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Adventures of Ron Huckleberry...#7 Getting to ride atop a Trails Way bus
Ron’s dad manages a loan company in Huntsville and often makes trips to Nashville to attend meetings. We are in the mist of WWII as its 1944. Even though Ron's dad has a car, he certainly can not get enough gas to make trips to Nashville by car. Therefore he most always travels by Greyhound Bus.
Its summer time and Dad decides to take me with him on the bus to expose me to something new. Mom phones the bus company the night before to check on the bus schedule and chooses the bus leaving a 10 a.m. The drive to Nashville takes about two hours and we will be there in time for Dad’s 2 p.m. meeting.
Mom drives us to the bus station a 9:30 a.m., which should give us plenty of time to get tickets. When we arrive we are shocked to see the bus terminal packed with soldiers in uniform. Hundreds of suitcases and duffel bags are piled outside the terminal. The place is very hectic.
When Dad goes to the counter to get our tickets he is told that there are no seats available on the 10 a.m. bus and we may be able to catch the 5 p.m. bus. Dad tries to explain that he has a very important meeting to attend, but his pleading isn't enough.
Dad is extremely upset. He grabs my arm and we walk quickly up the narrow stairs to the terminal office. There Dad again pleads for one seat. I would even sit on his lap for the two hours drive. The manager refuses.
Dad and I were just leaving the terminal when the bus drives in to the terminal. Suddenly Dad grabs my arm and we again rush to the manager’s office. Dad asks the manager to come quickly with him out side. “Why?” asks the manger.
“I have a solution to my problem.” Dad states, as we rush down the stairs and to the bus. “There…look up there.” Dad points.
“What am I supposed to look at?” The manager asks.
“Look on top of the bus. There is plenty of room for several soldiers and us to ride in the luggage storage area.” The manager was not too agreeable and express concern that he and the company were liable if any one got injured etc.
Dad would not give up. I’ll give you written release for any liability for my son and me.
The manager finally agrees and we all rush back to his office where dad types out a liability release statement and signs in in front of a secretary witness.
We rush back to the bus and the manager explains the situation to the bus driver. At first he flatly refuse to drive because he fears he will get in trouble. Finally the manager has it under control and driver climbs on top of the bus to survey the luggage compartment, which has only three suit cases stored there. He yells down that there is enough room for Dad and me…and six soldiers. Dad and I climb the narrow metal ladder up to the luggage compartment and the driver helps us in. The driver then goes down and picks six soldiers. These six young soldiers are as excited as I am about being able to ride on top of a Greyhound bus.
The bus is packed and is fifteen minutes late leaving Huntsville.
From the minute the bus departs the terminal most of the young soldiers are yelling, waving, and screaming at everyone we pass, especially the young women. There are several stops enroute, but the bus is full and the driver only stops, explains that the bus is full, and drives off.
To say the ride was exciting would be an under statement. It was heaven. I saw things that I had never seen, the young soldiers loved taking with Dad, and the strength of the wind blowing on us was something I’ve not experience since. One soldier has a box of candy. When he tries to pass sit around the wind blows it out of his hand and we see it fly away.
As usual Dad has a hotel room reserved for the night. I think I prayed that we would have to ride on top of the bus back to Huntsville, but I had no luck then or on any other trip with Dad.
© Gene Hudgens
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