MY BIGFOOT ENCOUNTER

ON NOVEMBER SIXTH, 2019 I WENT FROM BEING A SASQUATCH BELIEVER TO A SASQUATCH “KNOWER”.  NOTHING I’VE READ OR WATCHED HAD PREPARED ME FOR THE ENCOUNTER.  IN NINTH GRADE A FRIEND OF MINE GAVE ME A BOOK ENTITLED, “STRANGE CREATURES FROM TIME AND SPACE”.  IT IS A TONGUE IN CHEEK NARRATIVE OF ALL THINGS THAT GO BUMP OR GLOW IN THE DARK.  BIGFOOT WAS AMONG THEM.  I WAS ALREADY A UFO “KNOWER” BUT THAT’S ANOTHER STORY.

OVER THE YEARS, MY OPINION OF BIGFOOT WAS SKEPTICAL AT BEST.  I WATCHED ALL THE DOCUMENTARIES.  THEN I WATCHED “SCIENCE MEETS SASQUATCH” AND MY SKEPTICISM STARTED TO FADE.  I BOUGHT THE BOOK AND BECAME A BELIEVER.  THE BELL CURVE GRAPH OF SASQUATCH FOOT LENGTH APPEALED TO THE MATHEMATICIAN IN ME.  NUMBERS DO NOT LIE.

IN 2017, WE MOVED FROM LAS VEGAS NEVADA TO CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA.  I HAVE BEEN IN AND OUT OF CHARLESTON FOR ELEVEN YEARS AND WANTED TO RETIRE THERE.  MY GRANDCHILDREN LIVE THERE.  MY DAUGHTER WANTED TO GO TO COLLEGE IN SOUTH CAROLINA.  I WANTED TO RETIRE TO A PLACE THAT REMINDED ME OF WHAT CALIFORNIA USED TO BE WITH TREES AND AN OCEAN.  THE PROSPECT OF DOING SOME “SQUATCHING” WAS IN MY MIND.  THE MARION FRANCIS NATIONAL FOREST BECKONED TO ME.  ACCORDING TO THE BFRO, THERE ARE NOT MANY BIGFOOT SIGHTINGS IN SOUTH CAROLINA.  I THINK THAT’S BECAUSE THEY’RE CALLED “BOOGERS” NOT “BIGFOOT” AROUND HERE.  THE LOCALS HAVE STORIES OF THE ASHLEY RIVER “SWAMP MONSTER”. 

WHEN WE SETTLED INTO OUR NEW HOME, I DID NOT THINK I’D STUMBLE ONTO ANY BIGFEET.  HOWEVER, ONE MORNING WAITING FOR A CREDIT UNION TO OPEN UP, I SAW A BIGFOOT STICK STRUCTURE RIGHT AT THE EDGE OF THE PARKING LOT.  I INVESTIGATED, TOOK PICTURES .

NOW FOR THE GOOD PART.  ON THE SIXTH OF NOVEMBER, 2018, I DROVE MY DAUGHTER BACK TO COLLEGE.  I DROPPED HER OFF AND GOT BACK ON THE ROAD AT MIDNIGHT.  IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL NIGHT.  I ROARED DOWN HIGHWAY 71 AT SPEEDS A PATROLMAN WOULD FROWN AT.  BY  0130, I HAD PASSED A COUPLE OF CARS THAT HAD RUN OFF THE ROAD AND WAS FEELING GUILTY FOR NOT STOPPING.  IT WAS THEN THAT I SPOTTED THE BLUE LIGHTS.  MY GPS HAD TAUGHT THAT THE HIGHWAY PATROL HAD PULLED SOMEONE OVER ABOUT A MILE AHEAD.  I TOOK MY KIA SOUL OUT OF LIGHT SPEED.

I WAS IN THE RIGHT LANE.  THE SHOULDER OF THE ROAD WAS SMALL.  THERE WAS ABOUT 30 FEET OF TALL GRASS AND THEN THE MASSIVE TREELINE.  THE MOON WAS FULL AND THERE WAS A LOT OF LIGHT OF THE TOWNS AND CITIES BEING REFLECTED FROM THE LOW CLOUD COVER.  VISIBILTY WAS NOT A PROBLEM.  IT WAS THEN THAT I SAW A MAN STAND UP THE GRASS.  HE STEADIED HIMSELF WITH HIS ARMS OUT AND THEN FLOPPED BACK DOWN.

I SLOWED DOWN FURTHER AND WONDERED IF THE TROOPERS HADN’T FOUND HIM AND MAYBE HE WAS HURT FROM A WRECK.  I WAS PREPARING TO STOP AND RENDER AID WHEN THIS “THING” CAME AT ME IN THE GRASS.  I WAS BEWILDERED BECAUSE IT DEFINITELY WASN’T A MAN.  I HAD READ ALL ABOUT BIGFOOT IN THE “TURBO MODE” BUT THAT HAD NOT PREPARED ME FOR WHAT I SAW.  I SWEAR TO GOD THAT IT LOOKED LIKE A HUGE HAIRY SPIDER COMING AT ME ALL ARMS AND LEGS.  MY SPEED HAD DROPPED INTO THE 40’S AS IT CAME CLOSER AND NOW LOOKED LIKE A SOLDIER DOING A LOW CRAWL BUT MUCH TOO FAST.  WHEN WE PASSED EACH OTHER, EVERYTHING SLOWED DOWN FOR ME LIKE WHEN YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING TO CRASH.  I DID HAVE THE THOUGHT FLASH THROUGH MY MIND THAT IT WOULD LEAP ONTO THE PAVEMENT AND I’D HIT HIM.

I REMEMBER EVERY DETAIL AS WE PASSED.  IT WAS AT A RANGE OF ZERO.  IF SOMEONE WERE IN THE PASSENGER SEAT, THEY COULD’VE ROLLED DOWN THE WINDOW AND TOUCHED IT.  EVERY WINDOW ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE CAR WAS FILLED WITH THE DARKEST BLACK FUR I’VE EVER SEEN.  I SAW NO HEAD, NO HANDS OR FEET.  JUST FUR AND RIPPLING MUSCLES.  I SNAPPED OUT OF IT IN TIME TO SWERVE INTO THE LEFT LANE AND PASS THE SPEEDER AND TROOPER.

THIS HAPPENED ON HIGHWAY 71, NORTH OF COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA.  I DID NOT STOP TO GET A GPS LOCATION.  ALL I WANTED TO DO WAS GET HOME.  ALL THE WAY TO MY EXIT HOME I WAS TALKING TO MYSELF TRYING TO DIGEST WHAT I HAS SEEN.

“THAT WAS A BLACK BEAR. THAT WAS A BLACK BEAR”.
“NO IT WASN’T”
“YES IT WAS, SHUT UP.”

WHEN I GOT HOME, I GOOGLED BLACK BEARS IN SOUTH CAROLINA.  I FOUND OUT THERE ARE TWO GROUPS.  THE COASTAL GROUP AND THE INLAND GROUP.  THESE ARE SEPARATED BY A WIDE MARGIN RIGHT DOWN THE CENTER OF THE STATE.  GUESS WHERE MY ENCOUNTER WAS?  RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PARTS OF SOUTH CAROLINA THAT THE BEARS DON’T WANT TO GO.

I TOLD MY WIFE THAT I WAS AFRAID TO GO IN THE WOODS NOW.  “ARE YOU AFRAID OF TREES NOW?”, SHE ASKED.  “NO, I JUST DON’T WANT TO COME ACROSS A BIGFOOT.”

 “BUT YOU LIKE BIGFOOT.”

“I DO BUT I ALSO LIKE LIONS AND LIKE TO SEE THEM IN THE ZOO.  I DON’T NOT WANT TO COME ACROSS ONE IN THE FOREST.”

THAT’S WHERE I’M AT WITH BIGFOOT NOW.  I DO NOT WANT TO COME ACROSS ONE IN THE FOREST AND BET MY LIFE THAT IT’S IN A FRIENDLY, LOVING MOOD.

Charleston AFB Airshow

Joint Base Charleston had it’s airshow today.  We planned to have a fun filled family day with kids and grandkids.  That lasted about 30 seconds.

The eight mile trip to the base took two hours and 20 minutes. Bumper to bumper in the left lane.  Why we didn’t use the right lane that was moving remains a mystery.  But we arrived with plenty of time to see the planes. It was 12:20.

When we got out of the car, I went to set my “Map My Walk”.  I figured I’d get a good workout today.  But…..the phone was dead.  I started the day with a full charge and now it’s dead.  I announce this to the group.  I ask my loving bride to unlock the car so I could put my DEAD phone in the car.

 

Everyone had to pee, so they ditched me.  I did top to take a picture of some planes flying by.

click to enlarge

  I tried to catch up but I lost sight of them when they went into the security tent.  When I popped out of security, I bee lined it to the porta potties.  Nada.  I peed and came out.  Nada.  I know, Jamie wanted to see the C-17 again so I stood there until i was sure they weren’t inside.  

I saw my wife once.  I called out but she didn’t hear me.  then the crowd closed in around her and I lost her.

At this point, Boy Scout training kicked in.  I stopped moving and stood out in the open and waited to be seen. Nada. Then I started visiting clusters of families with little kids.  Nada.  More standing and waiting……you guessed it.  Nada.  I eventually moved to a tent with a bunch of families.  I found a concrete block and sat down.  

A nice family walked up and I offered the other block and Mom sat down.  Mom, Dad and an about eight year old daughter.  Mom offered me her cell to call in a rescue mission.  The first call I made was to myself.  Don’t ask.  The I racked my brain to remember my wife’s phone number.  I has the first six digits down cold.  I called, wrong number.  The second time it rang and rang and rang.  Then someone hung up, no voice mail.  My loving wife has the habit of hanging up on numbers she doesn’t recognize.  “Try again”, says Mom.  Again it rings and rings and rings and………hangs up.  I thank Mom and she wishes me good luck.  It’s time for me to head to the parking lot.  

Then I see the Bouncy Houses. 

I hang out there long enough to not recognize anyone.  I refill my water bottle at a “Drinking Station” that was bubblers hooked up to a hose.  It tasted like hose, but it was water.  

As I trudged to the gate, I formulated a plan.  

  1. Everyone would be waiting at the cars and pissed at me.
  2. The women and the kids went home in my son’s car and my son was waiting for me.
  3. The cars would be gone and I was rightly fucked.

i was walking along when I heard a tiny voice say “Walt”. Maybe I didn’t hear it, I kept walking.  Then my Bride screamed out my full legal name.  A HA!  There she was.  I considered killing her right then and there.  Too many witnesses.  I’ll wait.

THE PARKING LOT CLUSTER FUCK

We started with a quarter tank of gas.  Jamie moved us into line.  It wasn’t moving.  I told her to buzz to the front of the line.  She then nudged us into a right turn and the line stopped again.  It looked like the right turn the airman were signaling would send us back to where the airplanes were and then all the way back.  After about 20 minutes, i got fed up. I got out and jacked up the sailor that had a whistle.  He said that he was ordered to not let anyone out of the parking lot. WTF??? 

Then the 1st Lieutenant walked up.

ME: ” Are you in charge of the goat fuck?”

LT: “No”.  

The natives were getting restless.  Three cars had run out of gas.  Two broke down.  One person left the lot in an ambulance.  I pointed this out and the LT. He blinked. he radioed his sergeant for help.  Good move.  I moved away to organize the pissed off folks.  I told a few drivers that if they turn right that way leads out of the parking lot.  The LT told me so.  The left turn took them to the other end where some cars were seen to be moving.  The bum rush starts to that side.  I go back to the LT.  He was just telling his sergeant that “things were working out by themselves”.  No they weren’t, I sent most people left while we went right. 

This is when we met a nice A1C.  There airman said she didn’t have a radio.  The line didn’t leave the lot.  It circled around.  

Thanks Lieutenant.

While my wife ran to the porta potties, the airman told me she’d find some one.  She brought back a Staff Sergeant.  he had a radio.  the wife comes back and the line starts moving.  But instead of looping around the Ssgt has then turning right and moving to the other end.  

That’s how we got out of the parking lot.  But just as we were about to leave the “You’re running out of gas light came on and the car started bitching about needing a gas station.  It was exciting trying to get to the next gas station and there was a lot of praying.  But we made it and met a bunch of folks who were running on fumes too.

We finally got home.

I did take a couple of pictures.

And then the battery in my camera died.

 

Brian and Abby’s Wedding- Behind the Scenes

On September 25th, 2004, my oldest son Brian made the smartest decision in his life. He married Abby. Abby’s Story is a really good post her on her Blog. A beautiful story that will bring out the tissues. This is a story about what she didn’t see.

The Trip

Our story starts in Houston, Texas. We, the soon to be in-laws were flying from Las Vegas to Charleston I had no illusions, four year old Rosie was to be the flower girl and  we  were escorting her eastward. We had to change planes in Houston and we landed in a thunderstorm. It was sporting.  When the pilot put the 757 on the runway it was more an impact than a touchdown. Then the skidding started. For only the second time in my life I was wondering if we’d survive a flight.  The nose swung left and I thought, “We’re going off on the left”. Then the nose swung right. “Okay, we’re off on the right”. At least I could see where we were heading.  I’m counting rows to the emergency exit in front of us. Then we swung back and the flight resumed being normal. Rosie and her Mom were first time fliers and were all excited as we came down the jetway. As I was watching them, number two son Tim leaned over and whispered, “Were we crashing when we landed?”

We had about an hour lay over and spent the time watching the weather channel. The topic of everyone’s conversations was hurricane Jeanne. Our blushing bride had selected to have her nuptials at the exact time and place Jeanne was predicted to make landfall. WOOHOO! I usually don’t drink when I fly. But this wasn’t one of those times. Jack and Coke please.

Meet Jeanne. She was a real bitch.

When we got back from the bar the weather channel announced that Jeanne had changed course and was now headed for Florida.  My bride literally screamed “WOO HOO!”. I was horrified as the line for the flight to Jacksonville turned as one towards us. 100 angry faces. “Oh shit.”

Me: “Let’s go get a drink.”

Her: “We already had a drink.”

Me: “Let’s go eat.”

Her: “I’m not hungry”.

Me:”Let’s go smoke.”

Her: “We just did.”

Me:”Let’s get the fuck out of here.”

Her: “Why?”

Me:”Because those nice folks flying to Florida are going to kill you.”

Her: “Oh.”

The Beach House

We got to Charleston in the dead of night. Brian picked us up and drove us to The Beach House. It would serve as the Command Post of the wedding and the place where all the guests were bedding down. It was a brilliant idea. Some of us (mostly me) hadn’t seen these folks for years. I was nervously wondering if Brian’s uncle Paul still wanted to kick the shit out of me because of the divorce.

beach-houseWhen we got there the house was bustling with activity. I think we were the last to arrive but the womenfolk were out shopping for food. Coffee was made. Sandwiches were passed out. we all sat around catching up. I think the party broke up late. Paul and I were friends again and there was an inside family joke that I was the butt of. Suffice to say that Brian’s Mom refused to come on the mention of my name. Sort of. There’s more to it but that’s a family secret. Needless to say Paul kept ribbing me about it.

Rosie being all of four was overwhelmed by all the grownups. Paul’s wife Tina met Rosie and said the best thing I have ever heard someone say to a toddler. “Hi Rosie, my name is Tina. How old are you? Four? I’m four too. Let’s be buddies.” Wow. Tina and I had bonded years before. We were the family outlaws (kinda like in-laws only with attitude). We both share a wicked sense of humor. I was stunned to she that she was bald. Her friend was going through chemo and Tina shaved her head in support. That’s the kind of person Tina is. No half stepping

Tina
Tina

The Wedding Day

Despite of the late night, morning came early for all of us. Paul was banging out a Southern Breakfast. As we ate, the organizing began. Brian and I, with a couple of groomsmen in tow went to do a beach reconnaissance. We observed quite a few weddings in progress and noted the pros and cons of each. Tell everyone to be bare foot. Check. We watched a bridal arch fly into the wind giving the bride a shiner. Make sure arch is secure. Check. We picked a spot conveniently across the street from the Beach House. Wedding scheduled for sunset. Plenty of time to move chairs and stuff across the street.

beach

Meanwhile, Rosie getting ready for her role as Flower Girl. The bridal party showed up and sequestered themselves in the master bedroom. They grabbed Rosie and made sure her dress fit. Dress fits. Check. Cute hat. Check. Flower basket. Check. Flowers? Um…not check. In all the planning, flowers for the Flower Girl was missed. No problem. The back yard has a lovely flower garden. Rosie was unleashed to the back yard to “pick some pretty flowers”.  She proceeded to defoliate that back yard. Ooops. Hope nobody notices.

After lunch and a little…. okay a lot of Madden it was time to set up the wedding. The menfolk saddled up and started dragging chairs across the street.

Note: “Artistic” seaweed.

We had forgot one tiny thing. The Tide. What was acres of beach in the morning was replaced by the Atlantic Ocean. Whoops. The groomsmen were stunned into inaction. WTF? The area that was close to dry was strewn with seaweed and trash. With disaster imminent, I took charge.”You two start setting up chairs. Everyone else, cleanup.” A trash can magically appeared and filled. Check. Seaweed moved. Um…no check. There was too much to move. There was another problem. the waves were lapping in suggesting that the Bride and Groom would exchange vows about ankle deep. So I got artistic. If we can’t get rid of the seaweed, arrange it artistically as a back drop and a handy dam to hold the waves back. CHECK!

 

Here Comes the Bride

Rosie.

The music started. There must have been music. Some of this is a little hazy for me. Of course I was crying. It was incredibly beautiful.  Jeanne way down south was painting the Carolina sky with colors one only sees in Heaven. The evening fog was just starting. The wedding party came out through the bushes and mist like wood nymphs. Rosie lead the way, basket overflowing. She was pelting the groom’s side because she was throwing flowers at people she knew. Someone said, “Throw some one the other side Sweetie.” Dutifully, Rosie hauled back and delivered fistful of flowers point blank into the Bride’s Grandmother’s face. Right on the Kisser. The hush over the crowd was broken up when Grandma started to laugh. Close one.

BridesmaidsWind started to kick up as Brian and Abby exchanged vows. It was then that Rosie’s  hat flew off. It flew right to left all the way to the end. With out breaking the moment or their pose for that matter. The hat was caught and passed back to be put on Rosie’s head. Continue with wedding. Check. Bridesmaid’s hand firmly on top up of Rosie’s head. Check.  After the newly weds left, everyone picked up their chair or whatever and the site was field stripped in no time at all.

Paul and Tina took the arch.

The Reception

Back to the Beach House. “Rosie don’t touch the cake”. Okay cake cut.  Check. Let the dancing BEGIN!! For the Father/Daughter dance, they shagged. Cool as shit. The Party raged. Somewhere along, the traditional pictures were taken. Presents were opened. Abby’s little brother Adam jumped from the roof into the pool. Check.

Father/Daughter Dance.

Dancing with the Father-in-Law.

 

The Dads.

GROUP HUG!!!!

NO!!! HE’S MINE!!!

JUST MARRIED!

The Day After

Needless to say, no one drove home. Everyone woke up a little slower. Kisses good bye and one by one and in small groups everyone took their leave. We were going to stay for a vacation at Brian and Abby’s so we were left there with the newly weds. We all piled into Brian’s car and went about six blocks. That’s where the car died. Um….not check. Brian lifted the hood and proceeded to do automotive maintenance. I pitched in while the women watched. you could smell the testosterone. The autopsy pronounced the car…..dead. While the menfolk  were brainstorming trips to the parts store or maybe the car rental, Abby said, “Why don’t we just call someone?”  Did I mention it was raining?  Her Dad came to the rescue. But it took a couple of hours. So we went shopping. We cruised the strip mall checking out tourist shops and introducing Rosie’s Mom to Southern groceries.

And They Lived Happily Ever After