Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas San Diego, Ca. March 2012

Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas San Diego, Ca. March 2012
Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas at Luche Libre Taco Shop in San Diego, March 2012

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Tellis Capell, Who Some Knew As Telly But Who I Knew As Terry...And As A Great Friend

                                                Tellis "Terry" Capell, San Diego, Ca. 1986

More years ago than I care to admit a close friend of mine convinced me I needed to go to a High School dance with him. 

This friend, who was also a fellow wrestler on our High School wrestling team, thought it would be good for me to get out and have a good time in light of my recent break-up with a girlfriend, to the point where he even loaned me a pair of his Angel Flight pants, a pair of dress shoes, and a dress shirt - items I did not possess and could not afford to buy.

It was the first High School dance I ever attended, and while it may seem a bit odd to some that it was a man that insisted I go, if you knew that man as I and a few hundred other lucky people did, it wouldn't seem odd at all.

For that man was Terry Capell, a man with a heart and love for life as big as it gets.

I will confess right now that I have been avoiding writing this for awhile, just as I have avoided writing more about my Mothers passing.

For Terry, who later in life preferred to be called by his actual name of Tellis, or Telly for short, but who I always knew as Terry, was one of the ten or fifteen people I have known that had an impact on my life that goes beyond the pale.

Terry and I met at Morse High School in Southeast San Diego (back when the name Southeast San Diego was still being used in legal documents to refer to the area we grew up in), as members of the wrestling team. I was in the 191 weight class, Terry was in at 202, and naturally we practiced against each other...a lot.

In time we became training partners, running 40 laps around the Boone field every night, five nights a week during wrestling season, and running even more when we both joined the track & field team after wrestling had finished up.

Years after High School, and after I left the USAF, when both of us had entered the real world and found that it was all about workin' for a living, we worked together as doormen/bouncers (the go-to job for big dudes needing a job) at a small bar in P.B. called Billy Bones. We worked at that bar together for almost two years in the mid to late '80's, until circumstances took us in extremely different directions.

Terry headed out to Guam, and I headed for Alaska, both of us searching for something bigger and better than what we knew in San Diego.

We lost contact for a long while, more than a decade, until the internet made it possible for us to reconnect.

Terry had moved back to the states, as had I - he was in Minnesota for awhile, then South Dakota. I was in Colorado.

That was about 15, maybe 16 years ago. At first we just emailed each other updates on our lives - non-specific and specific info pertaining to marriages, divorces, children, etc.

But after awhile we started calling and texting each other, either to brag (Terry with his dart competitions, me with my trivia) or to complain.

A few years ago, around 2015 I think, Terry and I had our last really long, involved conversation. He had just returned to Sioux Falls from San Diego, where he had gone to visit his oldest son and one of his grandchildren. He was as happy as any man could be. 

For reasons beyond my understanding, our phone calls and texts started to taper off around the first few months of 2016 -  no doubt that had to do with the business of life and all the constraints that go with it, especially in Terry's case, as he had by then multiple grandchildren (which, for a man with 7 children, should be expected). 

Still, every few months or so we would send each other an email or text to let us both know we were still kickin' it live.

Until last Spring. 

Last Spring, when I was flying back to S.D. on a fairly regular basis, I sent Terry an email letting him know I was going to be in S.D., and if he was going to be in S.D. too we should get together. 

I got no response to that email, which wasn't all that unusual. But then, as my Mother's health worsened and I found myself in S.D. even more frequently, and still received no reply to further emails to Terry, I became concerned.

But I pushed aside my concern with the thought that Terry was just too busy to reply to me at the moment, or even weeks after the moment, but would eventually.

Then I received an email from a mutual friend with the title:

Tellis Reece Capell, July 20th, 1964, April 26th 2017

And my heart dropped.

Terry was a great friend, and even though he had many demons to battle (as did I), was always a good person...and truly a great friend - a sentiment that bears repeating, as nearly everyone who knew Terry would attest.

He will never be forgotten.

                            Scott, Rob, Mike, Me & Terry at Billy Bones in P.B., back in 1987

Monday, November 13, 2017

Fireworks At Mile High

Unfortunately, they were real fireworks, not the Denver offense lighting up the Patriots defense. 

Quite the opposite happened in the game, actually.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Thank You For Your Respect

Veterans Day is fairly important to me, my family, and just about all of my friends and acquaintances.

So it is with a fair amount of joy that I see people paying a little respect to those who have served in the military. Life in the military can be the worst and best experience a human being can endure and in my humble opinion, those who have undertaken that challenge deserve all the respect in the world.

Veterans Day in the U.S. honors all that have served in the armed forces, and while my time in the USAF was neither grand nor glorious, I proudly salute the contributions of those men and women who serve presently, who served with me, and who served before me.


A Happy Birthday Wish

The 10th of November 2017 would have been my Mother's 86th birthday. It marked the first birthday of hers that I would not be saying Happy Birthday to her, or sending her a card, or a bouquet, or. well, anything.

It has been months since my Mother passed away, peacefully, in her sleep, as peacefully as one can pass away, I suppose.

Since then I have reflected quite a bit on how many good characteristics my Mother instilled in me, either through deliberate effort or just by example, and it has made me again realize how lucky I was to have someone with such incredible perseverance, such amazing faith and determination, raise me, and it has cemented in me the idea that I am one lucky man.

Thanks Mom, and Happy Birthday.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Chainsaw Alarm Clock

Woke up to the sounds of a chainsaw and falling tree limbs on Saturday morning. Looked out the back window and saw tree trimmers working to clear branches away from the power lines that run along the flood control canal behind the house.

Wasn't even 7:00am. Damn, those guys like to get to work early.