My brother and I vowed that one day we would travel into some heavy woods and hunt the beast. We weren't sure what we would do if we saw one, but we had a fancy camera and, in case of attack, a grenade my father had saved from some obscure war.
In 1976, before America's bicentennial, my parents decided we'd visit relatives near Calgary. Bigfoot country, here we come!
One morning we followed the Saskatchewan River into some wet, swampish land. We witnessed a very tall creature lapping water from its hands. We tried to get a better look but I slid noisily down into some thistle. The creature darted over to us, knifing through the water like a submarine. I tried to grab the grenade but cut the shit out of my hands. My brother reached for me but the creature grabbed my arms, lifting me out as carefully as he could. He held me up and watched me piss my pants. Then he led us to his makeshift hut.
There he began to speak in a slow, studied Frenchish-Canadian accent. He told us things we hadn't learned in school yet. How America was run by Jews who had slaughtered all the Indians, how shows like Happy Days were brainwashing the youth, and how the proper pronunciation of "about" was "a-boot." Real freedom was only in Canada, he said, where alcohol content was higher in the beer, where the police rode on horses to conserve gasoline, and where the rivers ran pure, free of factory pollution and prison sewage.
Prison sewage, he assured us, was a big deal. We weren't sure if we could believe all he said, especially the part about the Jews. "I don't think they killed Indians," my brother said. "I think they just control the TV stations." The creature taught us Canada's anthem and fed us smoked meat. On our way home we were pissed that we forgot to take photographs of our new friend, but still, when we returned to the states later, we couldn't look at the flag the same way again. America was corrupt and we felt that stinging knowledge in our throats every time we said "about"(a-bowt), or whenever we saw that commercial with the crying Indian. We left our hearts in Canada, in that makeshift hut, where one day we hope to return.