Saddle Up Saloon; Elusive Exclusive

Written by D. Avery @shiftnshake

       Read my writing and see my books at  https://shiftnshake.wordpress.com

June 28, 2021

“Uh, Kid? What’s goin’ on here?”

“What d’ya mean Pal? Ain’t nuthin’ goin’ on here.”

“Thet’s what I mean. They ain’t nuthin’ goin’ on here! Don’tcha know it’s Monday? An’ not a first Monday where we git treated to Chel Owen’s poetry promptin’, an’ not a third Monday where we git challenged by Colleen Chesebro ta write double ennead. It’s yer Monday, Kid. So whut’s goin’ on?”

“They’s been a hold up, Pal.”

“A hold up? This ain’t the wild west, Kid.”

“Well my intended guest is held up by work an’ sech. So she’s on hold.”

“How could ya let this happen, Kid? Ain’tcha got all kindsa folks lined up well in advance?”

“Nope, not at all. Been busy with odd jobs m’sef an’ jist kinda dropped the rope. It ain’t so easy lassoin’ folks, ya know.”

“Tell ya what Kid. I got a ‘sclusive ever’one’ll be innerested in. I’ll tell ya ‘bout when I met a famous personal’ty, one thet goes by many names.”

“Ya mean Shorty? Thinkin’ we’ve featured Perfesser Mills enough already.”

“No Kid, not Shorty— Bigfoot!”

“Well, Shorty’s got petite feet, but she leaves a big imprint; an’ it’s certainly hard ta follow in her footsteps.”

“Tellin’ ya, it ain’t Shorty, Kid! Now shush. I know you call ‘em Bigfoot. In the Pacific northwest they’s Sasquatch; Skunk Ape in the southeast. In the Himalayas they goes by Yeti, or Abominable Snowman.”

“Yowie Pal!”

“Yep, it is excitin’.  Purty innerestin’, this giant hominid creature thet’s found all over the world.”

“’Zactly, Pal. Australia mebbe has one too, called the Yowie.”

“Could be Kid, or a cousin a sorts. Bigfoot has kin ever’where; the Yeren a China, an’ the smaller Almas in Mongolia; the Orang Pendek from Sumatra; in Scotland they goes by Big Gray Man of Ben Macdhui; shepherds in Northern Pakistan and Afghanistan speak a the Barmanou; closer ta our north American home is the Mapinguari down in South America. No matter the name or location, they’s all big an’ hairy an’ shy. An’ Wendigo legends outta Canada say the creature is of a supernatural type.”

“Come on Pal, ya mean ta tell me ya had yersef a innerview with a BigFoot, or whatever name folks call ‘im by?”

“Yep, believe it or not. An’ the first thing BF would want ya ta know is their pronouns are they, their, them. They git aggravated always bein’ referred ta as ‘he’. They is more an’ one of ‘em ya know.”

“An ya want us ta believe ya spoke with one.”

“They didn’t speak like ya might think. Was more like tele-pathy.”

“Tele— ? There an app fer that? Soun’s like phoney-baloney.”

“I’m gonna give ya an app upside the head if’n ya don’t shush. Jist sayin’ BF spoke without speakin’.”

“Like a character in a writer’s head?”

“Mebbe. See, it was a long time ago, afore I was even a character in a writer’s head. Shorty’d jist started up Carrot Ranch. Back then she didn’t even know I was already ridin’ the range.”

“Did she know ‘bout Bigfoot?”

“Not then. But they knew about her. An’ they come here ta the space she made ‘cause it felt safe an comfterble fer ‘em. They git tired a always bein’ hounded an’ speculated on, but they felt calm an’ relaxed at the Ranch. An’ they’s veggie-tarian so all the carrots an’ recipes was a plus.”

“How come no one else’s ever seen ‘em?”

“Who says they ain’t? Anyways. Way back when Shorty was first goin’ fer it here there were still some go-fer holes, an’ sure ‘nough, ma hoss stepped in one. Hurt it’s leg real bad. Don’t need ta tell you what a predicament we was in. Thet hoss was in pain an’ it’s eyes was big an’ rollin’ in its head when all a sudden he got calm, so I looked aroun’ an’ here come Bigfoot, but if the hoss was calm, well, okay. An’ thet BF laid hands on thet hoss’ leg an’ then lifted thet hoss up an’ he was as good as new.”

“Amazing!”

“Yep. Well, after thet, me an BF hung out fer a while, ‘cause aint either one of us’d ever had much company. We shared what we knew ‘bout Shorty’s plans fer this new Carrot Ranch place an’ we both decided we’d hang out in the backgroun’ an’ keep an’ eye on things. We vowed we’d be aroun’ ta step up if ever we was needed.

Turns out I was needed when a certain greenhorn prone ta trouble popped onta the page. Shorty counts on me ta keep thet one from doin’ too much damage at the Ranch.”

“Hey…”

“Thet’s right Kid, I got saddled with keepin’ an eye on ya. But Bigfoot an’ I vowed ta hep keep the Ranch safe.”

“Hmmph. Well, what does Bigfoot do?”

“Seen any trolls, Kid?”

“No…”

“Salesmen or shysters?”

“Well…”

“Other then one’s ya dragged in yersef?”

“No.”

“Bigfoot feels safe here, an’ Bigfoot heps keep the rest of us safe here.”

“But I ain’t seen ‘im… ‘em.”

“Then ya ain’t got eyes ta see. They’s here. An’ they’s thankful ta all the ranchers an their stories, makes ‘em smile. An’ they’re thankful ta Shorty.”

“Shorty’s seen ‘em?”

“Oh, Shorty knows Bigfoot.”

“Pal, that is uncanny!”

Folks, this Saddle Up Saloon episode is so lame we might need Bigfoot ta lay hands an’ git it ta walk away. Or mebbe you kin salvage it by sharin’ yer own Bigfoot sightin’ or drop a Bigfoot flash in the comments. What d’ya call Bigfoot where yer from?

“I’ve seen ol’ ‘Squatch.”

“Frankie!”

“Lemme tell ya. ‘Member when I first showed up? In one a Shorty’s flashes? She had me an’ Burt deliverin’ mail in a snow storm. Burt was blinder’n I was in that blowin’ snow. Only path out there that night was tele-pathy. Burt was drawn ta that warm dry cave.”

“Bigfoot was in there?”

“Yep, Kid. Saved us that night.”

“Hmmph. S’prised they didn’t lay hands an’ restore yer eye.”

“Could’ve but saw I had a u-nique way a seein’ life. An’ guess what else ‘Squatch was tendin’ in that cave a theirs? Unicorns!”

Pal’s sources, other than direct experience:

https://exemplore.com/cryptids/Names-for-Bigfoot-Around-the-World

https://bigfootly.com/2019/10/29/exploring-the-many-names-of-bigfoot/

If asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and now serve up something more or less fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up to take the stage as a saloon guest, contact them via shiftnshake@dslayton.com.

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37 Comments

  1. Lucy

    This is amazing. ???? Who knew Bigfoots were vegetarian??

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Truly amazing what you learn at Carrot Ranch and here at the Saddle Up Saloon. I suspect BF is not against the smaller forms of protein as might be found in rotting logs, much like a black bear, but yes, according to the one Pal encountered, pacifist vegetarian healers with a taste for raw carrots.

  2. Doug Jacquier

    A friend of mine went looking for the Abominable Snowman, yeti he couldn’t find him.

    On a more serious (?) note, here in Australia we have the Bunyip, once described as ‘uniting the characteristics of a bird and of a crocodile. The hind legs are remarkably thick and strong, and the fore legs are much longer, but still of great strength. The extremities are furnished with long claws and its usual method of killing its prey is by hugging it to death. When in the water it swims like a frog, and when on shore it walks on its hind legs with its head erect, in which position it measures twelve or thirteen feet in height.’

    Another perennial is the Yowie, an Australian hominid that stands up to 3.6m tall, this dark, hairy monster is occasionally described as having feet that point backwards, making it extremely difficult to track. It’s sometimes said to be timid, and other times has been described as aggressive.

    But my favorite is the Drop Bear, a killer koala species. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZiSUdoqsDv0

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      The South American version of the Yowie is also said to have reversed feet and to be very aggressive.
      Is the Yowie only in certain areas? Does it prefer mountains?
      We have no Bunyip around here as far as I know, maybe Florida or other Gulf states have a version. Vermont claims “Champ” a creature very like the Loch Ness monster. It was the stuff of local legends before Samuel de Champlain saw it for himself in the early 1600s.

      • Doug Jacquier

        According to the Yowie Research Centre https://www.yowiehunters.com.au/what-is-a-yowie they have been sighted in all places in Australia that have forests and that they are the equivalent of Bigfoot or Sasquatch. What intrigues me that in these days of ubiquitous phones with cameras somehow we still don’t get verified sightings. 😉

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Doug thank you for this (missing) link. It reinforces the idea that by whatever name this creature is known around the planet. It was also interesting how this (myth) has been viral since well before modern speedy modes of communication. So why no verified sightings with our modern day gadgets? Big Foot’s bigger than that. Ya still have to have eyes ta see.
        Thanks!

      • suespitulnik

        Perhaps the lack of today’s expected photo proof has to do with no cell service whey they live…

      • Charli Mills

        Drop Bear! That reporter was terrified Drop Bear was doing “something.” The power of suggestion whether a joke or an elusive sighting can be influential.

  3. floridaborne

    Before the 4 lane highway was completed, someone had a 6 foot wooden cut-out with the picture of bigfoot on it you could see from the trees in a car. Every time I saw it, I’d laugh. I loved that person’s sense of humor.

    Are there Bigfoots (or is the plural Bigfeet?) I don’t know. All I can tell you it that Bigfoot has been a part of native legends in America.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      The proper plural form of Bigfoot remains the greatest mystery surrounding the creature. There are a few of those cut outs around here too (Vermont) and many homages to BF in the form of stickers and beer labels. In the seventies, after a documentary film had come out about BF (had to see it in a theatre or in our case the high school auditorium- no home computers or internet) my brother and I fashioned big feet out of plywood with a jigsaw and nailed an old pair of boots to them. Really gave the neighbors a fright. Or not. All the hoaxes are good, they help BF remain at bay.They thrive on skepticism.

      • floridaborne

        I had to laugh. It’s such a teenage thing to nail big feet to shoes and give the neighbors a scare.

        I was in high school in the 60’s. The year after I graduated, they changed the dress code so that girls could wear pants. Before then, a girl had to wear skirts or dresses.

  4. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    There’s many ways to play at the Saddle Up.
    You can share in 99 (or 59, or 9) words a Big Footed response. Or, use ideas from the other Saloon hosts; Chel Owens was looking for limericks;
    https://carrotranch.com/2021/06/07/saddle-up-saloon-anyone-can-poem-4/

    Something lurks in the deep forest
    Our manners they find abhorrent
    Why do they evade?
    Of us they’re afraid!
    They’ve reason to fear, I’ll warrant

    Or Colleen Chesebro is always pleased with a double ennead;
    https://carrotranch.com/2021/06/21/saddle-up-saloon-colleens-double-ennead-challenge-no-5/

    Gentle giant healer
    Looking out for us
    Cryptic cryptid misunderstood, doing Good
    Hairy handed miracles
    At their fingertips

    Original Lurker
    Hangs back at the fringe
    Behind the scenes, unique Rancher seldom seen
    Mysterious legend
    Reclusive and shy

    Step forth on their behalf
    Help a rancher out
    Bring your own Big Foot story to these pages
    Make real what folks can’t see
    Feed them with carrots.

    Or just share your photos of our elusive reclusive guest. Better yet, take the stage!

  5. joanne the geek

    The closest New Zealand has to this is the Taniwha (pronounced tar-ne-fa), a mythical creature that lives in rivers.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      I love the persistence of mythical creatures of any bent.

  6. Jules

    I’ve seen a few insurance commercials… where Them/They say their name is Larry?

    I haven’t seen any in my parts though Bigfoot is the preferred referenced name. Something has been eating my Milkweed besides caterpillars! (Maybe deer?)

    https://pawilds.com/bigfoot-sightings-pennsylvania-wilds/

    Good to know the ranch is a safe place for all and is being protected by gentle healers, even if they would rather remain mostly invisible. Iffin’ they want any mulberries from my tree they are welcome. 😀

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      If there’s a slime trail on the milkweed, slugs or snails. Earwigs maybe? All like beer if you want to bait them.
      Larry is to BF what Slim Chance is to literary ranch communities- a fake and an opportunist.
      What a great article; there are Bigfoots in PA! Thank you for the link.

      • Jules

        I’m thinking deer… or even geese since the whole leaves and even the flower top was gone! Not something the gopher or muskrat would eat (?), but too high for the bunnies.

        There’s opportunists and cartoonists everywheres 😉 I’ve watch some shows about the different relations of Bigfoot. The biggest one though was the one that was debunked – the guy in a costume confessed.

        Kinda like them corn crop patterns. They was all human made. Not a one was alien. Unless maybe the guys maken’ ’em was from another county. We’ve got a commercial here about a farmer who says his stuff is ‘imported’ from his locale. Come on… imported to me means from another country, not a county or town a few miles somewheres off a compass point.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Deer, oh deer.
        PA is also full of imposters.
        Well, thank you Jules for keeping it real.

  7. Liz H

    Let’s hope Bunnicula doesn’t show up at the Ranch. All hope, and every last vegetable, would be sucked dry and scattered across the Saloon!

  8. suespitulnik

    For nothing going on at the Saloon, there was a lot of information in that essay and all sorts of imagery of BF. Perhaps BF actually stands for Best Friend of the ranch seeing how you made a long-ago vow to be of help however and whenever needed and we’ve seen you step in when necessary. Thanks for keeping your vow.
    There is a school teacher in my local writing group who is writing a story about two children stumbling into a community of BF, written from the BF point of view. It is very entertaining and believable.

    • Charli Mills

      Aw, I like the perspective of BF as the best friend to Carrot Ranch!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Between you and me, Pal saved my bacon by stepping up and sharing the Big Foot info.
      That should be a good story; kids seem to have a Big Foot fascination phase.

  9. Charli Mills

    BF has a special place on the Ranch. We like to let them hang in the background, tend the unicorns. I hear they got their healing arts from Gramma T-Rex. Never saw BigFoot off the Ranch, but did see a California grizzly bear (said to be extinct), though. Shy, elusive, silver-backed. I remember my dad getting plaster prints for the Forest Service. It was a BIG footprint! Just not BF. A big bear.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Nothin’s extinct if’n ya got eyes ta see. Or eye ta see in Frankie’s case.
      I had no i-dea, but Pal is to be believed, so… it makes sense that BF would find refuge at the CRLC. (Heard they’re writing a memoir)

      • Charli Mills

        Hope the memoir comes out in campfire form!

  10. Anne Goodwin is bringing Matilda Windsor home

    Have you come across the rogarou? I’ve just read (and not yet posted my review) about it in Empire of Wild a Canadian novel inspired by traditional Metis legend.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      I look forward to reading your review. And finding out more about the rogarou. Thanks!

    • T. Marie Bertineau

      Oo, I’m looking forward to your review of this book, Anne! I read Cherie’s The Marrow Thieves and I thoroughly enjoyed her writing!

  11. T. Marie Bertineau

    Bigfoot stories were common in my gramma’s house here in the Keweenaw. It was said he hid out in the abandoned mine shafts and smelled of sulphur. And after I graduated from high school, I spent the summer in the small town of Willow Creek, CA, which is said to be the home of Bigfoot. There are statues everywhere and it’s the area where the infamous film footage was taken and the footprints were found. He is definitely a big deal in Willow Creek and gets lots of attention there. Bigfoot is something of an omnipresent creature I think : )

    • T. Marie Bertineau

      Sorry, I failed to correct my pronouns : (

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Big Foot is everywhere, and oh yes, Willow Creek.
      Funny you mention the sulphur. I just yesterday was telling someone about the time… mysterious unexplained sulphur smell on a long lonely stretch of bike trail… hmmm.
      Thanks for sharing your BF reflections!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      (Did you ever imagine you’d be so famous that you’d share the same stage as Big Foot? And you were at the Saddle Up first!)

  12. H.R.R. Gorman

    Lololol, I can’t believe I’m a week late reading this masterpiece. Got a good chuckle.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Thank goodness Pal had this connection! I thought they might have to close the saloon for lack of a guest. I am so glad you enjoyed this.

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