The Outhouse

I was going through some old papers today and saw a poem that someone gave me when I was doing a story on outhouses.   The current cold weather reminds me of when we kids would go to visit our grandparents on their farm in southwest Virginia.  Their outhouse was OK in the Summer, but if you had to go on a cold winter night…..          Here’s the poem written by Joe Dean in 1975.

“I remember our house with its barn and its shed.

The fireplace, the woodpile and Ma’s flower bed,

The silo, the corn crib, the well and haystack.

The Path that led to the house way out back.

The house was a nightmare to all of us kids.

They gaped and they yawned and never would fit

Our little bottoms however we’d sit.

But Grandpa, God bless him with tenderest care

Carved out a small one for us youngsters to share.

Now back in those days we had no toilet tissue

But had to rely on the Sears Roebuck issue.

If it was too thin, didn’t last long enough

We’d resort to the corncob and Boy! that was rough.

The memories fade, one shall remain bright

That l-o-n-g hike to the Outhouse on a cold winter night.”

I don’t remember whether the author owned one of the outhouses that was the focus of my story.     There were outhouses still in use in 1975.  There may still be some of the old-fashioned kind  today.  The modern day version of an outhouse is those porta-johns we see at construction sites and outdoor athletic events.    They too are uncomfortable on a cold winter night.

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