Friday, July 05, 2013

Bus Report #755

Early last week I was waiting for the 22, not paying attention to anything, when out of the corner of my eye I noticed a petite figure shuffling towards me.
Even without his bright yellow crossing guard uniform, I recognized Mr. Henry Taylor, the world's oldest school crossing guard.
He smiled and gave me one of his trademark slow waves. And then there he was, in a green bomber jacket and a black watch cap.
Standing up, he was even shorter than I'd always thought. Maybe an inch or two shorter than me, and I'll never reach the shelf above my stove without a stretch.

"Rachel," he said, in his deep yet also fragile sounding voice. "Hello!"
I took off my headphones and grinned at him. "Mr. Taylor, good morning," I said. "Are you on summer vacation?"
He nodded and said, "I just got back, from St. Louis. I've got another few weeks, then school starts again."
He told me all about his trip, a family reunion. He hadn't seen his family all together for years.
"My baby brother's getting up there, he's almost eighty," Mr. Taylor said. "My sister too." He laughed, throwing his head back. "I'm not getting any younger, myself."

In that moment, I wanted to wrap him in bubble wrap, wanted to give him a gentle hug. Talking to him, I missed my grandfathers immensely.

"Sounds like you had a great time," I said.
"Oh, yes," Mr. Taylor said. "You know, who can say when I'll see any of them again?"
We chatted a little more. He asked about Lacey.
"She got a new job," I said. "Started the other day, or so I've heard."
"Yes, she told me she was hoping for a promotion, too bad we missed each other," he said.

We were still chatting when the construction worker I can never understand walked up. He nodded to us both, and then Mr. Taylor gave him a hearty hello, and the construction worker said hello and turned his attention to trying to see the bus coming down over the hill.

"Well, I should be on my way," Mr. Taylor said. "Nice to see you, Rachel."
"Likewise, sir," I said.

He shuffled off.


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