By Stacy Smith

You may just call her “Mama A” for Mama Ann. Reigning as Ms. Woodland Village Rehabilitation and Health Care Center is Ann Trucks.

“I just love it at Woodland Village! This is my family that I didn’t know that I needed, but am now so thankful that I have,” said Trucks.

Born in Bessemer, Alabama, she considers Cullman, Alabama, her hometown. Active in the Resident Council, she helps other residents during activities, sits and talks with them, and listens to them. She enjoys sitting on the front porch or in the activity area reminiscing with friends.

“We talk, laugh and joke with one another. We even disagree with one another on certain things, but are able to work it out, not being treated like children but adults with valid opinions, ideas, hopes and dreams,” said Trucks.

She explains that she has experienced many things, some good, some bad, just like everyone else. Trucks has decided that if you dwell on the bad, then you miss out on the good in life.

“No one needs to be a stick in the mud, and I like to have a good time!” said Trucks.

She remembers when she was about five years old. They had free range chickens in the yard for her mother to have fresh eggs to cook. One day she was playing in the yard and got too close to one of the rooster’s ‘ladies.’ The rooster chased her, backed her up against a wall and started flogging her.

“Daddy happened to be home for lunch. He heard me screaming, and the rooster hollering. He came running outside. Guess what mama fried for supper that night?” asked Trucks.

She married Jerry Trucks, and they had a good life together, raised their kids, raised chickens, and watched their grandkids grow. They were both residents at Woodland Village together.

Remembering back to when Trucks was 15 years old, this was when she started seeing her high school sweetheart, Jerry. There was a three-year age difference between them. Therefore, dating was not allowed by her parents. He was allowed to come over to her parents’ house to visit her.

“He must have really liked me because he kept coming around and stuck it out until we could start dating,” said Trucks.

She went with him and his mother to pick out the stone for her engagement ring.

“I don’t mean for that to sound like it was a huge diamond. No, it was a small stone, but it meant the world to me,” said Trucks.

“At first, Jerry didn’t think moving to Woodland Village was a good idea, but I told him it was all part of God’s plan. We were married for 56 wonderful years before he passed away,” said Trucks.

Mary Tilley, Activities Director, Woodland Village Rehabilitation and Health Care Center said, “Mama A is as genuine a person as you will ever meet. She is a one of a kind, wonderful, special lady.”

Trucks explains that, “I know that if I had gone to live with my children, I would not be as active or involved as I am right now. I would be sitting in front of the television, sad, fat and miserable. Plus, I would not have been in the pageant, and be the 2019 Queen for Woodland Village! What an added bonus!”

She plays bocce ball, bingo, dominos, gardens and goes on shopping trips. She is a resident activity volunteer, helping with activities, setting up, cleaning up, and inviting other residents to attend. She enjoys meeting new people, helping others, and experiencing life to its fullest.

“People have to understand that it is a big transition, going from having your own home to living in a nursing home. It is a lot to get used to in a short period of time. I, like any other person, had a period of adjustment. Shortly after coming to Woodland Village, my husband passed away. Along with dealing with his loss, I was also dealing with the knowledge that I was going to live the rest of my life in a nursing home. It’s like when you know something is the right thing to do in your head, it sometimes takes a little longer for your heart to understand. I know that living here at Woodland Village is the best decision I have ever made,” said Trucks.

“If it wasn’t for the therapist, nurses, and all of the staff, I would not be where I am today. Along with the physical changes, I was noticing other changes in myself also. I feel safe, content, happy. I love that Woodland Village is my home now.  It also helped my family and friends because they know that I am being taken care of, and am happy because this is where I want to be,” said Trucks.

Mama A looks at Woodland Village as a beginning to a whole new part of life, and she is having a good time enjoying every minute of it.

Editor’s note: This is the final story in a 10-part series about the finalists for the 2019 Ms. Alabama Nursing Home Pageant. The Ms. Alabama Nursing Home Pageant is July 29. Click here for more information.

Stacy Smith, APR, Fellow PRSA, is a freelance writer based in Birmingham, Alabama.