Veterans share a passion for fishing

Harvey Capell and Jim Jolly enjoy the day at Jolly’s pond in Gilbert.
Harvey Capell and Jim Jolly enjoy the day at Jolly’s pond in Gilbert. Special to The State

This is a story about a fishing hole.

It took me out toward Gilbert. Past peach sheds and strawberry fields. Beyond the place where Highway 1 turns from a four-lane to a two-lane. Down a country road and into a gravel driveway where a two-toned Ford F-150 was for sale. (Circa 1970s. Needs new tires but runs good.)

Then, down a bumpy dirt road where a big, red dog by the name of Ladybug was beside herself – barking at a box turtle that refused to come out of its shell. Just beyond the obstinate tortoise and the perturbed canine was a slight hill, and over that hill, a pond as pretty as can be.

It was here, this past Saturday afternoon, that this fishing tale took place.

It began with 83-year-old Harvey Capell who fought in the Korean War, who lives in Lexington and who wanted to find a pond to fish in with his grandchildren because, he simply explained, “I love them.”

Capell said he had “looked all around” for a place to drop a line, with no luck. “Finally I said to myself, ‘I’m going to run an advertisement.’ ”

So, maybe you saw the classified ad that appeared in this paper several weeks ago. “Retired Veteran looking for Lexington Co. fishing pond to take grandchildren …”

Enter Jim Jolly.

“Just like Santa Claus,” he noted, introducing himself. The sizable man lives near Gilbert with his wife, Linda. Jolly, too, is a retired veteran. He has a big grin that reveals a gold front tooth which, he explained with another wide smile, was the result of his sister throwing a telephone at him when they were youngsters.

“I saw Harvey’s ad two or three times and then my wife saw it the last time and she said, ‘Honey, why don’t you call him and tell him to come fish?’ ”

So that’s what Jolly did.

Now you may wonder what he was thinking. After all, people can be kind of funny these days. Never know what they’re up to. But Jolly picked up the telephone anyway.

Capell recalled the conversation. “Jim called and I said, ‘Hello.’ Then Jim said, ‘How you doing?’ I said, ‘I’m doing fine. How are you?’ And he said, ‘I been reading your ad in the paper.’ ”

And then Jolly invited Capell out to fish.

“Well,” he said, “I was an Army fella and Harvey’s retired Air Force. He just seemed like a pretty decent fella.”

So this past Saturday afternoon, Capell arrived at the fishing pond with several members of his family including his 15-year-old granddaughter, Maggie, who calls her grandfather “Poppi.”

“The Jollys are just as nice as they can be,” Capell said, and pointing to Jolly, he added, “He’s the hero here.”

The sizable man smiled and his gold tooth gleamed. A stiff breeze pushed waves of pollen through the trees. Ladybug kept on barking at the turtle that kept on staying inside its shell.

And by the end of the afternoon, five bream found themselves on dry land.

“We threw ’em back,” Capell said, “and we had a great time.”

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