Grateful for healthy (and fun) friends, new (and persistent) family, bamboo forests, fresh flowers, and most especially for sweet Ryoko.
Indeed, I love connecting communities and so very happy 25 people (!) foreign dignitaries are coming to celebrate the wedding festivities in Okayama, Japan. Especially pleased that various times and places of my life are well represented: bearded renegades from Canada, lifesavers from Indonesia, a catch a beauties from Utah, padawans from the Hoot days from scattered places, hot dog couples and various drifting explorers. Oh, and the legendary mountain man from Nagano via Minnesota and the south Indian Ocean.
My ole pal Dr. Trevor “Trauben” Erikson shared a few musings about healing and kindness on his channel the other day. I am significantly moved by his reflections about my erstwhile wisdom and stashing this Thanks Trauben. Thanks so very much. ‘
Was thanked by an aging grandmother yesterday. She looked me in the eyes, hugged me and said she was grateful to me.
I was reminded of a friend’s advice to me, that somehow stands vivid amongst the fog of my adventurist past, travelling the globe in search of the better present moment.
It was either during a hike on some wilderness trail, or while dancing to some groovy tunes in the desert, or sunning on a sandy sub-tropical beach, or during a transatlantic flight from Europe, or perhaps a coffee shop in Amerstadam, or in our tent in the grape fields along the Rhine in Germany, it was certainly much before I knew it being HH the Dali Lama’s declared religion. Now this was probably gleaned from a Grateful dead lyric, I would think, although I knew my friend’s mom was definitely a walking example of this, which would have predated any travelling rock band’s lyric from entering into his head.
Anyways, it was 1992-ish, and Dave Olson looked over at me, in the lovingly charming way that he does, and said, simply, and matter-of-factly, ‘Always be kind’.
Of course. How simple. How profound.
I was reminded of this powerful declaration when this grandmother lovingly embraced me and said thank you.
A high school i attended for 1-1/2 year-ish in Utah held a 20 anniversary for my graduating class in summer 2018 – while i wasn’t technically a graduate (nor did i attend the event), i added my dispatch for the record. Shared here for the posterity etc.
A few flashbacks… (PS i was Dave Elliott in those years)
I was a sorta “walk-on character” in the Orem High sitcom – arriving from Canada for the last couple months of 10th grade and then dropping out 2 weeks into 12th grade but dang,… made 11th grade count.
* Running Paul Moody’s “campaign” for Student body president including the “fascist takeover” at the assembly and screening of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” in lounge for a campaign promotion – and the acknowledgement speech at assembly in which someone temporarily declined to announce the winner because of the number of “refused” ballots
* The (notorious) Martin Luther King day protest including long banners on newspaper roll ends covering the lockers with rather controversial slogans
* Thought i wasn’t enrolled in Unified Studies, my attendance was almost perfect
* KOHS, possibly the best invention in the history of highschool (until my FCC license was revoked)
* Ace-ing AP US History with a 98% on the test but failing because of the tardy/absence policy (drop a grade each time or something) – it *was* the first class in the morning
* Being amazed at seminary – meaning you could sign up and have basically a period off (before moving to Utah, i had attended early morning seminary (imagine the horror of riding to church house on cold Canadian mornings at 5AM!)
* Swim team – i wasn’t cut out for football, basketball etc so signed up for swim team which basically meant roadtrips to other schools, hanging out in a Speedo waiting to lose to “whichever school we were competing against” – our girl’s team won all the time though
* Having no idea was the heck a Sadie Hawkins dance was until getting invited by a card written in Alpha-bits cereal – was completely baffled (later Napoleon Dynamite made this clear)
* Umm… after growing up in a very multi-cultural part of Vancouver (little Punjab), arriving to a ummm… sorta non-diverse school
* Feeling like a total outsider but quickly making friends by virtue of driving a limo to school – which was later replaced by an even more fun VW bus (Spicoli had nothing on me)
* Wearing shorts every single day of the school year – usually with wool socks and duck boots and flannel shirts – i didn’t exactly invent “grunge style” but do deserve an honourable mention
* Frequently teased for using Canadian spellings / we like to put in extra an “u” and switch around “re” instead of “er” and saying “zed” instead of “zee” #sigh
* Requiring a note to read Catcher in The Rye in 11th grade AP English > also realizing the teacher had absolutely no idea why the book was “banned” in some alien circles
* Amazed that so many girls looked like straight out of a magazine or movie #outofmyleague – i was more accustomed to punk rock girls
* Never attending a single football game (now if there was a hockey team…)
* Coming “back” for 12th grade homecoming dance and bringing non-Orem high pals and taking photo with the reggae band (Irie Heights)
By the way, when i bailed on Grade 12 (12th Grade), i went to Utah Technical College (later Utah Valley Community College, Utah Valley College, Utah Valley University, Harvard of the West…) and “earned” an Alpine School District Adult High School diploma after rigorous schedule of ceramics, mountaineering, photography and “independent study” – also creative writing (which turned out handy). I did attend class of 88 grad as a spectator.
Later? after a run of a few more higher-ed institutions (University of Utah, University of Guam) i graduated from Evergreen State College, just took me a few decades. Since, travelled 40+ countries, 100 weird jobs (most recently VP at Hootsuite (social media company), gave TEDx talk (not near as popular as Jani Radebaugh‘s) and now live on various remote small islands making poetry, podcasts and paintings (also deal with a weird complex illness #boring).
I have been able to meet up with a few excellent folks from those years (Cory DeMille, Mark Swenson, Jayson Lee, Kyle Blackham, Jennifer Powers-Johnson, Jeniffer Johnson Goodman, Jennifer Hawkins Pixton, Nichole Ortega… in the last few years – albeit some only virtually).
Thanks for letting me share – i won’t be at the reunion (i am far away elsewhere) but carry fond memories.
Would very much like to know what you are up to?
I also love to write letters/postcards so message your address (or fill out form on my website) and one day you’ll receive postal mail from this “walk on character”.
Fondly, dvo, elsewhere
Jennifer Hawkins Pixton You were ahead of your time! Love that your VW bus is now a sauna.
Michelle Scofield You and your brother were exactly what the school needed!! Thanks for spicing things up.
Marianne Paul Jensen You were definitely ahead of your time. And you definitely increased the character of the non-diverse school.
Thanks for sharing these awesome memories!
Dave Olson Funny how in those impressionable days of high school, we get defined, &/or define ourselves… I guess I was a little naïve about the different cliques and hierarchies of high school in the US… I had gone to four different schools in 10th grade and just desperately wanted to find a tribe to hang out with so tried to be friendly to everyone. Of course most people had known each other for years through junior high or the same church groups or whatever but I came in with none of those preconceive notions.
I’m sure I overcompensated for my nervousness with too much chatter and goofballery –
As it goes, no matter how “popular” one was in high school, we all had to go out in the world and find someway to make a living and make ourselves happy. It turns out there’s a little benefit to “peaking early” And being “cool” in high school doesn’t predict a future of life success/happiness.
Rick Herlevi I was telling my kids the other day about the one and only time in my life that I hiked the Y. I skipped class and went with Kraig Kiggins, I think Cory was there and the two Canadian brothers that drove a limo and hiked they Y. Why would I ever want to do it again after that pinnacle experience.
Kelli Robison Herlevi This convo definitely did take place very recently. It was probably our FHE lesson. I thought Rick was making up the story so he didn’t have to commit to a “Y” hike. But it looks like there’s truth to his story. I won’t make him hike the “Y” again. I can’t compete.
Dave Olson Next time, we will just drive the limo up to the Y with a catered picnic – It’s all true, even the parts that aren’t 🙂
Cory DeMille Many great memories in this bus! Remember our Good the Bad and the Ugly video Party and camping in the bus in full cowboy regalia on OHS campus? Now that would be considered a terrorist incident!
Dave Olson Also remember driving around and shooting Roman candle bottle rockets out the back of the bus, and later water balloons (filled from the bus’s sink) and big gulp cups through the “accidental” sunroof – would soak BYU students and act all nonchalant like “it wasn’t us”… Sometimes when chased, the only reasonable strategy was to drive really slow rather than trying to out run them. Those activities did produce some actual police incidents however￼
Cory DeMille We were dicks at times!
Postcards sent Dec. 2017, created by/purchased from Stick No Bills – creators of fine artisan postcards from Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) – Vol. 2 (of 6), feat. historical map art.
Postcards sent Dec. 2017created by/purchased from Stick No Bills – creators of fine artisan postcards from Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) – Vol. 5 (of 6), feat. transportation themed art pieces (ships, trains, motorbikes and the like)
Postcards sent Dec. 2017created by/purchased from Stick No Bills – creators of fine artisan postcards from Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) – Vol. 4 (of 6), feat. landmarks, hotels and other tourist-minded commercial art
Postcards sent Dec. 2017created by/purchased from Stick No Bills – creators of fine artisan postcards from Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) – Vol. 6 (of 6), feat. various faces, people, folk art, and other bits of Sri Lanka cultural sublimity
Postcards sent Dec. 2017created by/purchased from Stick No Bills – creators of fine artisan postcards from Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) – Vol. 3 (of 6), feat. cinema promotional art
As often mentioned, i love postcards – both the writing / sending and the buying / collecting. When i find excellent postcards, i am indeed tempted to keep em stashed in a dossier or shoebox for my own amusement, however such action does not allow the humble postcard to fulfil its apparent destiny. As such, as per usual routine, i gather the finest cards, write sentiments (albeit in semi-legible scrawl) upon the back, squeeze in an address, flourish with inky stamps, complete with requisite postal stamps and send send on their way via the magical wormhole of postboxes. However, before sending on their journey, i take snapshots of the front / arty side for art and documentation purposes (sometimes the backs too for personal audit and memory).
This batch comes via a stay in Galle, Sri Lanka where, in the historical Fort Galle (previously Portuguese, Dutch and British), i bought basically everything Stick No Bills had on offer – postcard-wise that is, they also sell posters which aren’t handy for traveling though i have a mighty stack in a storage locker faraway.
Each card rung up with unique UPC barcode resulting in a receipt approx a metre/yard long with 92 entries. I mentioned this dedications to them and they offered me a poster t say “thanks” but alas i split before taking them up on the kindness.
Most notable about Stick No Bills is:
- Respect for artists – the art is carefully curated, artists are compensating appropriately and the artwork is reproduced accurately
- Quality of materials – delicious tactile cardstock with fine silkscreened ink which feels wonderful under pen and finger
- Eclectic variety – as evidenced in my collection shared over 7 volumes, the assortments includes vintage Air Ceylon and hotel art, cinema art, various folklife, landmarks, maps and transportation themed pieces. (They also offered a line featuring funny/weird/unironic english t-shirts worn by local folks which i didn’t collect as i recall.)
Anyhow, mine are shared here for historical record (and modified with my personal stamps to prevent unauthorized reproductions) and your support/purchases is/are encouraged/recommended either by mailorder or even better, stopping into their lovely shop in Fort Galle, Sri Lanka.Tell em Uncle Weed sent ya (they won’t know what you mean but i’ll be amused).