..........Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com.........

Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Monday, April 30, 2012

"A Coon's Age"

"a coon's age" refers to an indefinitely long time such as, "I haven't seen you in a coon's age." Other terms that can be used similarly are "in a dog's age" or "in donkey's years".

It's a shortened version of "raccoons". The expression "in a coon's age" dates to the early 1800s, and to the folk belief that raccoons are long-lived. In captivity raccoons (or racoon) can live 15-20 years. In the wild they live much shorter lives but this is normal for wild animals. It may also have referred to their fur which is durable and longlasting.

A raccoon's black fur mask and night time habits led to the term "coon" meaning to steal. "Coon" also meant to cling and creep like a raccoon. It was used in the 1830's for a white country bumpkin and later was used as a derogatory term for a black person.

"coon was orignally a short form for raccoon in 1741 then by 1832 meant a frontier rustic, and by 1840 a Whig. The 1834 song 'Zip Coon' (better know today as 'Turkey in the Straw') didn't refer specifically to either a White or a Black and the 'coon songs' of the 1840s and 50s were Whig political songs. By 1862, however, coon had come to mean a Black and this use was made very common by the popular 1896 song 'All Coons Look Alike to Me,' written by Ernest Hogan, a Black who didn't consider the word derogatory at the time." From "I Hear America Talking" by Stuart Berg Flexner (Von Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1976), Page 54.

The raccoon is usually nocturnal and is omnivorous, with a diet consisting of meat and plants. It has a grayish coat, of which almost 90% is dense underfur, which insulates against cold weather. The outer coat is a coarser fur that protects against water. The fur of raccoons is used for clothing, especially for coats and coonskin caps. At present, it is the material used for the inaccurately named "sealskin" cap worn by the Royal Fusiliers of Great Britain. Historically, Native American tribes not only used the fur for winter clothing, but the tails for ornament. Since the late 18th century, various types of scent hounds which are able to tree animals ("coonhounds") have been bred in the United States. Coonhounds know how to sniff out the scent of a raccoon, chase and "tree" them. In the 19th century, when coonskins occasionally even served as means of payment, several thousand raccoons were killed each year in the United States. This number rose quickly when automobile coats became popular after the turn of the 20th century. When cars were open to the weather or only had canvas tops, and no heaters, passengers needed warm coats and blankets. In the 1920s, wearing a raccoon coat was regarded as status symbol among college students. The broadcast of three television episodes about the frontiersman Davy Crockett and the film Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier in 1954 and 1955 led to a high demand for coonskin caps in the United States

While primarily hunted for their fur, raccoons were also a source of food for Native Americans and Americans and barbecued raccoon was a traditional food on American farms. It was often a festive meal. Raccoon was eaten by American slaves at Christmas.

Two of its most distinctive features are its extremely dexterous front paws and its facial mask. It can spend hours in the water swimming. It can climb trees. It weighs 4-30 lbs. The most characteristic feature of the raccoon is the area of black fur around the eyes, which is reminiscent of a "bandit's mask" and has thus enhanced the animal's reputation for mischief. They can be troublesome by knocking over trashcans, plundering and making a mess. They can be kept as a pet but should be handled carefully as they are wild creatures.

No comments:

My Most Popular Posts

Total Pageviews

Contact Me

To contact me, email me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com