One day I pulled onto the end of the Post Road in Bowdoinham right behind a school bus. This experience generally wouldn’t register on my happiness meter, but this time it did. It became one of my most memorable trips along the Post Road ever. Let me explain.

I caught up to the bus as it slowed and the warning lights came on. The warning lights progressed to “stop at all costs,” but I wasn’t about to pass anything on the Post Road. I knew what to expect. A student, usually in the back of the bus, would collect his things and say goodbye to all the individuals on the bus, especially the driver. Then the student would go down the steps, walk to the wand that projects forward and wait for the driver, having seen nothing passing, to wave him over. I watched to the left of the bus for the student.

That would mean that we’d move to the next stop, and repeat, repeat, repeat.

That was when the learning began for me.

While I was looking to the left, I couldn’t help but notice the dog of the house. Quivering. Tongue out. Dancing in place.

The student ran to that dog, hugged him, buried his face in the shoulder fur, while the lunch pail and books settled in random places in the driveway. Forgetting about my destination, I was enjoying the best part of the day for these two. A horn from behind me jolted me into the real world.


We caught up with the bus just as it was slowing to let another student off. This time, I looked toward the house on the left and on the right. The one on the right had the dog, squirming, hopping, turning himself inside out until she was in the arms of her student.

Two more stops down, the bus driver stayed on the side and the lights went off. I thought he was giving me more time to watch the show, but no. He was waving me and the homebody behind me by. I waved the driver behind me and signaled to the bus that I wanted to stay behind. It worked. Four more miles of the Post Road, and I was not disappointed.

Sometimes the student gave his gear to a parent and then attended to the dog. Sometimes the student ignored the parent. Sometimes the student ignored the dog. In the latter case, the dog didn’t notice.

The bus finally lost me in a (dogless) parking lot behind some school.

I got to contemplating how the Post Road dogs must convene a support group when their students get on the bus in the morning.

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