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  • Writer's pictureNeal Hagberg

The Grass Is Green…


Dave Aasen


He would be 50 now.  He would be director of TLC.  He would have you laughing at his goofy jokes.  And crying at how tender hearted he could be to the people who were least popular.  He made them feel like they were whole. Because they were whole to him.  And, in his eyes, everyone should know it.  And celebrate it.

Everyone loved him.  The popular girls and boys surrounded him at camp, because he was our most popular instructor.  But he would sit with the girl, or boy, who sat by themselves at lunch, who didn’t dare to presume that others would want to be with them.  That’s where Dave would go. And they would feel worthy – in their own eyes – the place that is most important, by the time the meal was over.

On his gravestone, center, a tennis player serves with the letters TLC below it.  He epitomized what we try to do.  Bring excellence, bring joy, bring encouragement, bring community, but most of all, bring kindness.

It has been 25 years since he passed away.  His life shaped mine, and thousands of others.  You would even hear campers say, I want to be like Dave.

Life goes away for all of us.

But I am reminded of the connected mystery of what lives on.

It has been 25 years since his car slid into the path of a semi that Thanksgiving Day and extinguished his bright light in the world.

Or so we might think.

But two weeks ago, when COVID-19 forced us all off the courts to shelter in place and to help others for the greater good of society – a move Dave would make in a heartbeat – I received the most timely email.  It was from the dad of a ten-year old girl. Named Dave.

Ok, her name is Maya.  She is a camper.  So are her dad and brother.  But she’s a lot like Dave.

This was what was attached on that email:


“The Grass Is Green”



“It Is A Great Day To Be Alive”



“The Sky Is Blue”


This was Dave’s signature motto, no matter if the world was upside down or right side up.  Not a day went by where I didn’t hear him say it.

Camper Maya


He wasn’t a Pollyanna.  He saw the grief in the world and knew it was real.  And he would see the grief in the world right now and know it is real.  And still, somehow, say,

The grass is green, the sky is blue, it’s a great day to be alive.

He is not here to say it.  Instead, Maya is here for him.  And for us.  Maya was born fifteen years after Dave’s death.  And, still, I see Dave in that smile, in the hopefulness, in the looking to make the world a better place when it isn’t feeling like such a good place. So, there you have it.  Thanks, Maya.  Thanks, Dave.  And thanks, all of you who are doing your best to make the world a better place even now.  Especially now.

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