From Chicken Soup for the Country Soul

Teddy Bear’s Last Ride

I was there that day and I saw her cry . . . after Mama Teddy Bear said: “Ten-four and good-bye!” She turned off the old CB and just looked at me and her heart overflowed. Her tears ran free and the gratitude shone in her face like the sun for all the things these big tough truckers had done. A handful of change and a few dollar bills, but most of all, a little crippled boy’s dream fulfilled.

I guess I was Mama Teddy Bear’s best friend. I’d lived by her and little Teddy Bear since . . . oh, I couldn’t remember when. And that’s why now, before my memory grows old, the rest of the story just has to be told.

I’d come over and sit with Teddy Bear while his mama was away and play little games to help him pass the day. But in the afternoons he’d wheel that chair over by the radio and he’d go on the air. And I never knew a trucker not to answer his call. He’d just grin and ask me not to tell his mama, but I was pretty sure she knew what was going on.

Time has a way of taking its toll, and much too fast Mama Teddy Bear was growin’ old—I watched as the silver touched her hair. But her one aim in life was Teddy Bear. And then I saw another change take place—Little Teddy Bear was slowly losing the race—and I knew it. His mama knew it, too. There was nothing in this whole world either of us could do.

He talked less often on the old CB. There were times when he would hardly talk with me. He took to sittin’ by the window and watchin’ the road, the big eighteen-wheelers rollin’ by with their loads.

Finally he was too weak to get out of bed. One day he looked up at me and said: “Would you turn the radio on and go on the air and tell all my trucker friends what’s happened to Teddy Bear?” Well, the hardest thing I’ve done in my time was to pick up that mike and say: “Breaker one-nine! This is for all you truckers who care. . . . I’m callin’ for your little friend, Teddy Bear. He says to tell you he misses you all and he’s awful sorry he can’t answer your calls!”

They all came back and joked with me and said that they’d catch him later on the old CB. They never did catch Teddy Bear again, ’cause late one night the angel came and the last thing he said before he died was: “Tell all my trucker friends how I enjoyed the rides!” Mama Teddy Bear couldn’t tell ’em and neither could I ’cause every time we’d look at that radio, we’d both start to cry.

The funeral was preached at the chapel and Little Teddy Bear started on his last ride. As the procession rounded the little city square, the sounds of a hundred engines filled the air. The truckers had dropped their trailers back somewhere behind, and one by one, they fell in line. They all tried to comfort Mama Teddy Bear, and it seemed like the warmth of God just filled the air. Slowly they formed a circle around the little grave. A lot of big men cried that day as they paid their respects on Teddy Bear’s last ride.

Dale Royal and J. William Denny


Written by Dale Royal and J. William Denny

Copyright ©1976 Cedarwood Publishing

Used By Permission. All Rights Reserved.

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