Archived Story

Hartland Sasquatch sighted, sited and cited

Published 9:56am Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Tales from Exit 22 by Al Batt

I remember it as if it were many years ago.

It was back in the day when I knew kids whose fathers were named Walter.

A Sasquatch had been seen in the greater Hartland area.

Who saw it first? No one is sure. It might have been someone spending an extended period of time accumulating graduate credits at Hartland University, the local dispensary of adult beverages. The creature wasn’t bothering anyone. Today, we’d assume it was part of a reality TV show. Police officers were called. They were unable to find anything.

State officials became involved. They searched high and low. After all, it would have been a new taxpayer.

Word spread. People were flinging words in all directions at everyone within hearing range. Some folks seemed to know what they were talking about.

Where was it?

What was it?

Is it real?

Where did you see it last?

We didn’t know a Sasquatch from a bushel basket, but we wanted to.

Jake Johnson claimed to have seen it. He swore upon his aunt Jenny’s sainted breadboard that it was a Sasquatch.

Jake’s long suit wasn’t Sasquatch. It was red flannel underwear.

Jake said the Sasquatch didn’t make a sound. He said that was good because you can’t believe everything you hear.

Johnny Johnson said it was a common two-headed Sasquatch, but it was an unusual one. It was unusual because it had only one head. He told everyone that a Sasquatch looked smaller in the daytime, because it was let out at night.

Someone said it was wearing a Speedo, but that was probably the widow Johnson’s wishful thinking.

John Johnson planted poison ivy around his house to keep the Sasquatch away.

The Hartland think tank pretended to be above all the nonsense. They concentrated their efforts on trying to fry an egg on the sidewalk. It worked, but it made poor eating with dirt and ants in it.

We wondered if the sighting wasn’t the Johnson boy, home from college. We’d heard that he had become a hirsute hippy.

The Johnson brothers thought it was a kangaroo.

The Johnsons, newlyweds who hadn’t yet learned that neither of them knew how to cook, put the dashboards (crusts) of their pizza slices out into the yard so the Sasquatch would have something to eat. They were tossing pizza bones to a possible Sasquatch.

Jebediah Johnson claimed that a Sasquatch wouldn’t come near a barber pole. That probably was because it had a close shave once.

Perhaps someone had dressed up as a prank. Disguise is the limit.

Jerry Johnson said it was wearing sunglasses and a Pioneer seed corn cap.

A Sasquatch expert came down from the Cities. He had the world’s largest privately-owned collection of blurry photographs that might have been either a Sasquatch or a maple sapling.

When you see something like that, a possible Sasquatch, even if it’s not really something like that, there is nothing more important.

We see what we see. We see what we want to see. We see what we thought we saw.

Some folks can make a celebration out of possibilities. That’s not a bad thing. Something that could be is a constant part of our lives.

We believe in ghosts. We see them in the skeletal remains of old farm places. Abandoned dreams, discarded hopes, and bovine-free barns. Times change. Maybe it was time to believe in a Sasquatch.

Life can be a washboard road. It rattles us. Each road has a high spot. Sometimes the high spot has a Sasquatch.

Having a Sasquatch so close filled people’s minds with thoughts of far-away phones.

People drove around looking. Some employed searchlights. We shared a common goal — to see a Sasquatch, yeti, bigfoot or abominable snowman.

Just as the Native Americans made use of an entire buffalo, every bit of our imaginations was used.

Neighbors talked to neighbors. Coffee and cookies were shared. This went on for weeks. It wasn’t seen a second time. It wasn’t a 24/7 Sasquatch. It became something that faded into local legend.

No one got a photograph. It may be difficult to believe, but not everyone carried at least three cameras in those days.

Had someone been able to snap a picture of the Sasquatch, I’m sure that it could have been seen that it was wearing a tattoo reading, “Born to be wild.”

I’m not sure if it was a real Sasquatch or not, but every community needs a good Sasquatch sighting now and then.


Hartland resident Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday and Sunday.