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Happy holidays, Portland-style

Speaking of good intentions... I wrote this before the holidays and never got around to editing and posting it. Oops. A belated merry merry to you all!

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As the bus lumbered toward me, I leaned out a bit to make sure the driver would see me in the morning darkness. Alas, there was standing room only, so I asked if the bus right behind her, which I could see parked at the previous stop, had fewer passengers.

"It broke down," she said. "But this is the fun bus, anyway."

"Oh, is this the party bus?"

"Yeah, it's the party bus."

Mostly, it was a regular bus ride, with people retreating into their own thoughts. Every passenger under 40 had headphones on or was texting/tweeting/reading on their phones.

And then.

"OK, passengers, we're almost to the bridge, and you know what that means. Time for the bridge song!"

I didn't know there was a bridge song, I thought. Is there some song about all the Portland bridges that I don't know about? No, but there should be.

"Today's song is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I know you all know it. Ready?"

As the bus pulled onto the bridge, the driver began to sing. Alone. She changed a verse to "Nobody else is singing, even though you know the words." She stopped singing.

"Isn't anybody going to sing with me?" She expressed disbelief, and was about to give the whole thing up when, behold, a Christmas miracle!

"I'll help you!" said an older man with—and I am not making this up—a red cowboy hat and a big white beard. It was Santa's skinny cowboy brother, here to save the day. It was just like a movie. He even said, "I'll help you" like he was in a movie.

However, it wasn't a movie. There was no director, and nobody with a clipboard that said Take 2. So the old man sang too fast and the bus driver couldn't keep pace with him. But he was jolly! And he ad-libbed a bit, calling those mean other reindeer "naughty." He danced in the aisle, and slowly, everyone on the bus began to sing with him. Well, not really. But four or five people sang quietly or just moved their mouths. A lot of people smiled, then clapped when the song was over.

"You guys are a lot better at clapping than you are at singing," said the driver.

It was perfect. I really, really heart Portland.

1/4/2013     2 comments