Updated date:

Mr. Cox and His Chewing Gum: A School Bus Tale

Kenneth is a rural citizen of Hamilton, Ala., and has begun to observe life and certain things and people helping him to write about them.

Not that I want to be a smart aleck here, but right now I can save you a lot of valuable time. That’s really what life is all about today, right, saving time? Sure, it is. And to do my part of this serious social skill, I am going to start off with telling you the elements of this hub: joy, safety, happiness and sadness—four rock-solid emotions that help any hub fly.

 Vintage Ford school bus.

Vintage Ford school bus.

Truth be Told__________

this hub really has nothing to do with a school bus. But to stop confusion in its tracks, I put a school bus photo on this narrative—a vintage model (top) and modern edition at the bottom. Me personally? I didn’t like to ride any of the school buses that I had to board when I was going to school. Just as long as the loud mouth bullies just kept to their work of harassing the innocent students thus leaving me and my friends alone, that was really all that mattered to us.

This piece is really about the first school bus driver that I ever had: Mr. Linyon Cox and I guess here, but his first name is a mystery. Some pronounce it by saying LeNN-Yon or maybe LeeNYon. I tried to learn how to say his first name correctly due to the fact that people in (my day) 1961, people cared more about their name and identity than they do in 2018. We just identified our good-hearted school bus driver, Mr. Cox. Not Mr. Cocks or Mr. Coxx, but Cox—the same way that famed bass player and personal friend of the late Jimi Hendrix, Billy Cox, spelled his last name.

Now Enjoy the Four Elements__________

that I said in the beginning would help to be the foundation of this hub: joy, safety, happiness and sadness. Fact: all of these four elements are important, but the truth is, I could replace one or even not use but three of the four and you would not know the difference. And again, I am trying hard to not be a smart alec.

The First Hub Element is Joy – and with Mr. Cox, his smiling face was the first thing that I seen on my very first day of first grade. Mr. Cox and his chewing gum. I never learned what brand he chewed, but my friend, he chewed the daylights out of his gum. Later in years, I was talking to God one day and it occurred to me that I should have been thankful (at that time with Mr. Cox) that he wasn’t a chewing tobacco addict. I mean, to see him chew tobacco with the vengeance he put to the chewing gum would have been worth selling tickets for. Mr. Cox’s gums were going 90 to nothing when he was in the zone with a bus full of students and if chewing a pack of gum per hour kept his driving skills sharp, thank God.

The Second Hub Element is Safety – and again, with the gum here. Along with Mr. Cox’s excellent driving skills and his gums going at it like there would be no chewing gum tomorrow, he also had an extra-sharp of observation as he drove us to and from New Home School. More than once I would sit near the the front of the bus just to watch “The Mr. Cox Chewing Gum Show” and now, he would keep both eyes shooting from left to right just to make sure that there were no wild animals or wild kids hiding somewhere in the bushes who might jump out causing us to meet with some accidents. But you put Mr. Cox’s chewing gum along with his laser-like eye movement, Mr. Cox had THE safest bus in the entire school district. (e.g. “K.I.T.T.” on Knight Rider’s hood had a red laser moving from left to right).

Third Hub Element Belongs to: Happiness – and I can attest to the fact that when I was on Mr. Cox’s bus, all was right with the world. Sometimes Mr. Cox did have to be a mild disciplinarian when a couple of those bullies (I told you about) in the beginning. All Mr. Cox had to do was say, “Haw, haw, now look-a here, boys!” And that was that. He never had to stop the bus to paddle their butts or even raise his voice. I wish, (among the wishes that never came true), that someone, even me, had submitted his name for election to the Nobel Peace Prize or even TIME’s Man of The Year Award. Either one fit Mr. Cox because his daily life was a life lesson of some sort.

My Last Hub Element had to be Sadness – and now I am wishing that I had not even published ‘sadness’ because sadness is a Buzz-Kill for any occasion. No one really prays to be sad. Well, to be honest, I am sure that there are some folks in our massive world who pray, “Dear God, thank you for every blessing and I have to say. I was a bit too happy yesterday, so God, would you, if you see your way clear, to let me be a little sad today. Amen.” I just hope no one really prays that prayer. But sadness did rear its scaly head a few years ago I was told. Mr. Cox was diagnosed with Dementia had to be admitted to an assisted living facility just so some professionals could take care of him.

Did Mr. Cox take his chewing gum along when he was admitted to the nursing facility? I do not know. But I was told that everyone who knew him when they visited him would remark on his wide and beaming smile like the one that he wore while he drove his school bus.

I also wonder if Mr. Cox (with that “beast” Dementia) knows right now if he is aware of that wide and beaming smile? To that I have to reply: Does it matter?

August 24, 2018_________________________________________________

Modern school bus.

Modern school bus.

© 2018 Kenneth Avery


Kenneth Avery (author) from Hamilton, Alabama on August 31, 2018:

Mr. Happy -- in your case, my good friend and ally, I see your comment and hub intro's as fine wine that ferments by the second, daylight, dawn, and sundown for many unmeasured thought processes until . . .you are given the Nobel Peace Prize or Man of The Year Award or Time's Man of The Year with a cover photo and the acalades just keep on rolling.

As for moi, I am happy being your Second and happy in your shadow, but do NOT take me for granted.

There are still undiscovered documents about Hitler and the Third Reich that we can only dream about and certainly not an old boy like me in rural Bama. No, suh.


Time for me to nap. Peace and happiness to you and have a Safe and Quiet Labor Day.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on August 31, 2018:

"how the two of us took the structure of life and re-wrote it to suit our needs." - This is a mind-blowing statement if one is to really think about it (in general, not necessarily about You, or I). Perception is really a big lie. Or we can use the term that Indian gurus use: Maya (Illusion).

There is so much more to Being than this three dimensional perspecitve but few chose to venture down the path of search and discovery. It is a tough and often lonely road but extremely rewarding, in my opinion.

Alrighty, I'm outta here (I. Kant and F. Nietzsche have been running through my mind this afternoon). All the best!

P.S. And ya, that was a good intro! lol : )

Kenneth Avery (author) from Hamilton, Alabama on August 31, 2018:

Mr. Happy -- My Great Friend, I've said this time and time again, but YOU need to pen a novel about your memories and how you met up with an off-center hubber from Hamilton, Ala., and how the two of us took the structure of life and re-wrote it to suit our needs.

IPretty good intro, huh?)

And I love how you picked out a few of my choice phrases and then explain them.

Mr. Happy, have a Safe and Happy (no pun intended) Labor Day.

Write me soon.

Kenneth Avery (author) from Hamilton, Alabama on August 31, 2018:

Dear Doris -- I love how you interject your own sweet memories (that you left on this hub) while making the current remarks even better and you are right. Two southerners working their way through the world and what a time it is, my friend.

Believe this or not, but it was my time that I spent on Mr. Cox' school bus and how he taught us a lot about life all without him even knowing that (this) was what he was doing.

Peace and visit anytime.

Kenneth Avery (author) from Hamilton, Alabama on August 31, 2018:

Ioannis Arvanitis -- thank you, my good friend, for stopping by and leaving me such a touching remark. I pray that God blesses you richly.

Kenneth Avery (author) from Hamilton, Alabama on August 31, 2018:

Dear Liz -- thank you for such a sweet comment, and I am so glad that these pieces are making you happy.

Write me soon.

Liz Westwood from UK on August 27, 2018:

I am enjoying your school time reminiscences.

Ioannis Arvanitis from Greece, Almyros on August 26, 2018:

No, my brother, it doesn't matter! But I am sure that Mr Cox's Sunny Soul knows! Thank you for the beauty of this Hub and the four elements. Your Heart is the fifth...



Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on August 25, 2018:

I'm glad you added the "saving time" to "that's what life is really all about...because it clarified the preceding sentence. Not that I would have though you meant "being a smart alek." Or would I? LOL, between you and Kenneth, you never know. Just two Southerners trying to make their way in the world.

I lived two blocks too close to the border line to be able to ride the school bus to school in junior high and high school. I was even closer in elementary school and I walked the hills through ice and snow. We just had one car and daddy would come home and drive me to elementary school in the rain. You remember the old joke, it was X miles to and from school and uphill all the way. It may as well have been because it was so up one hill and down the other. We all loved our combination bus driver and school custodian, Mr. Davis. He didn't chew gum, but he was a sweetheart, too. You bring back memories, dear sweet Ken.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on August 25, 2018:

"That’s really what life is all about today, right, saving time?" -I can't agree on this one Amigo. Life's about growing and transforming. What's the catterpillar that doesn't transform into a butterfly?

"I didn’t like to ride any of the school buses that I had to board when I was going to school." - Ohh, You had busses taking You to school, nice! I walked. My father drove me to school on my first day, so I knew how to get there and from the second day, I walked the fifteen to twenty minutes to get to school (in grade 1). Growing up under the Soviet Iron Curtain, I could not even dream that there were kids in this world being driven to school in special kids' busses.

"Just as long as the loud mouth bullies just kept to their work of harassing the innocent students thus leaving me and my friends alone, that was really all that mattered to us." - Go for the loudest, biggest, most obnoxious individual and drop him quick. Then, everyone else behaves. I do not promote violence but I also do not turn the other cheek. I'm not a punching bag lol

"he chewed the daylights out of his gum" - I've often enjoyed to fill up my mouth with as many pieces of gum as possible. Then, You try chewing, when You can barely close your mouth. Haha!! It's fun. : )

"No one really prays to be sad." - Well, You're right: I've never prayed to be sad but I am happy for being sad sometimes. I'm happy for being angry sometimes. I'm happy for being in pain sometimes and so on. We do not know light, without the darkness. So, I love darkness just as much as I love light.

"let me be a little sad today" - Haha, no I certainly do not say that but I do say: "thank You for the lesson" after the darkness goes : )

"I just hope no one really prays that prayer." - Here's a little secret about me: I never hope. Hope is useless. Hope has no power. I chose to wish and to manifest. Wishes are clear, direct and hold the power of those who create them. Da-na'-ho-we-yo.

"Does it matter?" - It does and it doesn't. Life is full of Paradoxes.

Love reading your thoghts. Thank You for "putting them on paper". : )

All the very best!

Related Articles