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Hartselle Enquirer

Hunting trip goes awry

When I was 7 years old, my granddaddy, Daniel Perry, came to live with us as a temporary houseguest in October 1943, following the death of my grandmother. The plan was for him to spend a couple of months with us and then move on and spend an equal amount of time with one of his other 12 children and their families. 

I knew he liked to hunt, and I begged him to take me along the next time he went. With hunting season open and cold weather bearing down, he agreed to take me squirrel hunting if I promised to sit still and stay quiet. 

Bungled up in coats, caps and long-legged underwear, we left the house with my daddy’s high-powered 12-gauge shotgun and a handful of No. 4 shells. Our destination was a large wooded area a mile from our house. My granddaddy called it “my favorite hunting place.” 

We sat on a big log, surrounded by a grove of hickory trees, and waited for a squirrel to appear. 

“You look good in that bunch of trees,” my granddaddy said, “and keep your eye out for any kind of movement. If you see something, let me know by pulling on my coat sleeve.”

We both saw a squirrel in a different tree at the same time. He aimed and fired the shotgun before I had time to pull on his sleeve. The blast almost knocked me off the log and blinded me with a thick cloud of smoke. When the smoke cleared, he pointed out the dead squirrel and let me go pick it up and put it in our game sack. 

After the hunt resumed, I suddenly felt sick, with fever, chills and difficulty swallowing and breathing. My granddaddy saw I was in trouble and rushed me home, carrying me on his back part of the way.

I was put to bed and remained there for several days, recuperating from bronchial pneumonia. A heavy diet of aspirin to control the fever and soups and beverages to help me gain back my strength is something I’ve never forgotten. A 7-year-old boy’s passion for hunting was never the same, and I am reminded to take extra precautions

to prevent common colds, influenza, bronchitis and pneumonia.

 

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