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Date:4/18/2014 11:28:56 AM
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Little Brown Building, Part II
Sunday I began talking about our outhouse. Luckily for us, existing outhouses that had been built before the newer ordnances have been "grandfathered" in to ensure their continued existence. I suspect that in my lifetime "progress" will dictate that like in the song, our building will eventually have to go. Nevertheless, my eldest brother David maintains the family outhouse in pristine condition. He hangs photos of family members and friends inside, sort of a wall of fame. From time to time I'll pour some barn lime down and if I spray the apple trees for worms I'll make a point to spray the building a little. I think that of all the reticence-producing aspects of an outhouse, the idea of insects is for me the worst. For my Ma, the idea of a snake in the outhouse still terrfies her, though she has never used it, even once, since 1961. I can't blame her, Ma was born in 1920 and was 41 years of age before she could regularly take advantage of indoor plumbing. For others, of course, it's the smell, and for some, it's going out in the dark. Finally, the aspect of using that outhouse in the subzero temps of winter daunted generations of countrymen and women. For me, I've always thought that setting my bare bottom on ice-cold wood or hard plastic sort of hurried things along for me even in the most irregular of times.

It was not so long ago
That I went tripping through the snow
Out to that house behind my old hound dog
Where I would sit me down to rest
Like a snowbird on his nest
And I'd read that Sears and Roebuck catalog.

The outhouse is the epitome of by-gone days, and for that it holds a special place in the hierarchy of old-fashioned things. It seems that the very unpleasantness of its nature makes it a quaint part of our country heritage. In a sense, it is the throne of what we country folks hold dear. -- Gary
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