Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tribute to Bruce Elving

By Kimberly Misson

Like my sisters, I remember the games Dad used to play and the bike rides he loved. I also remember my sisters locking me out of the play room because they didn’t want their baby sister bugging them. Dad would lift me over the baby gate and tell them they had to include me. And when my sisters were too old for Barbies, I’d carry my dolls upstairs to Dad’s office and ask him to play. He’d sit on the floor and play with me—but he was a horrible Barbie doll player. He always made them say the wrong things and do the wrong things, until I’d get fed up with his manner of playing and go back downstairs. (Pretty tricky evasive measure, huh?)

My dad was a one-of-a-kind character. He saw the world differently than most people and marched to his own drumbeat. When I was a kid, I was sometimes embarrassed by his radio obsession and the huge words he insisted on using, but as an adult I came to appreciate his unique style. How many people can turn their zany little hobby into a full-time career that supports a family of five? He was a champion to the “underdog” and accepting of people who sometimes had trouble fitting in. He was supportive to me when I became a young mother, and he had a special relationship with my daughter. He had lots of interests, and right up until the end he was active physically and involved in the community. (Even in California, he wasted no time acquainting himself with the community, meeting people, and finding ways to get involved.)

It’s fun to think about childhood games and family stories from years ago, but my fondest memories of my dad came in my adult years. He enjoyed the anniversary party we threw for him and Mom last year & he laughed heartily four years ago when we surprised both of them with a surprise birthday party for my mom. This summer while my parents were in California, Kyleigh and I went to visit them for several days. My dad told me he was trying to make sure they did everything Mom wanted because he knew this trip was mostly for him, and he wanted to make it the best experience possible for her. (Mom also told me she wanted to join him in all of his activities because she didn’t want to feel as though she were holding him back.) I came home from that visit with a sunburn, a few souvenirs, and happy memories of swimming in the ocean with Dad, exploring the mountains, and driving on insanely busy highways. The happiest thing I saw in California, though, was the peace that my parents had together. I remember telling my friend afterwards that I saw an example in my parents of what I want in my future: love, mutual concern, and self-sacrifice.

Radio lovers everywhere will agree with me when I say that a small corner of the world is a better place because my dad was here.

And I am who I am because my dad was here.

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