Dan Gisvold at Bear Creek

Monday, May 30, 2011


The front of our cabin at Camp Nelson has looked the same for over 50 years. We tried to dress it up with a bit of flowers and some old chairs, but it is Camp Nelson, the place that every child in the family learned about "clean dirt". Camp Nelson dirt was not like dirt you got into at home. You didn't get yelled at for tracking it into the cabin. You were suppose to track it into the cabin.

Yesterday was suppose to be clear and cool at the cabin. It was most definitely cool. Clear? Not so much.

We gathered the day before--My brother Bill and his wife Kathy.

His four daughters, one of them with spouse and three children in tow. They all come from the Bay area. My two cousins. Patty from Mexico and David and his wife from near Sacramento. We sat 12 for dinner in a one room cabin. Cosy is sometimes a good word.

Then there was the "family" from Camp Nelson. People we had known all our lives. Lynnda from next door whose grandmother bought our family cabin and then sold it to my father to get it back in our family. Garrett, whose father grew up with me. Doug, who became a great friend over a campfire 35 years ago. They joined up for the traditional campfire and s'mores. And stories. So many stories.

Breakfast was to be at 8. If you have not had pancakes made with soda water you ain't had pancakes. Now it has to be Camp Nelson soda water right out of the spring. Bill, Dan and I refused to drink the stuff unless mom made a Lemon Fizz. Soda water, lemon juice (fresh) and sugar. Lots of sugar. The sugar made the soda water fizz. We thought it was cool. (Just don't use the soda water in scotch. The mineral content is so high that it reacts with the scotch and turns it black. Yuk!!)

Anyway, pancakes and bacon for god knows how many.

People came and went. Four cases of beer, 4 cases of soft drinks and 4 cases of water sat on the deck. We had 60 lbs of ice for them but, well, it started raining about 3 in the morning and about 10 it was snowing.

SNOWING!!! On Memorial Day!!!! The average temperature is usually in the high 70's. Jed only brought shorts. SNOW WAS NOT IN THE FORECAST!

Speaking of Jed, he had never been in a snowfall. He comes from the Central Coast. He never went to the snow. He was not an athlete so skiing was not his thing. He was a kid in a candy store.

And then, around 2pm Bill called the room to order. Fifty people in a small cabin to say Farewell to Daniel.

And everyone of them talked about his huge heart. Everyone talked about how he gathered friends. Everyone talked about how intelligent he was. "The smartest trucker I ever knew!" declared one of his nieces.

Melodie talked about how he tried to make her less serious by using the Fred and Ethel names. (See my Fred and Ethel post) She used the name as her on-line law school name because she was afraid she would give a stupid answer to a question. Turns out her professor complimented her on her answer!

Kathy Thompson told the story about Dan driving her and her girlfriend down the road at over 100 miles an hour and getting stopped by the local gendarme! Dan had to go in front of the local judge who was the father of Kathy's girlfriend!

I didn't know that story!

And our dear friend Jon Awbry told of the time that Dan found some short skis that Jon could strap to his full leg cast so they could still go skiing! Jon had just had surgery for a major break and had a pin in his leg! But up they went to Wolverton. And the first person they run into is the surgeon who put the pin in his leg! Just a little duct tape!

Jon told me privately later that he and Dan had "interviewed" my first "older" boyfriend. Apparently, Joe Kubicek got the third degree from Dan and Jon. He passed. I was allowed to date him AND Jon and Dan got him into DeMolay!

Another story I didn't know.

Dan's high school classmates showed up. Some from as far away as Vacaville. They told stories while we socialized and shared memories of our house in Lindsay and the many, many things that we all did together. It didn't matter what your age was. Sharon Moore, Donna Manuel, Mack Sprague, Bobby Hubbard, Susan McFadden. I am sure I have forgotten to mention someone. Please forgive me.

I told everyone there that Dan was my brother, my best friend and my confidante. Then I talked about his love of music.

Dan told me once that he was my biggest fan. And he was. I told all of them that.

I told them about wasting time pretending that he didn't exist when we were little.

And I played the Vocal Arts Ensemble singing Danny Boy.

And then we took Dan to his favorite places.

The soda spring near the cabin.

And the camp fire ring.

Today we came home. It was sunny.

He has got to be up there laughing his ass off. Of course, he may have been busy taking care of bikers.

1 comment:

  1. He did indeed take care of a biker...someone who thinks he wanted her to get the ride the freak over with so he could go laugh at his family :)

    That's what I want when I'm gone...everyone finding something to laugh about. Though, officially, I refuse to go ;)