Have mercy, been waiting on the bus all day.
I wait for the bus. I don’t know when it is scheduled to arrive, but I know that I have an express ticket.
I come from a long line of bus riders. I suspect most were not waiting as I do. They may have been surprised when the big silver dog pulled over, air brakes exhaling in a big sigh, boney hand on the chrome lever that opens the last door.
Have mercy, old bus be packed up tight.
I’ve done what I can over the years to delay the arrival. Tried to manage the risk factors. Do this, avoid that, get checked-out, watch your numbers.
One thing you can’t manage, though: genetics. Your bloodline is uniquely yours, and in the end it punches your ticket.
Cardiovascular disease. Heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, embolism, etc., etc., etc. Not many old branches in the family tree.
The stories are part of the family lore. Great-grandfather on my father’s side, dead in the outhouse. Great grandfather on my mother’s side, home for lunch — walked by the kitchen window but never made it to the back door.
The latest is a first cousin. Healthy guy. Watches his diet, marathon runner, great shape at age 50. Heart arteries clogged-up like a toilet in a day-care center. Six bypasses. Got lucky, that one. Works in the medical profession, and only had to walk across a parking lot to get to the emergency room. He followed his dad, who was also 50 when he had the same experience.
My dad was 50. He was working outside, and didn’t come home for lunch. Appeared to have sat down on the tailgate of his pickup truck to try and catch his breath, then laid back for one final fine view of that sweet blue Alabama sky.
I’m 53 now. I figure the bus is running a little behind, so I try to remember to enjoy the wait. Read some, write some, work some, and look at my baby grand-daughter with wide-eyed wonder, as one might rightly examine a Michelangelo or a Renoir.
I realize some will read this as morbid. Not at all. You’re waiting on the bus too. We all are. You might not like to think about it.
I’ve got my ticket in my hand, just in case she rolls up.
Well I’ll be ridin’ on that bus till I Cadillac.
Words from ZZ Top, “Waiting for the Bus.”