give all our customers the very best price, especially those with no insurance." I bought the drops for a very reasonable price.   Thankfully, little James and I are the only ones who needed them so far, and boy was I glad to get them.  

Learning how to communicate our need for help can be humiliating or at least humbling.  I feel grateful that friends could help us in our time of need.  How about neighbors who are without insurance? How do they feel? How can we draw more people into social support or networks that provide care?