Michael Sommers, the Brazil-based brother of Annie, Dave Campbell’s wife, has written “Thinking about ‘Wave Boy'”, a beautiful account of Dave’s time spent visiting Salvador and Rio. Curiosity, enthusiasm, recklessness. Classic Campbell.
Another time, he and my sister went to the beach and Dave returned, thrilled at having made a new friend: a street kid to whom he had given the nickname “Wave Boy.” (Dave’s Portuguese was limited to “Tudo bem?”, “Tudo bom” and the ubiquitous thumbs-up sign that Brazilians use on a variety of occasions to mean “okay”, “cool”, “great”, etc. – but he got incredible mileage out of this linguistic trio). While I retroactively worried about the naivete of my sister and Dave palling around with street kids (not always the safest thing to do), Dave’s eyes were shining as he sipped his post-beach caipirinha and told me about the joys of body-surfing with this marvelous kid.
A rabid sports fan, Dave was over the moon to be in the land of futebol. When he discovered that a regional championship game was going to played in Salvador, he begged to be taken. My boyfriend (who had never been to a live soccer game) did the honors which, at the time, entailed hopping a municipal bus stuffed to the gills (to say there was “standing room” would be overly generous) with drunken, chanting, drumming (on the seats, windows, and side of the bus) fans. After getting far enough out in Salvador’s suburbs, it was necessary to walk through a favela and a garbage dump to actually reach the stadium. Emotions always run high at these games, but Dave’s joy lasted for months – and just as amazing as the actual game to him were the favela, the garbage, the endless ride, the pounding on the bus.
I am, I think, pulling out of the state of shock I’ve been in for the past 10 days. There will be a gathering of Dave’s college buddies and others in New York on the weekend of the 12th, and Heather and I will be there for that.
Until then, I have been driving the roads of central Kentucky, listening constantly to Dave’s genius compilations of brasilero music.