Living in a rural environment can mean long bus rides for the students in our school district. When Secret Agent Farmer Man was growing up, it was no exception. His family homestead was about 20 minutes from town, but on a school bus that could easily stretch out to an hour, with so many stops along the route.
Thus, the kids on the bus had a system worked out with each other, and the bus driver. As soon as the bus came off the highway, there sat a country store. Yes, the kind with bologna by the pound, old men gossiping, and candy galore. Those centers of rural communities that have, mostly, died away. The country store, in this story, is pictured below. Deteriorated with age and covered with trees, it was quite the place in its heyday.
One kid on the bus would be the designated shopper. My husband reports that all kids on the bus would take a turn at this. The shopper would take orders, collect money, and wait for the driver to stop at the store.
The driver would then leave said shopper at the store while he drove a 2-mile loop on the road pictured here. He would drop off a family at their farm and drive back to the store.
The shopper would get back on the bus and disperse all purchases and change.
After hearing about this I don't know what disturbed me more, the fact that the driver let off an unsupervised kid, or that they sometimes bought cigarettes for the older kids on the bus. Though, I suppose if any misbehavior went on, the parents heard about it before any of them arrived home.
"A small town has as many eyes as a fly."