Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Boy and His Hound Dog


Isn't he cute? This picture of my father was taken in the 1920's in Attala County near the old J. J. Porter homeplace. He is standing beside a fairly large hound dog, maybe a "red-bone hound" with the longest ears I have ever seen. My father seems to be reluctantly holding his left hand on the back of the dog. I am certain that my father's male relatives, but less likely his mother, could barely wait until he became old enough to go raccoon hunting with them. Based on the look on his own face, however, I am not sure if he shares those same feelings. He may be just in awe of this huge dog.

Raccoon hunting was a rite of passage for men during that time and in that place. My father was an infrequent hunter, but when we visited his aunt and uncle in Attala County during my childhood, he always participated in the Saturday night 'coon hunt. To me and to my brothers, the sound of a hound dog's throaty bark from deep within the woods was a certain sign of Saturday night success in "treeing" and subsequently the death of an elusive raccoon. It meant, too, that our father might be home in time to tuck us in.

My great-uncle died of complications from Alzheimer's several years ago, and my father's hunting days are now in the past. The woods are less dense, and wildlife less plentiful now, but the tradition and the sport of raccoon hunting lives on.

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