Little Paws, Old Friends and All Surprises Big and Small

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One of the adorable creatures that visited Dover High School as part of Wildlife Encounters' visit from Rochester.

By Susan Dromey Heeter

I love a good surprise, a fun turn of events, a chance encounter.

Susan Dromey Heeter

Susan Dromey Heeter

I once had a boss who announced angrily, “I don’t like surprises.” And while I could see her point, I still feel slightly sad for her. Surprises allow us to shift, to change our perspective, to realign possibilities, to generate solutions.

As I muse joyfully, I realize I’ve had a plethora of surprises this week – mostly good, some daunting, some uncomfortable. Friday’s surprise was seeing a wallaby up close. Really.

Those huge feet and little paws are astonishing. Wildlife Encounters, an organization out of Rochester arrived at Dover High School with a plethora of animals, various creatures including a Molluccan Cockatoo, an Argus Lizard and a Gray Fox.

I was happily surprised running into my dear friend, Geri, Thursday night in front of Best Buy. It’s been years since I’ve seen her and she is as gloriously beautiful and kind and loving as always. I was not surprised when my old friend, also Jerry, wrote to tell me the card I’d written him regarding his mother’s death displayed astonishingly poor handwriting.

I am never surprised when someone cannot read my scribes and I was not surprised Jerry felt comfortable enough to mock my chicken scratch. We’ve been friends for decades; his mother probably giggling above.

Surprisingly, I was shocked to learn John Glenn had died. I thought he’d passed on long ago. I’m out of the loop when it comes to astronauts. Stepping on the scale, I was not surprised to learn I had gained five pounds since Thanksgiving. I’ve been eating non-stop this holiday season and even my underwear feels tight.

When I asked some high school students about their favorite surprises, “Sherrie” shared gleefully about her aunt’s plans to take her to Spain. She’d learned of this wonderful trip after her Aunt Patricia asked, “Do you like to travel?”

And then, SURPRISE, she learned her aunt would be taking her to the land of flamenco, guitars, matadors. Another student told of how he’d been on a field trip during summer camp when his group stopped for ice cream. “I was always too poor to get ice cream,” he shared, “but that day, they called my name and I got a cone. I was six. I still remember.”

Anthony remembered getting the surprise of a little brother when he was six; Luke recalls jumping on the bed one Fourth of July, hitting his head and having to go to the ER. “The surprise was that the doctor gave me a model airplane.”

Luke had been so sad about missing the fireworks but delighted with his plane. There was an unfortunate event turned into a happy surprise. Surprises can do that – turn what seem to be tragedies into comedies, sorrows into joy.

May your surprises be lovely or at least opportunities. And who knows? Maybe jump on your bed and see what happens…maybe you’ll hit your head and learn the joy of toiling around with a model plane.

Susan Dromey Heeter, a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white, debuts her new column “Joyful Musings” at Dromey Heeter is a secondary Spanish Teacher at Dover High School and the mother of two teenage daughters.  Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.  Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards. She also writes about thrift shopping and all things frugal  in a column called “Budget Vogue” for the New Hampshire Union Leader.


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