From Pipi’s Pasture: Riding the bus
Each morning around seven o’clock I sip my coffee while watching the school bus as it rounds the corner of the county road in front of Pipi’s Pasture. It makes a stop just up the road and the sight takes me back to the years my siblings and I rode the bus to Craig to attend Moffat County High School.
We girls (Charlotte, Darlene, and I) attended Morapos School, just down the road from our ranch home, through eighth grade. Our brother Duane, some years younger than us, started school at Morapos and finished grade eight at Hamilton School before attending high school. Getting to the high school meant riding the bus over thirty miles round trip each day, plus about fourteen miles by car to meet the bus. When I think about those days, I wonder where we got the energy to do it.
We had to get down to Highway 13, at the Morapos/Deer Creek turnoff, pretty early—maybe 7:30 A.M.—so that meant that we had to be up and around early. I think that Dad ate breakfast first and then went out to the barn to milk the cow. He also helped us by feeding our 4-H steers in the mornings so that we had time to get ready for school—at least during the winter months. Once he brought the milk back to the house, we were ready to jump in the car.
In all of the years of meeting the school bus, I remember only one time that we didn’t make it to the bus stop. That time the car pushed snow as Dad struggled to drive through the drifts, and finally it was time to give up and go back home.
In the late afternoon, after school was out, Dad met us at the highway. Sometimes, when the roads were clear and the weather was good, Mom met us so Dad could finish ranch work. When we got home there was time to change clothes and eat a quick snack before doing chores. We had a firm rule about chores—they were done at 6:00 A.M. and 6:00 P.M.—which included feeding and brushing our steers. I can remember finishing my homework, especially algebra, while my steer ate his supper.
It is important to add that, depending on the year, there were also other high school kids in the neighborhood. When that happened, parents took turns driving us to and from the highway. In later
years the school district purchased a small bus and hired a local person to drive kids back and forth from the bus stop.
During my high school years there were lots of kids who rode the bus to Craig. In addition to our ranch location there were kids who lived at the oil camp at Loyd, located south of Hamilton, from the bustling community of Hamilton, and all along the way to Craig. Most of us were also 4-H members.
One of our favorite bus drivers was Mr. Roth who taught science at the high school and later became principal. I don’t remember many negative incidents on the bus, except for the year that somebody put a dead cat aboard. The bus was stopped, nobody admitted to knowing anything about the cat, but finally one teen heroine picked up the cat and took it off the bus. We went on to school.
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