MARIETTA, Ga. --- Maybe it was the way Sue Brimmings counted her Pathfinder honors loudly in public. Maybe it was because she wore the honor patches on two custom-widened sashes she arranged crisscross-style over her uniform. It could have been just the fact that everyone knew she'd had a bad day when marching drills stretched into the second hour.
Nobody knows quite how the rumbles of discontent started, but one thing was for sure: Marietta's Pathfinders were not happy campers.
"It's not that Sue didn't know her stuff," said Tom Jenkins, a counselor in the club. "We asked her to be Pathfinder Director for a reason. I mean there wasn't a knot she couldn't tie or a soap she couldn't carve. She was just kind of prickly about it all."
Matters came to a head at the annual Lock-in, traditionally a high point of the Marietta Pathfinder Club calendar. This year, after calling for silence in the church gym, Brimmings announced that because Investiture was coming up and everyone was behind on patch accumulation, the entire lock-in would be dedicated to a crash-course on the crocheting honor.
The announcement was first met with a gasp, then tears of sadness and preemptive boredom. "I hated the lock-in so bad I actually volunteered for dish washing duty, just to get out of the crocheting," said 14-year-old Bradey Clark.
The lock-in went from bad to worse as Brimmings started confiscating everyone's snacks around midnight, claiming they were drawing attention from a series of loops that three bleary-eyed Explorers kept messing up.
In the absence of other non-crocheting options, bathroom break requests grew exponentially as the night wore on.
And then the snap:
"I've had enough!" hollered Clark after Brimmings called him out on the fact that he had spent the last two hours re-washing clean dishes. The 14-year-old hurled himself onto the gym stage and grabbed a live microphone. "Everyone call their parents! We're going home!"
Within minutes parents started arriving and crocheting needles were sent a-clattering to the floor as Pathfinders rushed for the doors, some trailing impressive spools of yarn.
In response to the rebellion and several calls from concerned parents, Marietta's Church Board took the unprecedented step of demoting Brimmings from her rank of Masterguide to that of Busy Bee. Board members are confident Brimmings will benefit from the "back to basics" approach of the Busy Bee curriculum and the fact that 6-year-olds will never put up with crocheting class.