By Mack Samples|
On Monday morning, June 20, 2011, I climbed on my tractor and drove around the hill from my house to mow the logging roads where we always pick raspberries and blackberries. I always like to run the brush hog over the roads because it makes the berry picking much more enjoyable and, at the same time, a little safer. I’ve never seen a copperhead while picking berries but I always remember how the old folks used to tell me to watch out for them.
It was about 11:00 a.m. as I was slowly making my way along one of the roads when I saw major movement in the brush up ahead of me, perhaps a hundred yards or so. I pushed in the clutch on the tractor, let it idle, and looked intently ahead. Although I had not really seen anything except moving leaves, I fully expected to see a black bear emerge into the road at any time. Five minutes or so went by and I still saw nothing.
Then, to my utter surprise, I saw a creature stand up in the shoulder high undergrowth. But it was not black. It was very brown, brown like the color of a white tail deer, but it was no deer. It stood erect and appeared to be about six feet six or seven. The entire body was covered with long scraggly hair. I was still a hundred yards away so I could not make out minute features. But as I watched it mill around in the brush, seemingly picking berries, I was somewhat dumbfounded.
I was not in the least scared but I ran my hand across the butt of the .357 on my side just to make sure it was still there. I shut down the PTO so the brush hog would not function, took my foot off the clutch and brake pedal and let the tractor idle forward. So far, the unidentified creature had not acknowledged my presence. Its back had been to me the whole time.
When I got within fifty yards, it turned and faced me. For the first time I saw that there was no hair on its face and it had fingers much like my own. I immediately thought that I was looking at an Appalachian Sasquatch. He (or she) returned my stare. My first thought was that it looked a little like Earl Ray Tomlin. So I concluded that it must be a male and a Democrat.
The old boy then turned sideways and disappeared into the blackberry vines and multi-flora rose. I thought I had seen the last of him so I idled forward looking for a place to turn my tractor around and head back to the house. Overcome with excitement, I had totally lost interest in mowing.
I found a place to turn, not a good place, but after several hard cuts of the wheels and a few bumps of the brush hog into the side of the hill I was headed back toward Clay County. The sighting had actually taken place in Braxton.
But just as I got underway, I looked ahead and was astonished to see the creature standing in the road, looking right at me. It was probably no more than twenty yards away. Just as I was about to become alarmed, he extended his human-like hand and gave me a thumbs up.
Walking very erect, he went over the hill at a very slow pace. It was then that I noticed for the first time that he must have been a very old Sasquatch. There was a lot of gray mixed in with the brown hair. Also, it moved slowly, somewhat like an old man.
I was wrong about his politics though. I didn’t notice when he was farther away, but there was a very faded sign on his back that said: “Goldwater for President.”