Herman Meier is not the type to sit at home and rest quietly.
Meier, 73, is planning a trip to India this Christmas to visit a priest who used to be stationed in North Dakota and now runs an orphanage there. Meier will spend a few days at the orphanage and then do some sight-seeing elsewhere in North India. He's looking forward to seeing the Taj Mahal.
Before his wife, Audrey, passed away, the couple enjoyed traveling together. Meier loves to recall the Alaskan cruise and the trips to Rome and to Mexico City, but also all of the times Audrey accompanied him when he drove kids on school trips for the Minot Public Schools.
Herman Meier sits in the driver’s seat of a Minot Public Schools bus. He enjoys traveling all over the state driving kids to different extracurricular activities. He also drives charter bus routes, including a regular trip to Medora.
Meier has been a bus driver for kids traveling all over the state for different extracurricular activities and the kids got to know his wife as well as Meier.
Audrey always handed out candy to the kids on the bus and chatted with the kids about their lives. When they went to the Twin Cities several years ago she was impressed that the first place the kids wanted to go was to Barnes and Noble and the way that the kids got their school work done on the bus while they were traveling to the next game. Young athletes have to keep up their grades to be able to play.
Meier kept driving for the schools after his wife passed away.
"You have to love the kids," he said, and he does, having three children, 11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Meier said he knows every mile marker in the state and the shortcuts to get to different places the fastest. He also knows the shortest route to the hospitals in the towns where he drives, just in case there is a mishap.
He drives charter bus routes, including a regular trip to Medora, and often has passengers who are senior citizens. No one has ever gotten sick on those chartered trips in 10 years, Meier said proudly. He said he pushes bottled water for his passengers because it helps them keep hydrated. He also drinks plenty of water himself.
Meier always goes to the games or on the school tours when he's the bus driver for a trip.
"Some of the coaches said, 'He's at the game. He doesn't sit out in the bus and complain,' " said Meier. He said he enjoys the activity.
Meier's son-in-law suggested he start driving for the schools after he retired as an assistant dragline operator at the Falkirk Mine, where he had worked for 16 years. His family thought he would want something to keep him occupied and they were right.
Meier said he doesn't drive bus routes in town and is able to set his own schedule with the school district. This fall he told the district he would be unavailable for the first month because he is helping his grandson with combining.
In his free time, Meier loves to put together massive jigsaw puzzles. His most recent project is a 7,500-piece puzzle showing the New York City skyline that he keeps in his basement. Meier said it is probably a two-year project and he is about half completed. Putting the puzzle together helps him relax and it also lets him dream of places he hasn't been to, at least not yet.