I saw this photograph on Facebook this morning, and it brought up a river of memories and stories in my mind.
I grew up on 20 acres, surrounded with fields of corn and woodlands. My Dad would hunt on occasion, if he had to, but he preferred to shoot animals with his camera rather than a gun. He taught me to appreciate the wild animals, and to be cautious of them. There were many times throughout childhood I remember a coon coming into the yard in broad daylight, walking right up to us. My Dad would catch it and put it in a cage to make sure it didn’t have distemper or rabies. Sadly, I only remember one of those coons not being sick.
Other coons would peek in our windows, and eat the cat food if it got left outside at night. One coon had a major fight with my Mom’s German Shepherd once. I loved spotting them in the wild, and my Dad told stories of one he had as a pet as a child. They found a bunch of babies where the mother had died and tried to save them. Dad and his siblings saved one, and raised it up. It could open the screen door to the old farmhouse they lived in and loved to mess up Grandma’s kitchen 🙂 She wasn’t too crazy about that, but Grandma was one of those people that could let it go. Eventually the coon made such a nuisance it had to go, but it left stories behind. I gather they finally got it interested in a female and it stayed away after that.
My Dad allowed people to hunt on his land later in my childhood in exchange for the meat of anything caught, so we ate coon many years. I loved the barbeque my Mom made using coon, it was one of my favorite dishes! I remember going out one morning to see 5 coons hung on the clothesline. It made me sad, but Dad said at least if the people hunting for pelts hunted on our land the meat didn’t go to waste. It also made it so my Dad didn’t have to do the killing, something that always bothered him. We never went hungry, but I remember lots of times he would come back from hunting empty-handed and tell us about this majestic animal he didn’t shoot because if it had lived that long, why should he be the one to end it’s life.
So, that’s a little of me. I really loved how I grew up, and this picture just made me think of it. So many memories….