Dan Gisvold at Bear Creek

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Dan bought a bicycle when he moved into his apartment in Pismo Beach. It made it easy for him to get around the little town. He even road it to our house in Grover Beach once. (He said he would never do that again. There is a hell of a hill to climb between here and there. )

It wasn't anything fancy. A three speed with upright handlebars so he didn't have to bend over. It was a cool lookin' bike.

Except that he looked anything but cool on it. (I can hear him scoffing at me. "What's about cool? I don't have to look cool. **huff, huff**)

Dan was quite tall. The bike was a bit short. So he stuck out.

I mean literally. He was all knees and elbows.

You recognized him from half a mile away.

Flannel shirt, cowboy hat or trucker cap, knees and elbows sticking out everywhere.

It was a glorious sight.

He didn't care what he looked like. He cared about getting around and having fun doing it.

Yesterday I was driving home and, as is usual in San Luis, there were bicyclists riding on the same road. There are bike lanes and everyone shares the road here. So I normally don't notice anything unsual.

But yesterday, yesterday I almost stopped the car.

I was coming up behind him. The flannel shirt was flapping in the breeze. He was thin. His knees and elbows stuck out from a regular sized bike. He wore a straw cowboy hat.

My heart almost stopped.

And my first, my very first thought was, "He came back".

Then reality hit. And I kept going.

I didn't look at the man's face.

I want that man on that bike to be him. And if I don't look, if I don't look, if I don't see that it is not him, then I still have that fleeting moment when, for me, he was back.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Ave

Last night was our first rehearsal for the Christmas season.

Vocal Arts always starts the particular season sight reading our music. We haven't seen it before and, usually, we don't even know what songs we will be singing.

So the rehearsal is a bit rough. We listen to recordings of the song and then sing it. No separation of parts before hand. No playing of particular notes or clue as to how the song is suppose to go.

It is rough. And my definition of rough includes both 1) difficult and 2) uneven. The sound is not good.

It is the first step in learning difficult music. And our music is difficult.

It is a lot of fun as well. Talking to people you haven't seen all summer. Feeling the joy of singing. Sharing the feeling and sharing the news.

Our last song was one that we have been singing for a couple of years. It is now our signature song. It is Shubert's "Ave Maria"

Last Christmas Jed was to sing the men's part as a solo. His mother was going to be there and she hadn't seen him in concert for over 20 years. Jed was soooo excited.

Dan was at that concert and helped to get Jed's mom get around that night.

But Jed got laryngitis and couldn't sing.

Dan died 10 days later.

Jed's mom never heard him sing again. She passed away.

So last night, at a very rough rehearsal, Jed sang the "Ave Maria". He sang for his mom and he sang for Dan.

Jed was perfect. His beautiful tenor voice filled the room with perfect notes and perfect love.

And I cried.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Missing Him

I really miss him.

Somedays are better than others but yesterday was not good.

I wasn't doing anything special. As a matter of fact, I was doing nothing.

Mel and I were just talking about something when Mel went off on a political rant. That is perfectly ok and I listened for awhile.

Then I just heard Dan in his voice.

Dan use to rant about political issues when we talked on the phone. I could often put the phone on speaker and keep doing what I was doing. He never noticed. He just kept talking. I think the longest time I went without interrupting him was 20 minutes.

He, like my spouse, was passionate about life and people.

And so as Mel talked, I heard Dan. I saw Dan. I wanted to hug Dan. So much.

Mel kept talking.

I cried last night.

I really miss him.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Letter to Dan

Dear Daniel,

I am afraid that you must return to this Earth to take care of a matter of two. We have been receiving mail on your behalf and are at a loss as to how you wish us to handle the matters presented.

First, there is a bill from the radiologist in Corning, California. This is the group that took the initial MRI of your brain and found it to be severely damaged. Although you were still alive when you left Corning in an ambulance, the physician who read the MRI knew or should have known, that you would not survive.

Apparently, there has been a clerical error or the physician did not communicate to the billing department that you would be unable to render payment to them. We have explained the situation to the billing department on several occasions and even sent them a copy of your death certificate. They apparently like you so much that they want a framed original.

You would think they would call the radiologist from Redding  (who took another MRI and came to the same conclusion) and get an original themselves. By the way, the radiologist in Redding seems to have the same problem with their billing department.

So, if you don't mind, could you please come back and give these people a piece of your mind? I have done so (given them a piece of my mind) but they don't seem to listen to me.

I think it would really get them to listen if you could show up and tell them, first of all, that they did a great job. There wasn't much they could do for you, but they really, really tried. Then, would you please ask them to stop reminding me that you are not here?

I would really appreciate that.

All my love,