I have mentioned many times in this blog how the people I have come to meet at the Chili Cook-off have come to be more than Terlingua acquaintances and more like family. Our little Terlingua family is comprised of all age groups, creeds, sex, ethnic origins, and diverse social economic backgrounds.
|Bear and two other campmates the first year I attended the Chili cook-off|
On a prior post I talk about my first time in Terlingua http://terlinguadreams.blogspot.com/2012/01/in-beginning.html
|Bear on the left, me and two other Terlingua friends|
One person that made that first time memorable was Bear, a good friend of the guy who took me there. When we got to their camp I was in shorts and a t-shirt and shivering to death as a cold front had moved in the night before. He loaned me his insulated over-alls, gave me some hot coffee and made me breakfast. Bear was the type of person who was always smiling and had a happy disposition, loved his country and wore his military fatigues proudly.
|Bear in 2006|
He took me hiking and showed me the layout of the land. It being my first time I was not aware they sold t-shirts and I had left my purse in the car. Bear bought me my first official Terlingua t-shirt and did not accept my money when I tried to pay him back. I owe a lot of people my gratitude for that magnificent twenty-four hours in the desert but none more so than Bear.
|Me with my first official Terlingua t-shirt|
It wasn’t until I read his obituary that I found out that his real nickname was “Sugar Bear” and I can certainly see how fitting it was. He was the type of guy who never met a stranger and would give the shirt off his back if you needed it. He loved Terlingua and had been attending the event for more than thirty years. Due to health issues he had missed the past couple of cook-offs. He always looked forward to next year and when we would say our good-byes his favorite phrase was “see you in 364 days because today doesn’t count. “
Bear was buried today with full military honors at the age of 60. May you rest in peace my dear friend.