Skip to comments.Children baffled by aunt's disposal of rat tails
Posted on 07/24/2009 4:38:39 PM PDT by SJackson
Children baffled by aunt's disposal of rat tails
By Bryce Coggins
Rats have been the nemesis of man since both were put on this planet. Having lived on a farm all my life, I am acquainted with rats. On my farm we had little trouble with rats because we kept cats and a dog that were constantly hunting them down. Being on Grade A required us to eliminate rodent harborages and that was a big help. Newer buildings were built to make it harder for rats and mice to get in.
But the log house that was on the home place when my folks moved there was built with the logs starting right on the ground. That made it quite easy for rats to burrow under the logs and get into the house and do damage. The log house got uninhabitable, so they built a small house to live in until they could afford to build their dream house.
The house had a concrete foundation but no basement. We had to store our canned goods upstairs on two long shelves along the south wall. My mother did the canning with tin cans and sealed them with a Burpee can sealer. The tops could be cut off with a can sealer, reflanged and used three times until they became too short to fit in the machine. The empty cans were stored on the same shelves where we stored the full ones. Though the house was built better than the log house, mice - and once in a while a rat - could get in.
One night I was sleeping upstairs when I was awakened by the banging of cans. My folks had found a rat downstairs and chased it around down there until it came upstairs to escape the wrath of Dad and its eventual death. He was chasing it with a broom, so his swipe for the rat knocked the cans off the shelf. After he got it and things quieted down, we all went back to sleep. The next morning there were two dead rats at the bottom of the steps.
After breakfast my mother took her shears and clipped the tails off those rats and put them in an envelope, sealed it and gave it to me. She told me to take them down to Aunt Mae's and she would give me a nickel for each one. She said Phyllis would go with me. It was a quarter-mile walk. I was 4 and my sister was 6.
To get to Aunt Mae's we had to go through what we called the hollow. The hollow went through a swamp with corduroy across the road covered with dirt and gravel. On the west side of the road was woods and the east side had heavy brush. According to stories, those woods had wolves, coyotes and bears living in them. Some stories included lions and probably a tiger or two. We never heard of any kids getting attacked by those wild animals but we thought they were lurking just out of sight, waiting for us to come by. Everyone knew they never bothered two kids going by if they clasped their hands together as they went past, so that's what we did.
When we got through the hollow we climbed Woodbury's hill and we were at Aunt Mae's house. We knocked and she opened the door and asked us in. All the way down there I tried to figure out what she wanted with those rat tails. My sister couldn't figure it out either, so we were completely in the dark about that.
When we got in I thought, "Now we'll see what she was making that she would pay so much for some rat tails." I was bursting with curiosity as I handed her my envelope with the rat tails. I was sure now was the time. She opened the envelope and took the tails out, and to my utter chagrin and shock, picked up a lid from the stove and dropped them into the fire. I was flabbergasted. All that long walk and that's what she did with them.
She then went into another room and came back with two nickels and gave us each one. We thanked her and left.
I couldn't wait to get home and tell my mother what a horrible thing Aunt Mae had done. She smiled and took me on her lap. She set about to explain that Uncle Howard was the town clerk and the town paid a bounty for killing rats because they were pests. She also said if we took a crow's head down there she'd give us 50 cents. I thought, "She would probably put a crow's head in the fire too."
It was a long time before I stopped thinking my Aunt Mae did some mighty strange things.
It was a quarter-mile walk. I was 4 and my sister was 6.
Today, that's child abuse.
I wonder what she paid for red squirrels. We have had a heck of a time with them this year.
Oh boy, I didn’t get it.........
Maybe we need a deep depression 10X as bad as the last one to toughen up the cry baby children we are raising now.
A few years back I was reading up on old local laws that were still on the books and found that our township “constable” was to pay 2 cents for every dead rat I took to his office.
Fortunate for him we haven’t had a constable for many years and the local police chief told me I could keep my rodents to myself.
The Tale of the Giant Rat of Sumatra
Translation today = We walked 50 yards across the gravel road to Aunties house...
Man, that's one wide gravel road! Guess that's why it wasn't paved...? *\;-)
It was a gravel quarry...
I remember a Depression-era story of a young girl who went with her parents to visit her grandmother. The grandmother raised chickens in her backyard, and the little girl knew that one of those chickens was going to be for dinner.
It was early enough in the day, so that the little girl was allowed out in the yard to play with the chickens. While she was out there, she noticed that there were a number of clothespins on the ground, but didn’t think much of it.
After she had been back inside for awhile, her grandmother went out to the yard, and came back with a dead chicken in one hand, and a handful of clothespins in the other.
Suddenly it all made sense. Her grandmother used the clothespins to kill the chicken. They must be deadly clothespins!
That evening, after dinner, when it was just about time to go to sleep, her grandmother brought her down to the laundry room, where a cot had been set up for her. And then the girl saw a great big bucket full of clothespins.
My grandmother used clothespins to hang the chiken up for bleed out after cutting off the head with a hatchet. She made the greatest fried chicken I’ve ever eaten.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.