On January 6 early in the morning, my best friend, Mike Sveen lost his battle with cancer and slipped into the next life. I am deeply saddened. I was trying to reach him before he passed away, but weather just wouldn’t let us. I did talk to him on the phone one last time on Saturday and that’ll have to be my closure for now.
I will see him again. I am now motivated to live the kind of life that will help me to get to the same kingdom he is surely in, the Celestial kingdom. I have no doubt he is there now and I hope he is waiting for me.
Here are my thoughts on Mike (in no particular order). This is just part 1. I will add more later as I think of stuff. Maybe this can go into the final biography that I will be working on this year. You know I love ya like a brother, man. Your pain is done. Now it’s up to the rest of us. Here are my thoughts, so far:
I have known my friend, Mike Sveen for almost 30 years. We met when Al Currit and he were assigned as our Home Teachers in Eyota, MN. It was about 1980 or 1981. The two would show up every month and when Mike found out I was interested in popular music and had a record collection, it was like magic was happening. We would leave Alan to sit and talk to the rest of the family, while he and I went up to my study to look at my collection. Alan would continue to Home Teach until he was done and then he would yell at Mike and the two of them would leave. Sometimes, it was hard to drag Mike away to the next family.
I can remember many days spent in the study looking a records and talking about them and playing them. At one point in time, Mike created what he called :”The List That Would Never Be Found”. It took me less than a year to find all the songs on the list. That was so much fun, playing songs that Mike didn’t think I could ever find.
We started the “Number One Project” sometime in the 80’s. I had a form of that that went back to the 60’s. When I was a student at BYU, I met a fellow named Ian Hyde. He was from Australia and had an interest in music like I did. We sat around thinking how hard would it be to get every song that had reached the “Top 40”. We used the Top 40 because of Casey Casum and the show he did on the radio. I knew that you couldn’t find the songs if you didn’t know what they were, so I used to spend hours in the BYU library looking through the microfilm records of Billboard magazine. I developed a system for copying out the top 40 records for each week.
Those were fun years. The notebooks that contained the lists of charts were precious to me. And when Mike came along, he was amazed at the work that I had done. I had been trying to get every song that ever hit the Top 40. I now have that pretty well complete for the rock years, 1955 until 1999.
I stopped following popular music when the century rolled over. I was tired of the way music was heading. I did not like hip hop and the 90’s were full of it. The Fifties are my favorite decade for music, but the 80’s are my favorite decade for Mike. He spent much of that decade at my house. We would sit in the basement and watch MTV non-stop on television. You can’t imagine how much fun it was to compare notes on the music and try to stump the other with trivia questions.
I used to think about trivia that Mike might not know. It was tough. I seldom came up with a question he could not answer. Every now and then I would do it. I miss Mike terribly. I had this vision of he and I sitting on some porch somewhere, like Andy Taylor and Barney Fife and whiling away our retirement talking about music and the past. I can think of no better way to spend my last years. Now that will never happen and it makes me tremendously sad.
I remember making jokes about everything. We would laugh about everything. Mostly, we joked about women and sometimes about Karen without telling her. She would bring us cookies and he would eat anything, even the burnt ones. We always teased Mike that he could eat the rest of us under the table whenever he stayed over for dinner.
My kids liked Mike. He always teased them and they liked that. David told me about a time when Mike took him back to the psych unit. Just the two of them. For some reason, I didn’t go along. David remembers that fondly.
I invite my kids to put how they remember Mike and anything special they remember about his impact on our family in the comments. I would love to know what you thought of him.