Legend of ‘Ooo’ fills out holiday

Bob Huber: Humor Columnist

Let’s take a look at Sasquatch in New Mexico, because October is Halloween Month — a 30-day celebration commemorating the grand opening of the first Wal-Mart Scary Costume and Candy Store, a time when traditional gangs of masked dwarves roam the streets, extorting candy from their neighbors. And that’s just the tip of the frightberg.

Ghostly sounds can be heard, such as owls hooting, bones rattling, trees swaying and slurping water like vampires, and spine-rattling straight pipes booming in the night.

To make matters worse, whenever Halloween rears it monstrous head, up pops vivid memories of — BIG FOOT!
We once lived in the Santa Fe boonies next door to a hog farm where all of these sounds were common. That’s why I still get anxious when October comes to town causing vivid memories to pop up of our personal Halloween Sasquatch.

We named it “Ooo-ha-ha” for the simple reason that it made that sound. When we first heard it on a dark and stormy night, we figured some neighborhood kids were hoorawing us. So I flicked on the back light and stepped outside in my pajamas at the same time as our fun-loving Yeti let loose another hideous yell right behind me — “OOO-HA-HA! OOO-HA-HA!”

If you favor the notion that levitation is a lost Far Eastern practice, let me say simply that I mastered a six-foot aerial suspension on my first attempt and, without touching the ground, gained reentry to the house, flew down the hall and plopped into bed before my wife Marilyn could say, “Whew! What smells awful in here?”

Ooo-ha-ha didn’t just pass through.

He came back year after year every October, always around Halloween, and each time he sounded eerier. One Halloween season he came while we were having a party, and a friend, an ex-Marine named Bubba, turned to me, and said, “I wouldn’t go out there without a 45. In fact, I wouldn‘t go out there.”

We never saw Ooo-ha-ha — I‘m not sure we wanted to — but finally one year Marilyn came running and cried, “He’s here! I heard him again!” So I put a pan on my head, grabbed my shotgun, and told Marilyn, “I’m off to face the dragon.”

“Be careful, darling,” she said. (I just tossed that in for a little dramatic effect.)

Once outside, I shivered in the darkness, scanning the gloom with my intrepid hunter’s eye, when suddenly the monster cried, “OOO-HA-HA! OOO-HA-HA!”

At the same time a large, gray mass lumbered toward me from around the woodshed. It looked high as an elephant’s eye from my fetal position on the ground.

I fired a warning shotgun blast into the air, but the apparition continued to rumble toward me, all the while making its primordial cry, “OOO-HA-HA! OOO-HA-HA!”

That’s when another sound came out of the darkness, and I recognized the voice of my booze-ridden, pig-raising neighbor, Ned Fricker.

“Say, Huber, was that you doing all the screaming and shooting?” he said. “You seen my big boar Rufus?”

“I wasn’t screaming,” I said. “That was Ooo-ha-ha.”

Ned ignored me and walked over and hugged a mammoth white pig that stood chest-high next to the woodshed. “Dang neighbor kids always turn my pigs out at Halloween,” he said. “C’mon home, Rufus, before Huber takes to screaming again.”

“I wasn’t screaming,” I said.

You don’t suppose — naw! Pigs don’t sound like Yeti, even at Halloween.