Part II - The GCBRO & Monster Central - My View
I pulled into a small convenience store, which by the way was the only store for another 5-6 miles, and went inside to make sure I was in the right town.
Yep, this was it.
I milled about the small store, which reminded me of so many I have seen in my life around the little town where all my family lives in Iowa.
People passed in and out of the store, going about their daily lives. I wondered with every person who passed by me how many of them had stories to tell of an animal they heard or seen, and no one believes them. Thoughts like these fill my mind whenever I go into a new area where activity is reported. Do any of these people know they live right next to land where Bigfoot is said to hang around?
What would they do if they found out one day it was all true?
Would they pack up their families and leave? Would they simply go about their lives as if nothing has changed?
As I checked the time (I was early) to see how much longer I had to wait until I met with Mr. Lansdale, I wondered - how does someone continue to live on property where Bigfoot is reported to be so frequently? I don't think I could. As much as I want this animal documented and protected, I just don't think I could live this every second of my life. Some do out of necessity - but others do because they want to.
As I was driving this morning, I had the opportunity to watch one of the most incredible sunrises I've seen in a long time. The sun was high in the sky now and I was still waiting. What I didn't know is what I was waiting for. I have spent a lot of time in the field and not once have I seen this animal. Would I see it this weekend? What if all the stories I have heard about Monster Central were true? Was I really ready for an experience such as this?
Was I about to find out?
At 11:00 my cell phone rang. On the other end was the one and only Jim Lansdale. I have never spoken to him before and I find you can tell quite a bit about a person by their voice and demeanor over the phone. Mr. Lansdale has always struck me as a "I really don't care what you think of me" kind of man - but clearly he did care. He had just been at the store and left, and now he told me to hold on - he was coming back.
Chivalry is not dead, even in Bigfoot research.
I was also supposed to meet another GCBRO member, Scott, at the store as well. Scott was instrumental in my attendance after he decided I needed to see one of these animals for myself.
Mr. Lansdale arrived in his truck (dog in the bed of the truck) and his son in the passengers seat. He greeted me with a warm hello and said he was glad I decided to attend this weekend.
I soon became aware that many thought when I signed up I wouldn't actually show. Mr. Lansdale had to be wondering why I had an interest, and why I felt the need to meet people whom many think I dislike.
But, he never said it.
I find people often misconstrue my comments. They think because I disagree, and disagree strongly, that it translates into "I don't like you." I believe it's possible to disagree and still think the person is ok - heck even be friends. My father and I often disagree on politics - I love him no less (although he is wrong).
However, Mr. Lansdale and I agreed very strongly on one point - we have no time for game players, people who simply want to put out crap research, or hoaxers. It's my personal opinion that Mr. Lansdale takes the activity on his property very seriously. It even appears to me that he wants this over quickly, and organizing these hunts as a fast way to bring closure. So, I think while many out there see a tough - at times fairly harsh - individual posting on the GCBRO message board, in reality Mr. Lansdale is simply a man who has witnessed something more than once (this has been ongoing for him over the period of years) and just wants it over and done with.
Never judge someone before you meet them in person and really talk to them.
I can't imagine it's easy for any witness, regardless of how many times they have seen this animal, to hear the jokes and the nasty comments designed to make them sound insane. Eventually most witnesses just want it over. They want closure. They want the jokes and ridicule to stop. I find Mr. Lansdale is no different than the hundreds of other witnesses I have spoken to. In some ways, I can't say I blame him for how he feels.
Mr. Lansdale talked to me as if we had been discussing this research for years. He made me feel welcome, and said if I needed anything, to just let him know. This put my fears at ease - I could relax now.
About 10-15 minutes into our conversation, Scott arrived with hot cappuccinos! Some Bigfoot hunter. LOL.
Mr. Lansdale said his good-byes and drove off to Monster Central. Scott and I decided to stick around for any late comers. It was nice to meet Scott after all of our internet e-mail chats and phone conversations (and disagreements). He is just as straight forward in person as he is in all the other mediums. At about noon - I was in my car following Scott to the famed "Monster Central."
That was a drive my car won't soon forget.
To be continued.......