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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Have you tried an Outhouse lately?

Well, have you?

Just the other evening one of my stories was being read during my writers’ group meeting. Actually it was Kelly reading—I love to hear Kelly read my stuff. At any rate, the story contained several references to outhouses and the comment was made something to the effect “You just might be slighting those of us that aren’t outhouse aficionados.”

I had never considered the fact that not everybody had experienced the outhouse adventure. Only one other in the group had ever ventured inside an old country crescent moon operation. Oh sure, most of them had a port-a-let experience or two, but not the outhouse of days gone by.

Not having a current pix to share, I obtained this one from a public domain.

I guess I give away my age when I can report that at one time this style of movement operating adventures was common place. Now I’m not reporting that I grew up in this environment; but I will say that I routinely came across this adventure maybe just a little more than the rest.

I feel a little sorry for my colleagues that haven’t had this experience; whether it be just out back behind the house, off to the side of a cotton patch or one of those Tishomingo, Mississippi[i] or Snook, Texas[ii] operations that I most frequented during my youth—I will not say the pleasure was all mine—at times they were the only game in town.

The facility was not anything like those referenced above. The outhouse in question was erected on the drop zone west of Fort Greely, Alaska and didn’t have the accompanying odor problem that routinely is associated with that rural southern type of facility. The reason for the lack of odoriferous content is because the aroma generally associated with outdoor facilities is astonishingly done-in by the extreme elements of the Alaskan winter weather fairly immediately. Just about everything freezes amazingly quick in these conditions. My experience reminds me that this phenomena starts to take place somewhere close to -30ºF.

However my experience that day in question took place at a temperature some  50ºs south of the -30ºF mark—but I will save that story for another time. I will say, it was a trip that I will never forget.

So, I am at a loss for the appropriate advice when it comes to getting today’s world acquainted with the outhouse of the days-gone-by. You’ll just have to search out your own opportunities.

This is one of those experiences that you have to have on your own—not a single soul can do it justice. I guess its all up to you.

If you, on the other hand are an expert in this area; I welcome your comments.

[i] Tishomingo, Mississippi is about as far as you can go in the northeast corner of Mississippi. In fact, it is so far into the corner there that it just might be in Alabama. At any rate, I came across a rural outhouse there in the summer of 1965 that tied for the second most foul order I have ever come across. Its mate at number two is probably an Army portolet at Oak Grove, North Carolina that had to be at least two or three days past due on its pumping schedule.

[ii] The foulest smell, by far, I encountered in Snook, Texas when I was just a lad of twelve. My Dad had high jacked me to attend a community BBQ with him in the community of Snook. The activity was being held in a pasture just off the main street of Snook. The only public facility, as far as I could determine, was a four-holer, separated by a wall (two on one side and another two on the other) dividing the activity between men and women. This was absolutely the worst smell that I ever came across in my entire life – very bad, man!