resident, with trucking in her blood, takes ride with help from friends
Essie Chapman will be telling stories about last Friday for a long time to come: about riding shotgun in a big rig, chatting it up with truckers at an Evansville truck stop and picking up a CB radio for the first time in many years.
The story's all true, and while a Friday run to a truck stop near Evansville may not seem like that big of a deal, it sure was for Essie, an 85-year-old resident of Oakwood Health Care who used to share the wheel with her late trucker husband.
Essie took to
the road Friday, welcomed aboard a Styline Transportation rig by driver Tim
Begle, to the Flying J truck stop on U.S. 41. The journey was a gift from the
Huntingburg-based company and facilitated by an Indianapolis group that grants
wishes to senior citizens, many of them in nursing homes or other long-term
health care facilities.
For Essie, whose husband, “Pete”, and son, Glenn, drove big trucks for years, the experience opened a floodgate of memories.
“Boy I won't soon forget that,” Essie said Wednesday. She wasn't feeling well and was spending the morning in bed, but she still felt like talking about Friday.
“Oh, the memories it brought back. I knew my husband and son were smiling down on me.”
|Essie Chapman, a resident of Oakwood Health Campus in Tell City, took a ride down memory lane Friday as Styline Transportation of Huntingburg treated her to a drive to the Flying J Truck Stop on U.S. 41. Styline driver Tim Begle, top photo, poses with Essie. With them are Styline employees Amy Marley, left, and Jan Wampler. Right, Oakwood Activities Director Adina Bailey, left in bottom photo, and Executive Director Carolyn Kassinger present Essie with a model truck and a blanket, also gifts from Styline.|
stepped into a big rig in a good 20 years, but Begle - a veteran driver for
Styline - made her feel right at home. After settling into the truck's passenger
seat, she began admiring all the technological improvements that benefit
truckers today. The modern rig is equipped not just with a bed, but a
television, stereo, microwave and even a laptop computer.
“We had nothing like this,” she declared, turning in amazement to the spacious area behind Begle's driver's seat.
Essie's big day was made possible by Styline Transportation and an Indianapolis group, Never Too Late, that grants wishes to senior citizens. According to the organization's Web site, wishes are granted for people living in nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and hospice programs.
Before setting off, Styline presented her two other gifts, a blanket with the embroidered words. “The Big Ride” and Friday's date. “Oh, I'll sleep under it every night,” Essie said in praise as the blanket was draped over her lap.
It was the day of Essie's big ride, a gift made possible by a local transportation company, Styline Transportation, and a group that grants wishes to senior citizens.
After a toot of the horn and big waves from the open window, they were off, a truck driver and happy woman. The journey lasted only a few hours, but Essie promised the memories will last forever.