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Congratulations to Amanda Hecht, who submitted one of this year's writing contest Honorable Mentions. I emailed and asked Amanda to tell me a little bit about herself and I have to say reading her response was a pleasure to read, too. I love it when people mosey on down the road, while they're telling a story. Amanda has the gift to share a simple walk and talk, about life.
Amanda's reply when I asked, "What can you tell me about yourself?"
"I have been reading at the book club since 2008. I have entered the contest a number of years, and this is the first time my entry has been selected. I enjoy Suzanne's column so much, that sometimes I just want to talk back to her, to further the conversation, and so writing my own entry is one way that I could add to the conversation.
As for hobbies, when I can find the time, there is almost nothing better than curling up with a novel. I also 'love' to act, and so have enjoyed participating in community theatre in a variety of ways in my home town. Last spring we took our play to a drama festival, and the experience was wonderful.
I have three beloved cats. I like dogs, but I 'adore' cats. I would definitely have more cats, but my husband claims that would shade me into 'crazy cat lady' territory--so I have capped the number at three. They are all special in their own ways, of course.
For work, I wear different hats. I am a pastor of small community church, and I also drive a school bus. I am in school, working on my Doctorate of Ministry. And I have three kids, the youngest of whom is just in school full-time this year, so they take up a lot of my time as well."
Thanks for entering again this year Amanda. (And you don't have too many cats. I have five!)
Take it away Amanda...
I chose to do it for some extra income. A part time job that I could fit around my other work. "I'd rather be a prison guard than a school-bus driver!" commented one family member when I announced that I was learning to drive a school bus. And she is a 6th grade teacher (so it can't be just that she doesn't like kids!).
One crisp fall morning, from my perch in the bus-driver's seat of my big old school-bus, I watched a young girl walk up her long driveway. Often my mind is focused on getting to the next stop, so that I can get everyone where they need to go on time. But on this day, as this girl walked up her driveway, I saw her pause, and then go break the newly-formed layer of ice on top of a small puddle with her boots.
And I smiled. This is one of the best reasons I can give anyone as to why I drive a school-bus. Because it reminds me of the joy of the little things in life. Things that kids often notice, but we busy, schedule-driven adults often miss.
Yes, there are days when the job is hard. Bad weather and construction can make a day's work even harder; students don't always show up on time, nor do they always behave as they should on a bus; and sometimes the weight of being responsible for so many precious lives at one time presses heavily.
But despite the hard times, there is something rewarding about driving a school bus. The hand-drawn picture saying "you are the best bus draver" (original spelling) slipped to you by a young student. The generosity of families who give gifts to their bus driver at Christmas time. The exuberant 'thank you!' when you hand out a little token to the students on special occasions. And, there is, finally, the hope that you can give back to the lives of the students that you are responsible for day in and day out. Maybe my greeting will start their day on a better path after rushing to get out the door on time. Or maybe mine will be the smile that lifts a student's spirit after a difficult day at school. It is the least I can give in return for the small joys that accompany being a school-bus driver.
Mandi (Amanda) Hecht
Honorable Mention, 2016 Write a DearReader Contest
* Congratulations to the winners of A Most Novel Revenge by Guest Author Ashley Weaver: Jan J., Jo F., Mari-Ella K., Pat H. and Nancy B.
Thanks for reading with me. It's so good to read with friends.
* This month's Penguin Classics book is THE CHARTERHOUSE OF PARMA, by Stendhal. Start reading now and be sure to enter the drawing for your chance to win a Penguin tote bag: http://www.supportlibrary.com/bc/v.cfm?L=drclassqqxqR1AFEAEE9442&c=CLASSICS
AUTHORBUZZ: FOR DUTY AND HONOR (Thriller) by Leo J. Maloney
Captured by the Russians. Imprisoned in the Gulag. Tortured by his cruelest, most sadistic enemy. To save what's important, he must risk everything. And that's when the stakes go sky-high. Dan Morgan's got to keep fighting. For duty. And honor. And even certain death.
Go to: http://authorbuzz.com/dearreader click on FOR DUTY AND HONOR to read more and to email author Leo J. Maloney, you'll get a reply.