are as comfortable to wrap ourselves in as a down quilt. That's why
we make them up with such dedication and perseverence.
Take the famous Sasquatch of the Pacific Northwest for instance. Last
month, two hunters all the way in Georgia swore up and down they had
found the body of Old Sas, also known as Big Foot. But it was just
a furry costume and nothing but a big fat fraud. We could've told
you that. We knew it was a hoax because the real thing is in Round
Rock, Texas. Always was, always will be.
Mind you, I'm not talking about the Chupacabra
from Puerto Rico who's been spotted in Cuero,
South Texas, and who sometimes wanders off to Mexico.
Nosireebob. He's just a fifth cousin thrice removed and anyway, he's
as hairless as a billiard ball. Round
Rock's Hairy Man's the real thing and he's been there back since
pioneers built cabins and helped conquer the West.
to tell your kids how the Hairy Man of Round
Rock came to be? Well, one day far ago when his pioneer family
was headed West, a young boy fell off their covered wagon. His parents
didn't notice that he was missing until many miles later. Of course,
there's a variation of this which says the boy was separated from
them by flood waters. Either way, the result is the same and they
were unable to connect with each other ever again.
The resourceful boy learned to survive on his own, or maybe was adopted
by a local family of animals. In any event, he slept and ate and hunted
in the woods until he grew tall. Very tall. Even taller than that.
And it seems that since he had long ago outgrown the child's clothing
he was wearing when he got lost, nature gave him a new outfit: hair.
From top to toe, his body grew a whole lot of the stuff to protect
him from the elements. Mother Nature and Texas know how to take care
of a fella.
No longer used to humans and not even remembering that he was once
human himself, the Hairy Man couldn't recall how to handle the occasional
strangers who might accidentally stumble upon him, no matter how hard
his efforts at concealment. He had to protect himself, so he did all
he could think of -- he frightened them away. Scaredy cats every one.
Must've been tourists and not Texans because they ran like heck to
They didn't have movies back then, or television or even a radio,
so the Hairy Man would amuse himself by sitting in the trees, dangling
his legs, and dragging his feet along the tops of passing stagecoaches.
Nobody inside the stages ever figured out where the creepy sound over
their heads was coming from. The Hairy Man laughed and laughed because
he was having so much fun frightening everybody.
Alas, one day, his aim was off and he fell out of the tree smack into
the path of a stagecoach careening toward him at top speed. The startled
quartet of horses got frightened and accidentally trampled him to
this day, the Hairy Man's ghost roams along the same shady road upon
which he had died such a grisly death, doomed forever to seek return
of the life that was so violently ripped from him.
Kindly Texans have since tried to make it up to him by celebrating
an annual Hairy Man Festival each October, Halloween month. There
are food, fun, and festivities galore, including a Hairy Man Contest.
The winner is the hairiest contestant.
This year, it's at Cat Hollow Park in Round
Rock, on October 4th, Noon to 7 pm, with the $2. admission proceeds
donated to children's charities.
The Festival's generosity should at least temporarily quiet down the
ghost of a young boy who got lost, and turned into the Hairy Man.
October 1, 2008 column
More "A Balloon In Cactus"