Grocery Life June 26, 2014


bus pic 3

Grocery Life June 26, 2014
By Tom Butler

Good morning from Butler and Bailey Market. I hope everyone is having a good week. Everything is going good at the store this week.
We had a cooking class Tuesday night and we have another one tonight. Every one we have had in June has been full and most of the ones in July are almost full. The one that is not filling up in July is on the 24th which happens to be my birthday. Maybe people are afraid they have to bring a present if they come to that one? Don’t worry about bringing a present, my son always does something special for me on my birthday. He takes me to Chucky Cheese. That’s what we did last year and I am sure he will want to take me again this year. Tyson loves to go to Chucky Cheese and I guess since he loves it, he thinks everyone must love it. I do not love chucky Cheese, I do not even like Chucky Cheese, but I love my boy and he loves his daddy so wherever he wants to take me on my birthday will be a special present to me.

tyson and tom

Another thing happening near the time of my birthday is my thirty year high school reunion. I graduated from Bearden High School. I actually went to Bearden all twelve years. School zoning was different then because if you lived in the house I grew up in now, you would go to Sequoyah Elementary, Bearden Middle, and West High School. I kind of like the fact that I got to go to the same school my whole career. Maybe because I always went to Bearden or maybe because I lived in the same house during my school years, I always rode the same bus and always had the same bus driver, Burl Jones, bus number 143.

As a kid, Burl seemed like a gruff old man. He wore either grey or blue pairs of coveralls everyday and a cap in warm weather or a toboggan in cold weather. He never smiled that I can remember, but I do remember the glare he had in that big rearview mirror when kids got rowdy on the bus. I kind of feared him so my friends and I usually just sat quietly hoping not to get the glare. His bus was kind of like I perceived him, old and gruff. I don’t guess it had ever been washed or if it had it was so old it didn’t change in appearance. After I graduated from high school, I didn’t see Burl again until I started here at the store. It turns out Burl and his family lived right here in Rocky Hill, just around the corner from the store and came here to buy their groceries. He still wore either a grey or blue pair of coveralls after all those years but as I got to know him, I discovered he was a very kind and gentle man who had quite the sense of humor and he still drove bus 143. I always enjoyed the stories we shared about our bus riding days and couldn’t believe how many that we both remembered.

bus pic 4

Several years later when Erica and I were planning our wedding, I decided I wanted to invite Burl and his wife to our wedding and I also wanted him to chauffeur us and the wedding party between events in bus 143. It took a little work to convince Erica that our wedding limousine was going to be my childhood school bus, but I think she was so busy trying to plan everything else she gave in pretty quickly.
Well when we walked out of the church after the ceremony there sat Burl and bus 143 just like I remembered it growing up, but on this day the bus seemed a little shinier and Burl and his wife were dressed to the nines in their Sunday best. Several of the guys in my wedding had grown up riding the bus with me and when we started filing onto the bus, we all greeted Burl just like we did every morning all those years ago.

It meant a lot to me that Burl was a part of my wedding day and I think it meant a lot to him because his wife would always ask me for more copies of the pictures we took on that day so she could send them to their friends and family.


bus pic 5

The Rocky Hill community is full of great people like Burl and Martha Jones and I am glad I get to know so many of you by working here at the store. It is great to be part of this community!

Have a great weekend!

Thanks for letting us be a part of your community,
Tom Butler


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2 Comments on “Grocery Life June 26, 2014

  1. I must say your post brought a little tear to my eye! Good ole Burl & bus 143! I haven’t seen him in probably 26 years. I can just picture him exactly how you described him- in his toboggan. How neat that you reconnected & rode his bus on your wedding day & that he is actually a very nice man not like what I imagined as a kid, either!

    The best part of the post was about your son & Chucky E Cheese! Sweet tradition! Happy early Birthday!

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