My brother and I used to take the Public Service bus to get to high school. The school was in
We took the #60 bus, which came down tree lined
Snake eyes don't necessarily mean a thing as to how a person truly is. But his eyes were steady and beady and watchful.
I can remember a few people who got on the bus every day and I remember where they got on. There was a lady who boarded in
There was a man who sat near us in the back of the bus. He always headed straight for the rear seats and usually found one near the back door. That was the area where we sat. He always smelled like fish and wore the same clothes every day - brown baggy and oversized corduroy pants, brown shoes and an old worn green jacket. His hair was thick and oily and combed straight back. He always had a stubble of growth on his face, as if he had last shaved the afternoon before. I imagined that he worked in a factory in
The bus passed a Burroughs adding machine store in
Just inside the
And so it was, for four years. We had a lot of fun in the back of the bus and got in trouble for our antics more than once, when annoyed passengers called the school office and filed a complaint. Whereas they were more tolerant of smoking in those days, we did cross the line when we opened a can of marbles and let them roll hither and yon down the aisle. A few times there were fist fights and they created a panic, too. But the worst was when Bogey Murray set the back seat of the bus on fire. It was a cold day and he later said that he needed warmth. That is the only time I remember Mr. Reilly stopping the bus and complaining to the supervisor, who was at his post in
Several days ago, an obituary in the New York Times caught my eye. A guy I went to high school with was killed riding a motorcycle in
I am sure Mr. Reilly, too, is gone now.
I wonder if there are buses in
Mr. Reilly, can you hear me? I am older now, and do not move much from this monastery. Oh, we move around quite a lot during the day. But we do not travel much out of the cloister. I don't mind. I kind of travel a lot in my head and heart here, back and forth in time and memory. I think back on those many days when you drove the bus, when you drove us and we drove you crazy. I want to apologize for that. Dorothy Day believed that prayer was powerful enough to change even the past. So, I pray this day for the you and us that were back then. Maybe just one little prayer saved you a bump or two on the road to
Mr. Reilly, it is Christmas and my Dad will is gone two years now I am sure the two of you never met in this life. He worked in
Do you drive a bus up there? If you do, keep a lookout for a two young men who look very much alike. I am sure that they will be sitting together, catching up on old times. They would love to meet you. Pull over and give them a ride, showing them the best that Paradise has to offer. Someone who came from there said that there are many mansions, so there must be places, such nice places, places to go and a need to somehow get there.
When I, too, get there, I will look for you. Perhaps we will even be neighbors, on a beautiful tree lined street, like
My Dad would like you and I am sure that you would like him. When I, too, get there, I will look for you. Perhaps we will even be neighbors on a tree lined street, like
We can catch up on things.
Oh, and Mr. Reilly, just one more thing. Some day, you will be driving by, and you may see a young pretty woman, with dark hair and blue eyes. That's my Mom. She does quite well with new situations, but on that day she may need just a bit of help. Tell her you've been in touch with all she loves and she'll like that, and know just what you mean. She'll be anxious to start a new life with those she loved and missed while here. She and Dad gave us a touch of
Yes, it is good and has been good. It sometimes takes me time to realize that, to look back and see that it has always been that way. God manages to get us all where we need to go, like you did, Mr. Reilly. And I thought so little of it all back then. So I thank you again, and ask that you remember me in your travels up there. Thanks for all those miles, those times we traveled this life together and did not think much about what all that meant and how good and truly sacred it was and is. I send my love and prayers and deep gratitude to you, Mr. Reilly, to the man you were and the man you now are.
A blessed Christmas to you, Mr. Reilly.