118. Young Man For All Seasons

One of the forms of child abuse I fervently practiced for a few years was conducting video interviews with the small urchins in the family.

Sitting still for a video interview was tolerated only through the use of bribes and hints of rewards to come.  Somehow, we managed to capture at least four interviews with each grandchild through the years.  Each interview is 20 to 30 minutes long, and last night I tried to edit two of my grandson Bryce’s down for today’s blob.  I had intended to do it for his birthday on January 11, but he’s not going to be here so I had to do a crash-edit last night.

On the video below are some excerpts from when he was 4 and 5 years old. Note what he’s wearing in the first scenes.  He insisted on his cowboy outfit: shirt, pants, vest, bandana, cowboy hat, cowboy boots, socks for gloves, and all his “armor”.  His mother Gretchen wouldn’t let him have guns so he had a sword and shield and a homemade bow and arrow made from a yardstick and string.  Note that by the end of the interview, as his patience thinned out, so did his wearing apparel. By the end, he gradually stripped down to t-shirt, pants and socks.

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Bryce was born January 11, 1988 at Swedish Hospital in Seattle.  His family lives right next door to us so I got to be in on the whole momentous affair. I’m not saying this because I’m his grandmother, but Bryce was, is, and always will be PERFECT. I’m recommending him as a candidate for cloning.

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The two cousins he shares his birth year with are first cousin Sonja Opsvig, and second cousin Brian Ford.  (Actually, I’d like to see them cloned, too.)

Sonja’s family lives in North Bend but she is currently studying at the University of Washington,  and shares an apartment with her sister Erica.

She’s an accomplished singer and an award-winning Irish dancer. She’s working part-time as a barista at a Starbucks near the university.

Second cousin Brian Ford works as a night manager at an Albertson’s supermarket in Medford, Oregon.  I’m hoping my son Matt and I can get there this year to visit him and the rest of our family there.

Now, back to Bryce and the volcanic activity that he always seems to be engaged in.

I hope Central America is ready for this because this morning, Bryce is starting the first leg of his journey there.  Despite his calm exterior, Bryce is a power source to be reckoned with and one can only wonder what his adventures will be during his next five months in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.

Bryce’s energy and drive is nuclear.  He’s twenty-three years old this month, and it’s best to be sitting down when you read the next paragraph.

By the end of this year he will have attended 6 colleges and universities, has received his certification as a Emergency Medical Technician and (over my protests) became a USPA A-licensed skydiver. He has studied with and volunteered on humanitarian missions in many countries of the world, completed an internship with a cancer support group, served as a regular and faithful volunteer for an orphanage in Tijuana, finished all his nursing pre-requisites, minored in Spanish, majored in Peace Studies, studied in Argentina and India, spent time traveling in the Caribbean, all around the U.S., in Europe for 4 months, and Mexico for 4 months, worked many different jobs including car valet, barista, smoothie maker, waiter, bus boy, Spanish tutor, Spanish lab leader, website designer, and he works all the gigs he can juggle as a successful professional photographer.  He’s acquiring quite a following of photography clients.  You can see his work on his website   http://www.brycecoveyphotography.com

If only he weren’t so lazy.

The reason he’s heading for Central America is to complete his degree in International Peace Studies at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington.  Along with 20 or so other students, he’ll study and work there for five months.  Already fluent in Spanish, he’ll further improve it for four weeks in Guatemala and then he’ll work on rural service projects and family home stays in Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and El Salvador.  According to the course description I read on the internet, he will encounter both breathtaking scenery and wrenching poverty.

I also read “. . . students will witness the tensions between economic development, conservation, and the global distribution of wealth in the Central American context. These connections are much clearer when students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a culture and to cultivate a broader understanding of what it means to love one’s neighbor.”  It sound like Bryce’s cup of tea.

I’m telling you all this because the information won’t be forthcoming from Bryce.  He’s up to his armpits in work and, if not for his mom, Gretchen, he wouldn’t even have noticed on Friday that he was supposed to get some inoculations before leaving.

This is where he’ll start out in Costa Rica. It’s less than an hour’s bus ride from the bustling capital of San Jose, up a scenic mountain road to the edge of a large rain forest where lies Whitworth University’s newest classroom building and residence hall.

The two building are on a 27 acre property that “features a spring-fed stream that spills into two small ponds, a second-generation rain forest and broad lawns”. Bryce and his fellow students will stay in the small adjacent hotel building while there.

Just to the north of the property lies Costa Rica’s renowned Braulio Carrillo National Park, which features a dense virgin cloud forest that is home to hundreds of plant, bird and mammal species as well as the 9,534-foot inactive Barva Volcano. There’ll certainly  be lots of photo opportunities, there, though Bryce’s most distinguished work usually includes images of people.

A horrible condition of this course of study is that the students aren’t allowed to bring their cell phones or computers!  It’s like giving up food and water, but according to Bryce, he’s looking forward to it.  And of course, he’ll have one of his cameras along.  I bet we’ll see a National Geographic-quality photo essay come out of this little venture.

In closing, I don’t think it’s fair that he got me signed up for a year’s commitment to post an entry on this blob every day and then deserts me in my hour of need.  Without a computer, he won’t even be reading the blobs, let alone nagging me to be sure I get them posted.

Ah well,  off he goes, to once again explore the world.  Happy birthday, dear Bryce, and vaya con Dios’.


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4 Responses to 118. Young Man For All Seasons

  1. George Lucas says:

    Wow! Great blob, sounds like quite a kid! I’m sure he is looking forward to reading more of them in mass when he gets to the internet!

  2. Linda Lewis says:

    How can I say anything after George Lucas?!!
    But, I will confirm your sentiments with my brief encounter in video taping Bryce in his immaculate office. So organized, with a few choice, poignant photographs on his walls and such a warm, generous soul. No wonder your buttons are popping! And for all your awesome kids and grandkids!!

  3. Faithful "Going on 80" Follower says:

    Don’t worry, Bryce! In your absence we will take on the challenge to nag your grandma until she is current with her posts, knowing she’ll keep us posted on your adventures! Be safe!

  4. Gretchen Covey says:

    Mom, Thank you for this wonderful blog on Bryce’s life! You captured his intelligence, heart and soul. Thanks also for helping to raise Bryce. He has spent almost as many hours at your house as he has ours! You, Matt and Dad have have been a huge support and encouragement to him.

    Thank you for your hard work editing Bryce’s video interviews and researching his Central America trip. Your summary of his past 5 years is fabulous.

    Linda Lewis, thank you for your comment that Bryce ‘has a warm, generous soul’. This is, oh, so true!

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