The years I spent on summer staff at Quaker Lake Camp (1978-83) were among the memorable of my life so far, in part because there were so many wonderful people and great characters who were a part of that experience. Several of the campers from those years have already been inducted into my youth ministry Hall of Fame- including Laura Wheeler, Jodi Coble & Jay Osborne- while many others were mentioned in a special Quaker Lake Characters post way back in 2009. My boss from those years, Neal Thomas, received his own post as one of the most important influence in my life and on my ministry. But so far I have not inducted any of my fellow staff members from those years into my HOF. Today I begin fixing that oversight. And not ONLY because she's been begging me to...
When the 1978 summer staff arrived for orientation, I was well acquainted with most of the staff.I had volunteered 6 weeks the previous summer and had been attending camp for a number of years, so there promised to be very few surprises. The one wildcard that year was a young woman my age named Susan McBane. I knew of Susan more than I knew Susan. Her older brother Darrell had been my cabin counselor, I had served as his counselor assistant, and we had become good friends. Plus Susan had been around a few youth events in North Carolina Yearly Meeting over the years. So I knew of her, and was excited to get to know her as a fellow staff member. So as we gathered for the first time as staff to take a whitewater canoeing and camping trip together, there were 3 things about Susan that were immediately obvious to me. First, she was VERY attractive- even when carrying watermelons! Secondly, she was sweet and full of life and smiles. And thirdly, she was a little on the gullible side- she pretty much bought whatever we told her. The guys of the staff were all quickly drawn to Susan, and there was much early discussion over who might get to be her partner on the river. There may have been some sneaky, under-handed ploys used to secure her as canoeing buddy - did I mention she was VERY attractive?- but in the end the best man came out on top. So as we headed down the New River, Susan and I shared boat. Life was good. I had won! Or had I???
You see, that river ride is still a point of contention between Susan and myself. She claims that I dumped her out to the boat in the middle of a nasty class 3 rapid called Buzzard's Roost, putting her at risk of banging into huge rocks and according to her, snakes. I claim that when the boar began to tilt in the very rough water, she simply abandoned ship, taking me with her as the canoe capsized. Witnesses were too busy saving their own necks to notice, and there was no video, so we still argue it out even today. What is not up for debate from that trip is that while we were camped one night, Susan used a flashlight to point to some of the guys where not to go to use the rest room in the woods, because that was where Jan Osborne had gone. Unfortunately, what Sus meant to be helpful turned into a spotlight on a squatting Jan. Susan just had a knack for the spectacular!
Susan had many gifts as a cabin counselor. The girls in her cabin each week just adored her. She was a good friend to everyone on the staff, and an excellent listener. She was also a valued member of the counselor squad in the weekly Staff/Counselor volleyball game. Her high arching serves often seemed destined for space, as she had great power in her little frame. Somewhere along the way those serve got her dubbed Boom Boom McBane- and the nickname stuck! There are many other stories...too many to tell here- but all of them are a reminder of one thing- I cannot recall my QLC years without Boom Boom being one of the first people to come to mind.
But none of the stories and attributes listed above are the reason that Susan joins my HOF today. If I had tried to write this post when I first began blogging back in 2009, it would have been entitled, Boom Boom: Where Is She Now? I had completely lost of track of her since moving to Florida in 1994, and it has only been through the wonders of social media and this blog that we have reconnected. And more than reconnect, we have become better friends than we ever were before. We text most every day to check on each other. Susan heroically dealt with breast cancer and has been a constant support for me as I dealt with my surgeries and the diabetes. We have laughed together, cried together and been ridiculously silly together- just like old times. And all without having seen each other in over 20 years. Ain't modern technology amazing? :)
|Quaker Lake Camp Summer Staff 1978|
Susan McBane Tuggle has been married to her longtime sweetheart Randy since shortly after those QLC years. She is a mom and a grandmother. She is a great friend to so many. And she is still VERY attractive! So Boom Boom, I can FINALLY say welcome to the Hall of Fame! I am blessed by the memories of our years together at camp, and can't imagine what my life would be like if you weren't back in it today. You are the first from the summer of '78 QLC Staff to make my HOF- but not the last. Stay tuned, my friends! There's another induction coming tomorrow!
Because of Jesus,