“Dat Kate!” One Morning of School Bus Madness

Kate the Great was in good spirits this one, crazy Seattle morning in early Autumn of 2007. And after being so TESTY last night, too. Play play play every day day day. Even raided Gwen’s kitchen, the private abode of her mom who lived downstairs.  Raided the kitchen like a hyena turned all a loose up inside cupboards, refrigerators, garbage cans, and every darn thang. Tho she did gwarbbled up the eggs I scaramboolled up with sharp Irish cheddar. Yea, play play play all day day day. After just one visit back to Virginia, Kathryn’s grandparents on both sides of her family nicknamed her “Hurricane Kate.”

She’s such a BELOVED third grader, beloved because everyone who doesn’t live with her just ADORES her, and only 8 years old, too. Soon to be 9 years old, she’ll let you know. Kate is my wild, wild, crazy ass daughter. And I love her madly cuz she is so daggone crazy and she is clear her name is KATE and she is the only real KATIE KATE KATE this side of the Moon but she ain’t no loon!

And I’m in good spirits myself this morning, having drunk too much coffee, and being a beehive talkin’ country boy from the South who done relocated to the Northwest and tucked away my pitchfork, so started talkin’ like one to remind my lovely Emerald City lasses of their dangerous heritage. All of which drives my kids crazy cuz they HATE it and laugh and shout at me to “Stop talking like that, Dad. DAD!!!”

With a grin chock fulla sin I remind them not to eat their sloppy green eggs so high up in yonder truffalump trees for some fuzzy wuzzy buzzy Lorax will chop ‘em down cuz they hopped all over Pop stuck in a box all redded up with the itchy snitchy zicky chicken pox so Go Dogs Go!!! Go run over that darn fool cat in a hat who ate Pat all fat after he fell out of a boat on top of a goat and, oh hi, hey! HEY! Do you like my hat?

Perhaps you can tell I’ve read them too much Dr. Seuss and Junie B. Jones and not enough admonishing tales from Exodus about piercing a man’s ear with a bedpost or doorknob like an awl or about repentance upon the plains of the original Moab in Deuteronomy without even the health benefits of pedaling mountain bikes instead of worshipping golden calves like back in the ‘dus. That would hush ‘em up quick and make ‘em mind their Elders!

Talia, Kate’s little stepsister who I love like crazy ever since I helped deliver her right on to the bedroom floor one afternoon, is in Kindergarten and usually misses the bus. Today, however, she FINALLY got on the NEVERONTIME GOSHDANG GUHGUH GUBBA DABBA NABBIT bus! Her bus is never on time with what seems a different driver every other week. None of them seem to be able to maneuver their clanky leviathan between narrow city streets in Upper Fremont just South of the Zoo lined on both sides with parked cars and with a roundabout to overcome. So they QUIT! But the school bus is yellow, an obnoxious rotten MANGO yellow, and that alone makes Talia proud to ride it because mangoes are her favorite fruit, and she makes sure she gets a free Mango fruit every time she goes to a Seattle PCC. The checkout dude often discreetly glares at me with a bit of politically correct stinkeye since it was a big mango and not a little bitty plum. Well, shoot, dude, it could’ve been an enormous and very heavy WATERMELON! It’s a fruit, ain’t it?

At 8:47 AM when I was about ready to throw down the kitchen towel and stomp on it in addled frustration, I’d run outside from cleaning up in the kitchen. Talia’s Big Yellow School Bus pulls up to the curb. With yet another driver! TaTa and I hug and say goodbye and snort, and I hurry back home. There! One kid down, another to go, good thing my oldest Morgan knows how to row.

Uh-Oh! Here comes Kate’s bus at 8:50 AM, but no Kate! She’s upstairs playing with the doll house toys after I’ve done told her to put some SHOES on her foots and GIT on outa da do’! Befo I done didded walked Miss Talia around in circles to catch her everchanging bus stop. Oh Lord! O Lord! I could fall down on my knees in Seattle and cry for Jesus to help, except I’d spent far too much time in Wiccan Covens and Unitarian Universalist Churches to be caught doing any such thing in public. For if I ever did such a thing over here on this side of Lake Washington somebody would develop a politically correct TWITCH in their eyebrows big enough to hump off their GLASSES!

“KATE!” I yelled, sounding like an adult version of Junie B. Jones’s husband. “Yer bus is here! Whatchoo be doin’ upstairs!!!”


She flew down the steps barefooted.

“The bus looks like its goan!” I shouted and groaned as I ran to the office and peeketed outa the window. The big yeller bus had pulled down to the end of the block and was just waiting for Katie, lights all a blinky like Christmas. Apparently Kate has already developed a reputation with the driver, a regular driver, too, a pleasant gentleman with a cap, a nice man from the Horn of Africa. One learns patience living in countries plagued by perpetual warfare and famine.

How big a problem, after all, is an American child late for the bus when you spend your life drinking tea with bullets and bombs zipping all around? It brought back memories of when I used to work as a licensed massage therapist and professional bodyworker. There was a time many of my clients were immigrants from Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia. They all used to fight each other, many had battle scars such as healed bullet wounds and scarred-up, jagged shell fragment injuries on their bodies, and they all peacefully took turns here in America on my massage table. And the big yellow bus still sat out there in the street with lights a-blinkin’.

“It’s still heah!” I hollered once mo’. “It’s awaitin’ fer yew, girl!”

Kate looked askance with her perfectly combed fluffed-out mane of golden hair, her crescent-moon shaped scar wriggling above her third eye from toddle times when she tripped and fell once upon a time only to slam her forehead into the sharp corner of a coffee table. She spun on her sturdy left heel and whirled thru the gate, actually latching the gate behind her this time, racing barefoot to the bus, with a rubber Croc shoe-sandal under each armpit, and no jacket. And it was just starting to mist rain.

Kate made it. She got on the bus. Knowing that if she missed it she had backup plan B (a nice, loving Daddy) and backup plan C (Daddy would likely make her walk to school) and even backup plan D (she can sneak out on her bicycle when she’s not supposed to).

Dat Kate! She is SOOOOOOOOO much like KRISTINA JEAN KATAYAMA whom I’m supposed to MARRY one of these years that I can’t STAND it! Always waiting past the last minute with utter fearless confidence and relishing the madness of that testosterone rush…oops, adrenalin, adrenalin, right, Kristina?


William Dudley Bass
25 September 2007
7 March 2012
Seattle, Washington


Copyright © 2007, 2012, 2016 by William Dudley Bass. All Rights Reserved until we Humans establish Wise Stewardship of and for our Earth and Solarian Commons. Thank you.



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