Smokies LIVE Blog

Yellow Jeep represents friendship for three Smokies lovers

Carol Treiber and Alice Ann Sargeant next to the yellow jeep.
Carol Treiber and Alice Ann Sargeant next to the yellow jeep.
Carol Treiber and Alice Ann Sargeant next to the yellow Jeep.

The experience of being in nature on our public lands consistently inspires creativity, no matter the time of life. Over the past few years, I’ve become friends with GSMA member Carol Treiber, who is 88, and receiving the correspondence she sends from assisted living in Bryson City has been a constant source of joy.

Carol first reached out to me last year advocating for more story material to be shared about Ella V. Costner, the Poet Laureate of the Smokies. I responded by writing about Carol and Ella for my Word from the Smokies column, and Carol loved the story.

A few months ago, Carol shared the poem you are about to read, and told me it was inspired by her friend Connie DiLillo.

“The woman who suggested I write the poem has cancer,” Carol said. “She hopes to ride in The Yellow Jeep when its owner returns in July, however the cancer will not be stopped. She is such a marvelous person. I have come to care for her deeply.”

Frances Figart and Alice Ann Sargeant
Frances Figart and Alice Ann Sargeant at the “Mabel Meets a Black Bear” book signing on July 6, 2023.

Carol said it was challenging for her to write the poem as she has had two TIA strokes, but she loved making rhymes to share how her friend Alice Ann Sargeant made it possible for her to enjoy the Smokies once again by riding in The Yellow Jeep!

On July 6, I showed up at Sugarlands Visitor Center to do a book signing for Mabel Meets a Black Bear, and there was Alice Ann waiting to meet me and purchase my book! She and I talked about how wonderful it is to be in touch with someone as outgoing, driven, and tenacious as Carol.

Just this week, as I was preparing to share her poem, Carol reached out with sad news: Connie DiLillo passed away on July 17. She didn’t get to ride in The Yellow Jeep, but she made a big impact on those who did.

Alice Ann helped Carol reconnect with the Smokies, and Connie encouraged Carol to share the story of The Yellow Jeep’s gift in this creative piece of literature. May you also be touched by their story. 

The Yellow Jeep’s Gift: The Smokies

For Connie DiLillo

My name is Miss Carol. 
I am eighty-eight years old.
My home is in assisted living 
Where my memories unfold.

Two strokes made me move here.
And I can no longer drive
To my beloved Smokies
Where I truly came alive. 

I miss my treasured Smokies. 
Gone, my walking stick in hand,
When I walked her many trails
Seeing such endearing land.

Then there was a miracle.
I made a brand-new friend.
She drove a yellow jeep.
So bright from end to end. 

She drove it in the Smokies. 
On off-roads other cars could not,
Because it was a jeep,
She drove miles and miles non-stop.

Jeeps were designed for off-road,
Where adventures could be found.
Their 4-wheel drive was the reason
They could drive on bumpy ground. 

I said, “My! I like your car. 
It truly makes me smile.
It must be fun to drive
Each and every mile.

I told her I had sold my car.
And I also told her why.
I told her I missed the Smokies,
So much that I would cry.  

“Come with me and be my guest. 
To the Smokies we’ll go together. 
I will show you unseen beauty
And hope for sunny weather.”

We planned that special day
And first she opened the top.  
Full sunlight!  Oh, what fun!
I don’t want this day to stop. 

My friend took a different route,
Onto a US Forest Service Road.
“This road you’ve never driven on, 
You’ll see new beauty to behold.”

No other cars followed us.
It was only The Yellow Jeep.  
On a road that I had never seen.
My excited thoughts ran deep.  

New beauty now before me,
Ongoing and did not cease.
I felt serenity and tranquility,
And also, I felt peace. 

My friend slowed down The Yellow Jeep,
For we weren’t in a race,
Enjoyed all there was before us,  
With a slow and leisurely pace. 

The streams, the mountains, the flowers,
The elk, the trees, the sun, the sky. 
Nature in all her glory,
My joy was flying high.  

For nature to be truly felt, 
It is important to quiet our mind.  
Nature’s beauty there before us,
And nature is what we find. 

The engine was then turned off.
It was now quiet all around. 
And from the beauty before us,
There was truly not a sound.  

It seemed we were the only two,
And there truly was “Peace on Earth.” 
The noise of the world was now quiet,
A peaceful world had given birth. 

I was so grateful for The Yellow Jeep,
And grateful for my friend.
That nature would so bless my life, 
I did not want my day to end. 

My new friend invited me many times.
And The Yellow Jeep was ready too. 
We toured the Smokies often,
And our friendship grew and grew.

I will never forget The Yellow Jeep,
And my friend who was so kind.  
To invite me to take so many trips, 
Taking in nature with a quiet mind.

I loved riding in The Yellow Jeep.
It gave my spirit a lift.
It touched my life so very much. 
Because the Smokies was its gift.


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