Susan was fond of recalling the day that we met. The day in 1999 when a young English boy knocked on her door to inquire about making lunch for tourists. She agreed immediately and it was the start of a wonderful 20-year friendship with her and the whole Big Blue team. Whether we had biked to her house or built up an appetite walking around the Wade’s Green historical site, her hearty meals of baked chicken and peas n’ rice became legendary and there was always enough for seconds. Susan’s famous chicken recipe is even featured in the Red Cross cookbook and affectionately known as ‘Chicken a la Susan’. Of course, when her crop of okra was in season, guests were in for a real treat. The rice would literally melt in your mouth on those days.
Ever the gracious host, she relished telling her guests stories about her farm and life in the islands or her time overseas. She loved to show off the photos of her adorable grandchildren, their young faces frozen in time, but no doubt all grown up by now. She certainly made an amazing impression on the guests who met her. It was quite common for visitors to send back small gifts for her or supplies for the school kids in Kew. Many sent photos remembering their experience with Susan on North Caicos and she even received a t-shirt with her face imprinted on the front.
Susan was a kind and generous person. She was very strong-willed, and it was difficult, almost impossible to say no to Susan or turn her down. Over the years we supported each other with supplies from Provo in exchange for fruit and vegetables from her garden and baked delights from her kitchen. One would never leave empty-handed from Susan’s house and if for some reason visits became irregular, a box would be sent down on someone’s boat and hand-delivered to the Big Blue base. And that’s how life was, and still is, on North Caicos. Work hard, trade with your friends and always help those in need.
She had her own kids and they had left by the time we met Susan. But there were always children around the house, learning good manners and hard work in the yard, receiving a roof over their heads and food in their bellies in return. She was a woman of some wisdom and having fended for herself for many years she would often declare how she had ‘built her nine-room house on her own, without the help from any man’. And in asking after our Big Blue operation, she would invariably say ‘work hard play later, business before pleasure!!’ What I remember most about Susan is that she would always say ‘I love you’, and that always touched my heart. Well, we love you too Susan and we’re grateful for your friendship. You are a blessing who touched everyone around you. A true heart of the islands.
We will all miss you dearly.
Rest in Peace
From Mark and the whole of the Big Blue Collective, past and present