Daddy never cared much for coon hunting, but it was a highly popular activity in middle Tennessee where we lived. There were coon hunting clubs and groups where men met regularly to hunt together and tell tales around the campfire. Any serious coon hunter had multiple dogs trained to track and tree coons.
My Grandpa Gean liked coon hunting, although he didn't care to hunt in groups and usually went alone. I was a curious child and questioned Grandpa about the thrills of coon hunting. It went something like this:
Me: So, why do you like to coon hunt? Are you hunting for food?
Grandpa: You know your Grandma wouldn't cook a coon.
Me: Why would you kill something if it wasn't for food?
Grandpa: I would never kill a coon.
Me, confused, for up until now I had erroneously thought finding food was the object of hunting: So, why do you go?
Grandpa: I like to hear the dogs running and treeing the coon.
Me, after much deep pondering: Now, let me get this straight. You walk miles through the woods at night and sit by a campfire, sometimes in the rain and cold, to listen to dogs bark for hours and hours?
Grandpa: Yep! I love it!
Well, I didn't get it then, and I still don't get it, but I'm not judging. Different strokes for different folks, Sly and I say. Believe it or not, there are people alive today who don't understand the joy of cutting new fabric into hundreds of pieces and sewing them together again. Go figure.
There were other men who took this sport much more seriously than Grandpa did. In fact, they were so serious about it that their dogs were loved and cared for like members of the family.
. . . . . to be continued