Part of me secretly wished I still could not be heard over the two-way, that some driver in a shining wrecker would chance by, see my predicament and rescue me, with my biggest task being how to convince my cargo to keep the rescue a secret. Only in the movies.
“Where are you, 22?” came the response from base.
At least I was not leaning treacherously toward a deep ditch, or buried to the axle where a culvert was supposed to be, or worse yet, blocking traffic. I was sitting in a gravel driveway, facing the road, which was about twenty feet from my front wheels. My rear wheels, though, were mired in the mud at the back of the driveway.
To facilitate the communication, which quickly became confusing – with base and boss both trying to communicate with me at the same time – I cut off the helicopter whirring of the defrosters and the rhythmic beating of the wipers. That helped offset, too, the crescendo of complaints coming from the cargo behind me.
To assess the situation himself, my bus boss had grabbed an incoming bus and driver and a long yellow towrope, and had headed in my direction. Understandable directions to that particular driveway were not easy for me to convey; I’m sure he could not visualize where on my route I was sitting. He knew every road in the county, and he probably thought I had left it…along with my senses. Apparently still disoriented from driving backwards, I could not pinpoint my location accurately.
“What’s your 20?” said base to boss.
He was getting closer, but he was still in the fog about my exact 20. Then I had it, a good indication of my whereabouts!
“22 to boss…I’m at the house for sale by owner just past the drive of the house where I used to pick up the two high school girls whose mother had all the horses.”
All that detail. He would know for sure now!
“Boss to 22…Why don’t you teach your kids some French while you’re waiting?”
So much for clear communication. He mut have decided he could do better following his nose, and wanted me to stay off the radio.
My muddled mind in the muddy bus could not fathom how another bus could help the situation. How would it back up to me to pull me out? There was hardly room for one to boogie, much less two to tango.
But my bus boss and the other driver (wouldn’t you know it would be the one who taught me how to drive a bus) did it with ease. I think they had the situation scoped out before they even came to a complete stop at the entrance to the driveway. They pulled in, attached the towrope, shifted the cargo in the bus all to one side – I filed that trick for a next time – backed up a few yards, and voilà!
They didn’t add to my humiliation by not using the towrope, or by backing the rescue bus into the same spot to turn around and head back to school. They let me be the lookout as they backed up to my original intended turnaround, the golf course parking lot. My pride recovering, I delivered the rest of the precious cargo, mysteriously muffled, and wondered about tomorrow’s weather.