A couple of weeks ago, I realized I wanted to do something BIG to celebrate my (then) upcoming birthday. Something different and exciting, but not dangerous. Something friendly and kind but not common. I had seen the large bus that is parked in the Bearden section of Kingston Pike in Knoxville (TN). And I had noticed that, after a while, a second bus had joined the first one. Both of them are wildly and beautifully painted all over with colorful designs and phrases promoting love and peace. So yes, this would be the perfect plan ... an exciting birthday treat without my needing to parachute out of an airplane :) I made the call, reserved one of the buses, and Dixie Lee and I boarded the bus at 2:30 yesterday (September 1st) in front of our house. Dixie Lee, herself, had celebrated her own birthday recently ... her 12th, so she is an aging doggie but nonetheless took everything in stride and enjoyed the adventure.
Our driver, whose name is Carlene, is a wonderful lady and a very skilled bus driver. As we drove around, I felt good as I realized I was sort of giving a gift to the community as well as myself. People beeped their horns, waved their hands, and smiled ... as the Big Love Bus, with its complete set of sound effects and music, wove its way from one end of town to another. Something so cheerful was and is so majorly needed. We made a few scheduled stops, first going through a church parking lot where the few people still inside had been alerted that we'd be driving through (we sounded the sirens, bells, and whistles for their amusement); then we headed "north" and stopped in front of my best friend's house ... he came strolling across his lawn, camera in hand, and took some great pictures of the bus and one of me on the bus stairway. I asked Carlene to "play the animal sounds" and there was a chorus of moos, roars, and all sorts of animal noise, which was tolerated cheerfully by my friend and his neighbors :) We needed to be on our way to our next stop, the home of one of my stellar piano students. On our approach, the bus zoomed past her house because we didn't see the house number in time, so we had to drive around and around to find a road that would loop back and that was wide enough to accommodate a turning bus. Finally we did get on the correct road again and, as we approached the house this time, Carlene said excitedly, "Oh, you're gonna love this ... it's so CUTE"! From her vantage point in the driver's seat, she could see the people in the yard and when we got there, my student and her boyfriend and their three dogs were in the yard, each wearing a little party hat. One of the dogs had her hat partially removed and was busily trying to eat it. It was a fun stop for all of us.
How awesome to be a kid again for the hours we were on the Big Love Bus! The Bus has its own website and I think you can read its telephone number in one of the pictures I will post. For those near Knoxville, I wholeheartedly recommend you check out the Big Love Bus :)