Mary Lu Scholl picture, member of the Citrus Writers of Florida

Big Foot Love

A character of Nature Coast Calamities looks for love and acceptance.

By Mary Lu Scholl

Gruagach (one translation is Irish for Big Foot) sat in front of Bernie’s house. He idly tossed a rock back and forth between his big, hairy hands.

Bernie sat on the far end of the bench. Not because he was afraid of his seven-and-a-half-foot friend, but because, try as he might, Gruagach was still a Florida Swamp Ape, and Swamp Apes were known to be – pungent.

“So, let me get this straight. You are lonely and looking for love,” Bernie summed up their evening conversation.


“How do you folks normally meet one another?”

“I don’t know, I’ve never met anyone like me.”

Bernie was single himself, but he had been married. He thought about how he had met his beloved wife. “I guess you really can’t meet at a church social, can you?” Of course, he wasn’t serious, he was just tossing out thoughts. “I used to go ice skating.”

Gruagach just gave him a look. “Ice? Do you skate pieces of ice over the water in a pond, like skipping rocks?” He had doubts…

“I guess that’s more suited to mountainous than marshy. Some animals mark their territory.”

Gruagach gave Bernie a withering look.

“Sorry, a little too unsophisticated, huh?” Bernie thought a little longer. “You could advertise.”

Gruagach considered, “How?”

“I get a newspaper called Peddler’s Post. We could write a personal ad in their classified section and check for answers. You probably don’t read…”

“Is that an insult?”

“Well, do you?”


“I could place the ad, watch for answers, and read them aloud when you visit.”


Across the county, Marybeth was dangling her feet in the water and talking to her friend Brownie. Brownie was a petite, female Gruagach, barely six feet tall and with luxuriant chestnut curls, all over.

“You really don’t know any boys?” Marybeth was only fourteen. The idea of no boys in her life was both welcome (she had way too many brothers) and appalling, she had started to notice that not ALL boys were obnoxious. “How old are you?”


“Well, you must want to meet someone close to your age.”

“I’m grown up. I don’t count very well. I’ve been in lots of hurricanes. How often do hurricanes come? Can I measure my age that way?”

“We’ll just go with grown-up,” decided Marybeth. “I guess you don’t go to school, so you wouldn’t meet boys that way. Do you go to movies?”

“What’s a movie?”

“Never mind. Some people meet on the internet. My mom advertises in the Peddler’s Post; I can help you do that!”

“Your mom advertises to meet a boy Gruagach?” Brownie looked just a little incredulous. Marybeth erupted into a fit of giggles. “No, Silly. She advertises for her bakery. But we can read the personal ads and maybe write your own when we meet here on Saturday mornings.

The very next weekend, Marybeth pulled the latest issue of Peddler’s Post out of her backpack. “Look what I found!”


SM to meet SF for LTR. Must love the outdoors and like animals. Respond to Lonely in the Nature Coast.

“There are other ads,” Marybeth admitted, “but this one is the most promising.” She deciphered the acronyms for Brownie.

It was hard for Brownie to not get too excited! Maybe, at last… “How do I answer it?”

“I looked up a lot of sample ads and responses. Some were,” Marybeth grimaced, “weird. I asked Mom about some of them, and she had a couple of suggestions.” She pulled a small notebook out of her backpack. “She asked if you like peanuts and music.”

Brownie nodded.

“Let’s start with:

Dear Lonely in the Nature Coast. I love Pinecones and Peanuts, and dancing in the rain. I love making noise at midnight. Also, I am unencumbered by conventional expectations.”

“What the heck does that mean?”

“I dunno, but Mom said it would prepare him for unusual. You are that, you know.”

“Put in there that I want to make lots of babies.”

Marybeth hesitated, “It might be a little too soon to put that in. Maybe just put exciting female looking for love?”

“I am not good with patience. This is taking too long.” Brownie fretfully skimmed a flat rock over the top of the pond.

“You’ve waited this long. What’s a little longer to get it right?”


Bernie had the paper rolled into a tight tube. Was he doing this right? Was he interfering or helping? Gru showed up as the sun was sinking. He settled gently, mindful of the time he had just flopped down and the flimsy wrought-iron seat had tumbled over beneath him, nearly breaking Bernie’s leg.

“Hey, Friend!” Each greeted the other in unison.

Gruagach had been waiting on pins and pine needles all week, but Bernie had been teaching him what Bernie called good manners.

Gru nodded, politely. That was for the niceties. “Well?”

Bernie laughed. “Yes, we have an answer.” He read it out loud.

“What the heck is unencumbered, etcetera about?” Gru asked.

“I thought that was a little unusual and so I asked about it on a dating site.” The less said about that experience the better. He had to join to query their forum, now he was getting progressively strange messages. Now, he too was also a little trepidatious about that part of the response. “It means be prepared for unusual. Are you ready to answer?”

Gru: I am not dysfunctional. I eat all-natural foods. I am moderately famous.

Brownie: I like camping. I like music. Come on Baby, Light My Fire. Just kidding, I don’t smoke.

(Marybeth’s mom was really getting into this.)

Gru: I want to make lots of babies.

Bernie had argued against that at this stage, but Gru had insisted.


Brownie was so excited!

Gruagach and Brownie showed up on opposite sides of a small stream. It was love at first sight. Brownie smiled and Gru’s big feet splashed his way out of loneliness and into love…

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