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Reminiscences: The Moss Boys

by Walter Herbert Moss

Please note that when "we" is used, it will always mean my brother Donald and myself.

The 1920's

The tales which follow will show how it was to live in the country before the years of planned entertainment.

At an early age, our "downfall" in Durham began with the friendship of a professional trapper and hunter named Adam Banks who taught us to trap woodchuck, skunks, muskrat and weasels. He knew all the tricks of survival which the Indians used and could tell stories all day long while working at the orchard with us during the summer months.

Our very first dog, an Airedale, came from Oorang kennels in Ohio. We found the ad in the Rural New Yorker magazine and when they said their dogs were trained by Indians, we had to have one from there on. That is why the dog was name Pontiac, "Ponty" for short. When we went out skunk hunting at night, he would first locate the skunk and them circle it until we got close enough to dispatch it with a stick. The pelts would sell for $2.50 to $4.00 each which was a lot of money for us in those days. He was also an excellent hunter during pheasant season and always did his part to help put food on the table.

We always had exotic pets of some kind in our yard. The baby skunks were cute but they got sore eyes and didn't smell too good so we let them go. The woodchucks were hard to handle so they didn't last long. The baby crow which we got from its nest in a tall tree was O.K. but it did so much squawking for food that I think our mother told us it had to go.

Someone told us what good pets raccoons would make so that got us started. One morning on our way to work at Barnes Nursery, a raccoon crossed the road right in front of us. We jumped out of the car and chased it up a tall hemlock tree. At the tip top, Don reached up and pulled it down by its tail. When I got up to the top, Don said, "he's got my whole hand in his mouth." He finally let go when I squeezed his cheeks together but then of course he took a mouthful of my hand. Eventually I was free so I took my shirt off and tied the sleeve around its neck and carried it down to the ground and put it in the trunk of our car. After reaching our destination, we found that the raccoon had not survived but we had.

The Moss Peregrinations, page: 0102030405

The Moss Boys, page:0607