by Tanya Kieneker

I went to high school in Sparwood, BC. I’ll give $20 to anyone who knows where that is. (I’m actually not going to – just to give you fair warning.) I moved there in grade 9 from outside of Toronto. We rolled into town on April Fool’s Day and I was convinced my parents were pulling a joke on us. As Mom and Dad finished paperwork for our house, my sister and I decided to check out the mall.

sparwooddumptruckFifteen seconds later we were done. Talk about culture shock.

There are two sections to Sparwood—the main downtown area and “The Heights.” It sounds fancier than it is. Trust me. Basically it’s just another part of town, up higher, separated by a bridge over the Elk River.

But because we lived SO far away from school (note sarcasm), we were lucky enough to get to take the bus. A few months later when it was -40° Celsius for weeks on end, we were pretty happy with the bus ride.

I have a few memories of riding to school during those high school years. Like the first time the bus slowed down to let deer cross the street. I was so excited, motioning and pointing to those around me, only to be met with eye rolls. Apparently the city girl didn’t quit fit in yet. Or the time everyone was pushing and shoving as the bus pulled up to us (so eager to get on first)…and it stopped on my foot. Yup, the entire front wheel stopped directly on top of my toes. That was fun.

More than 20 years later (gulp), my life has come full circle a little. My husband Chris is one of ACS’ bus drivers. Every few days he comes home with some comical story of something that happened on that day’s run.

Like the time he overheard a couple of grade 3 students discussing the existence of Sasquatch. “God wouldn’t make something and then not tell us about it!”

Or like the time a kid threw up in the aisle and the amazing, wonderful older brother cleaned it up. Ok, that one’s not too comical. But Chris was pretty happy with how that one turned out.

Every now and then the stories involve our son Jaydon. Lucky kid gets to sit right behind his Dad on the bus for an hour-and-a-half every day. Kind of hard to misbehave in that scenario. However, there have been a few good stories for us to laugh about. Like this one…

Sometimes Chris will let Jaydon and a friend play games on his phone to pass the time. It is a very long ride after all. There’s never an issue as they chat and take turns and at times giggle. Just a few weeks ago, Chris was checking through his phone for something and discovered what those giggles may have been about.

What can I say…. He’s in grade 2. And all boy. At least he’s making better memories on the bus than I did in Sparwood. We’ll have to save those photos, so that one day, 20+ years from now, he can do his own reminiscing about all the things that happened on the bus.