“..but I finally got that squirrel strangled with my fingers”

And you thought you had it tough? Tales from the Great Depression

Many wonder how they will get by if the current economic times get worse, but for those who lived through the Great Depression, self-sufficiency was the key during the hardest of times.

“It was a different world then,” said H.C. Stanley, owner of H.C. Stanley and Son at 610 Pike St. in south Parkersburg.

Larger animals, such as raccoons, Roscoe dispatched with the .22 rifle. Squirrels, however, the younger Carper brother sometimes killed with his bare hands. Shells, after all, cost money. Minor injuries from bites did not.

“We hunted with dogs and when the dogs would tree a squirrel and he’d go in his hole. I had a pair of lineman’s spikes and I climbed the tree, reach in the hole and pull him out by the tail,” Carper recalled.

Squirrels have long, sharp teeth for breaking into hard nuts for the meat inside. Those teeth also are very efficient against the hands of young boys reaching into their dens.

“Squirrels have sure got some teeth. I’ve got scars on my hands today from those squirrels,” he said.

One of the worst scars comes from a time when Carper was locked in a life-and-death struggle with a squirrel and the only weapons the boy had were his thumb and forefinger.

“I stuck my fingers in his hole to pull him out by the tail, but as I was reaching in, he was coming out headfirst and latched on to my little finger. He about bit it plum off. I was up in the tree trying to choke him with my fingers and Ross (Carper) yells up ‘You can’t fall down, it’s about 100 feet straight down over the hill.’ It took a good while, but I finally got that squirrel strangled with my fingers. I’ve still got a scar from that,” he said.

Top that! Of course, the way Obama is running the economy, we all may be eating squirrel, flying rats, and roof rabbit before too long. But, maybe I’m being uncharitable. Obama is sore tired, ya know.

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