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Some questions about appalachian life 40+ years ago?

16 years ago

I'm still a newlywed and and am still getting to know the new hubby but tonight he told me something that has shocked me to my core.

First the background: He's late 50s now and he grew up in the backwoods of West Virginia, raised by a single mom and it wasn't an easy life. I guess West Virginia isn't considered Appalachian, but based on what he's told me, it seems to be a similar life in some ways.

His maternal grandfather was the primary (and only) father figure in his life and he was a real mountain man and a rough old koot.

Tonight, DH told me that one time, he and his brother (ages 15 and 12) went out deer hunting with their maternal grandfather. Their dog got loose and started chasing the deer away. According to DH (and what DH's grandfather told him), deer didn't taste good if they were chased and dogs were supposed to be trained to *not* chase deer.

Without saying a word, the maternal grandfather aimed his rifle and with a single shot, killed their dog as he ran after the deer. When the boys cried, the grandfather said, "you shoulda kept him locked up. A dog that chases deer is no good."

The two boys returned to the mountainside after the hunt to retrieve and bury their dog.

Now is it just me or is this a shocking story? Was life different "on the mountain" 40+ years ago? They did live a simple life but this wasn't their only source of meat. It wasn't "get this deer or we'll starve." But I do know that they went through lean times.

What do you think of this story? Is this just the way things were? I guess my chief fear is that my tender-hearted DH could have such a close relative that could kill an innocent animal.

Help a city girl understand. Is this just life in the mountains 40 years ago??????


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