August 4, 2016
Susie Ma’am knew exactly what her wedding would be like.
She would be married in the Wellesley Congregational Church with a reception at the Wellesley College Club. Out of town guests would stay at the historic Wellesley Inn which faced the scenic town square.
Once married, she envisioned herself living in a two-story colonial home with a rich green lawn in suburban Boston.
She took these facts as a given. She was willing to imagine different colors of paint, but beyond that she was not that flexible.
With this in mind, her current reality is particularly delightful.
She lives in Texas. She was married at a camp with the reception there as well.
Her home is not colonial, but is instead an odd modern structure featuring 7 side doors. [Note: I am not joking about this. The home we live in does not have a discernable front or back door, thus rendering the remaining 7 doors into ‘side doors’.]
Her lawn features climbing walls, pickleball courts and a Pirate Ship, not white fences.
But the reason I share all of this is a comment she shared with me today. Three years ago, we planted a fig tree near our house. It has become quite a large bush that produces lots of figs. In previous years, the squirrels have feasted on the figs.
But not this year.
We have a pack of chickens that use the fig tree for shade. Their presence deters that squirrels, like a gang of feathered ruffians.
When I told Susie that I had picked a dozen figs for her and that the chicken gang was standing guard, she sighed and said, “that makes me so happy. I love those chickens.”
I try to picture this chicken-loving Susie Ma’am in a colonial house. I cannot quite do it without throwing at least one chick into my mental image.
More importantly, I cannot imagine camp without her here. Her smiles and loving interaction with campers brings me true joy. On tougher days, I find extra patience by watching her interact with campers and staff. She has a contagious patience that helps make me more forgiving and playful. Wellesley might have lost an upstanding citizen, but Camp Champions needs Susie Ma’am (the Chicken Lady) a lot more.