I've been known to travel fairly sizable distances in pursuit of coffee and, in the grand scheme of things, a trip from Worthington to Lake Park, Iowa last week wasn't exactly an epic journey.
Still, it was one that I simply had to make. With a name like Blurry Bigfoot Coffee Co., a visit to this new establishment was definitely in order. After all, when you've been part of a nearly life-long obsession with Bigfoot, you've just got to give the place a little love.
Allow me to elaborate. While I consider myself to be more or less agnostic on the subject of sasquatches (sasquatchery?), my brother is a true believer and knowledgeable about seemingly all things Bigfoot. I'm not sure how it all came to be, but there was that famous two-part episode of "The Six Million Dollar Man" back in the mid-1970s that may have been hugely influential. A little bit of Google investigative work determined that Ian would have been 5 years old when those shows aired and, if forced to, I'd wager we watched them at the time of their original broadcast.
The next major "Bigfoot" memory I have is from the following Christmas (possibly the year after, but certainly no later), when the gift of "Big Foot: The Giant Snow Monster Game" arrived under the tree. I'm not sure what ultimately happened to this masterpiece, although our mom was notorious for throwing things out (a polar opposite of a hoarder) that we still liked to use occasionally. I know we played this game over and over upon first getting it, with the biggest pleasure coming from getting to move the Bigfoot piece and stomping a circular white tile with black footprint on an opponent's space to knock him out (I think that's how it went, anyway). I liked the game so much that I even started a short-lived "Big Foot League" and kept standings. Wow, was I a nerd or what?
By 1978, I think it was, my dad had moved to an apartment on the second floor of a two-story house. I recall a bedroom having what was roughly a 12-inch black-and-white TV that was equipped with cable, which back then was nothing like the three-gazillion channels one gets now. Instead of the three major networks and PBS, we got three independent stations from New York City and one from Boston, too, which meant all kinds of vintage cartoons as well as introductions to "I Dream of Jeannie," "Gilligan's Island" and a barrage of other comedy classics. But, the house also had a special room devoted to, you guessed it, Bigfoot. Though we never spotted him there, Ian was insistent that he lived in this space, which we kept absolutely nothing in and wasn't heated.
While Ian never did spot Bigfoot in that Saratoga Springs, New York, York Avenue dwelling, he has continued to keep up the hunt over the years. In 2002, for example, he took a cross-country road trip (thou shalt not be jealous) and stopped in Willow Creek, California. All indications give it the appearance of a mecca for Bigfoot devotees, but while there was certainly a lot to see there (much of it kitsch), there was — alas — no in-person encounter with the creature itself.
It should be said that Bigfoot wasn't the only object of my brother's mysterious-being affection. In the late 1980s, he spent some time around Whitehall, New York, hoping to spy at least a momentary glimpse of Champ, which could best be described as Lake Champlain's version of the Loch Ness Monster. These efforts, too, proved to be sadly unfruitful.
Yet, to this day, Ian's loyalties — and my own, if not as ardently — reside in Bigfoot's camp (wherever that camp may be). During COVID-19, my wife and I gave him a "Bigfoot, King of Social Distancing" T-shirt. At Christmas, he gave the hilarious "In Me Own Words: The Autobiography of Bigfoot" by Graham Roumieu, which portrays Bigfoot as morose, misunderstood and troubled with his place in the world.
And now, we have Blurry Bigfoot Coffee Co., which opened its doors just last week. I do believe both coffee and merch are in Ian's future, as the business sells an awesome shirt that reads, "Believe in yourself, even if no one else doesn't."
I can think of far worse words to live to be. Stay strong, Bigfoot. We'll always be there for you.