The Bandera Courier
Bandera Courier
Thursday December 7, 2017
 
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2017-01-12

Good Old 27J

Doug White

My, my, how time flies. There I was way back in July 1990, upon retirement from the USAF. Gee, that was 27 years ago! I started a new adventure driving a school bus for Bandera ISD. I read up on the new driving test for a CDL, i.e. a Commercial Drivers License. Upon completion, I applied for a job with Bandera ISD.
My hands on driving test was in the bus that I would be driving for many a year, good old 27J. When I was asked what name I was going to go by, I said without hesitation Mr. J. It turned out to be a very good decision on my part. Upon completion of the driving course in Kerrville, the instructor that taught our class said, "If you wish to attempt to parallel park the school bus you may try it here."
Gosh, I had to try that even though I knew that I would never accomplish the task. Well, to the surprise of my classmates, the instructor and me, I parallel parked the 72 passenger bus perfectly 6" from the curb. I was amazed that I did and believe it or not, I never had to do it again. It was a one time good deal!
Little did I realize, that driving that wonderful 27J bus and being known as Mr. J. would impact my school bus driving days. Even to this day, I have folks see me around town or shopping in a store that come up to me and say with a gleam in their eyes, "Are you Mr. J.? The school bus driver?" When I say, "Yes, I am," they smile and say, "You were my school bus driver way back in the early 90's! You were the greatest bus driver we ever had!" Then I flash back in my mind, and see my early driving days!
During the driving test, the DPS Officer, Butler, asked me while I was backing up 27J in one of Bandera's neighborhoods, "Mr. White, what kind of dog do you think that is on that porch over there?" I replied, "Man I don't know what kind of dog is over there, I am trying to back up this big dog!" Then the DPS officer replied, "Mr. White, you are going to be a great bus driver!"
Then he added, "Are you sure you don't want to work in a nursing home? That would be much less stress."
Anyhow I have been driving for Bandera 27 years and closing in on 30 years, that would be my goal. Over the years, I have been pretty lucky, with no major accidents, just Mickey Mouse problems, like hooking up the rear bumper on a fence and pulling up 30 feet of fencing! That 27J, didn't even strain with that deal. Then a blow out of a rear tire was a bit exciting. That made for a mushy ride. Over all, that 27J was a pretty darn good bus, it got me through the school year with very few maintenance problems.
Oh, by the way that person that recognized me as their bus driver, was picking up his "head start" son at good ole Tadpoles in Lakehills, on my first run of a Head Start in bus #18!