Published 11:00 pm Friday, February 15, 2013
Say what you will but to my way of thinking Sir Thomas Crapper’s invention of the flushing toilet is head over heels better than what Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla came up with.
When I was growing up, we had an indoor toilet. It was in the bathroom that was clinging to the rest of the house with all its might. But, we had relatives who had outdoor toilets and, if I could have swapped my baby brother for an outhouse, I would have gladly done it.
There’s nothing especially romantic about an outhouse but it was the place of great adventure for young, creative minds.
My grandmother’s sister, Aunt Manie Bell, lived in the backside of Barbour County. She and Uncle Arlie were rich. I knew that because they had a two-seater outhouse.
Aunt Manie Bell said two-seaters were for emergency use and for real good friends. Most of my cousins were boys except for Gaynell but we weren’t good friends. She was a tattletale. I didn’t want to sit in the outhouse with a tattletale.
Aunt Manie Bell’s outhouse two-seater seat had a bottle opener on one end so Uncle Arlie could open his co-cola while he was occupied. That’s what Aunt Manie Bell said.
I always wanted to be occupied so I could have a co-cola while I was in the outhouse but I never was.
Back then, young’uns played games with made-up names like hide-and-go-seek, ain’t no boogers out tonight and jackrabbit split the log. At Aunt Manie Bell’s one of our favorite games was stick your head in the hole. We played it in the two-seater outhouse.
What you had to do was stick your head way down in the seat hole and hold it there. Whoever pulled their head out first was the loser.
Really, it was a game to see who could hold their breath the longest. But sticking your head in the hole in the outhouse made the game a lot more fun.
Outhouses were always at the end of a long, long path. Having to go to the outhouse in the dark of night was what Aunt Manie Bell called an emergency.
One night, I had an emergency. I woke up Miss Tattletale to go with me. It was as dark as pitch but we made our way to the outhouse. Gaynell was scared to go in the outhouse with me but she was more afraid of staying outside by herself.
We had just gotten comfortable – if the outhouse had been well constructed, the seat can be comfortable – when we heard something coming up the path.
Gaynell whispered, “a fox.”
But a fox can’t open the door of the outhouse. We saw big, wooly monster coming in the outhouse on us. I screamed. Gaynell screamed. We jumped up on the two-seater. Gaynell’s foot and leg went down in the hole. She fell flat with her face in the other hole. I ran out and left her.
I was back in the house and in the bed and had forgotten all about my emergency when Uncle Arlie came bringing Gaynell out of the hole and back to bed.
Uncle Arlie had scared the emergency out of me and we had scared it out of him.
Gaynell never tattled on me again. She promised she wouldn’t if I would promise not to tell that she fell in the outhouse hole. I promised.