The dragon lady. Denise. Mrs George. The most kindhearted, most genuine, most amazing, most inspirational lady I know, hands down.
This amazing lady has been a part of my life on a varying scale for about 15 years. I started guides when I was around 11 years old. She’s been involved in Guiding since well before then. She is a huge part of the glue that holds Guiding in our district together. She was never directly a leader in any guide or ranger troop that I was a part of, but she was always around and always a brownie leader. Every camp at Whakipo Bay, she was there (usually in the kitchen). Every milestone in guiding, she was there. She looked at every girl for who they were and what they could bring to whatever situation they were in. She was always positive. Always. Sometimes, she would say that we should call her ‘the dragon lady’ because she felt she snapped all the time (I couldn’t imagine a snappy word coming out of her mouth to this day). Now, as an adult, she insists I call her Denise. I can’t. She will always be Mrs George to me.
Today, it was the 50th anniversary of the creation of our local guide camp. An amazing space that was pioneered by three local woman (of whom I think all are passed now) that has a hut with kitchen and a mezzinine sleeping floor and a fire, toilet block, an equipment room and a couple of hectares of open space all without the modern luxury of power. An awesome space where so many memories have been made by not only me but 1000’s of girls before and since I’ve been there (its been at least 5 years since I’ve been there until today). Mrs George specifically invited myself, my sister and my Mum to the event. I rarely get to see Mrs George these days. Her husband passed away a few years ago (there relationship was like something from the movies; idealistic, romantic, incredibly loving, something to be envious of and aspire to) and to be honest, I am surprised she hasn’t passed too… from heartbreak. But, when we arrived at Whakipo Bay, she was there. She didn’t think I would be able to make it so assumed I wouldn’t be there. The look on her face when she saw me, I will never forget. I don’t think anybody has been so excited or shocked to see me in my life (especially a woman in her late 70’s!!). After a few moments of lapping up just being in her presence again, I remembered how much of an inspiration this woman is to me. How much she has influenced my life (and that of many, many others, no doubt). How much I love her and adore her. She keeps me grounded. I feel totally refreshed after seeing her today. I’m pretty lucky to have someone in my life like her.