I was out on my deck at one o’clock yesterday. Even if it was wet and cloudy, I know that most of you saw an event you’ll remember for the rest of your lives. Me too. I understand that that you saw something you’ll never see again and I feel the same way. But I’m here to tell you that what I saw yesterday in the dark eclipses anything you ever saw.
Saint Mary and I had family here for the event. I had only two rules for eclipse-viewing at my home: 1. No parties and 2. No cameras. As to the partying, I simply didn’t want any distractions. I also know from experience that if you’re trying to record an event with a camera , you’ll tend to miss the event itself. So these were my rules. I did, however, allow my dog Joe to join the viewing party. And I’m glad I did.
At one p.m. we donned our eclipse glasses and stared at the sun. The moon’s silhouette was sliding across our view, nearing totality. As that magnificently dark disk slid into place for two minutes of history, I heard something much closer. It seemed to be coming from the direction of the garden shed in my back yard. I wouldn’t call it heavy breathing, because I think you need a phone for that. It was a hoarse, guttural, feral rumble. A sound that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand straight up. Right there in my own back yard.
I looked down at the shed. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness (I was still wearing the eclipse glasses, mind you), I could make out an obscure figure standing at the southwest corner of my shed, staring at me. Joe saw it too and it probably goes without saying that the hair was standing up on the back of his neck, too. I don’t know how to tell you this except to just say it: we were face to face with Sasquatch. I know I’m old and I don’t see well in the dark, but I’ve known about Sasquatch, or Bigfoot, as they like to call him, since the early 1960s–over fifty years. I doubt he was seeing as well as he used to either, but I know a questionable legend when I see one and there he stood, all the same.
Now here’s the unbelievable part: the creature was holding something that appeared to be a piece of paneling or aluminum foil. I thought he’d torn a section of siding from my shed. I couldn’t make it out. I wanted to take those eclipse glasses off, but I remembered the dire warning printed on them: “Do not remove glasses EXCEPT DURING ECLIPSE TOTALITY!” So he had me there.
Joe and I stood absolutely still so as not to startle the creature, and waited until that distracting eclipse had reached totality—and then I whipped the glasses off! In the darkness, I realized he was holding—and eating–what appeared to be a portion of an airplane wing. Silver in color, it occasionally caught the light from the corona of the sun. I could make out a series of numbers upon it: NR160 followed by what looked like a partially-eaten 2.
Now, I’m old and I know a few things. And I just happen to know that NR16020 was the registration and call sign of Amelia Earhart’s plane when she disappeared over the Pacific Ocean in 1937. And before you even start, I understand your so-called logical objections; those last two digits could have been 21 or 27 or 29 or what have you. They could have been anything. You can argue till who wouldn’t have it, but if you’d seen what I saw, you would know from the expression on that creature’s face that he knew what he was doing. When you find Amelia Earhart’s wing, you don’t just run off somewhere and eat it.
My mind raced. I had to get a photo. My family was still staring at the sun, but this… this was not something you see every day. And of course, I had banned all cameras. I ran into the house and found my cell phone on the kitchen table. Racing back to the deck, I fumbled with the phone as the sun began to emerge from behind the moon. Damn. I had to stop and put those eclipse glasses on again. It’s difficult enough to take a cell phone photo in the dark. You try taking a one with your phone at night wearing eclipse glasses and you won’t see what I mean. I pushed the button once before Joe growled; he’d had enough of this Bigfoot business. The creature turned quickly and I heard a distinct pop. A small blue flash of light appeared near his big foot. Unbelievably, he looked to be on fire.
You may find this farfetched, but as Joe is my witness, I am probably the only human being on the face of the earth to have witnessed an actual SSCDE—a Sasquatian Spontaneous Combustion During An Eclipse. (On a side note, I now believe this is why Bigfeet are so rarely seen. They’re quite shy, and in the privacy of their forests, they’re just burning to be left alone.)
As the creature and his half-eaten airplane wing fell to the ground, consumed by blue flames, I distinctly heard him cry something. It sounded like “Fake the Aryan race of men,” which may or may not have some historical bearing. It made no sense to me at the time. But now I realize what I heard. As the last of him disappeared, he was frantically pleading “Make America great again,” which makes more sense.
Well, the sky began to lighten. I whipped off those glasses and ran to the corner of the garden shed. Sasquatch and the airplane wing were completed combusted. Nothing remained but a burned spot upon the ground. My entire family was still staring at the sky. And wouldn’t you know it, that’s the only thing they saw–a rather ordinary total eclipse of the sun, if you ask me. I thoroughly questioned them all and described what I’d seen. Of course, they all looked at me like I had six heads.
I still have the photo, and I’ve included it here. It’s a little hard to make out, but if you look closely, I think you’ll see the facts are on my side. And I have a witness here, each of us wagging his tale.