By Jack Cawthon 2007 |
I felt more than a little discommoded recently when I read Bob Weaver's boastful account of having a fancy outhouse on his property. One with heat and light, no less, and maybe piped in elevator music, a computer terminal, and more, although I felt so flushed after reading his bragging I'm not sure of what all he included, except, as I recall from the picture, there was no satellite dish mounted on top in keeping with current hill tradition. Anyway, I call this going to extremes!
When it comes to outhouses, I am a purist. I have often bragged about the New Deal gift from President Roosevelt which we received on Barbecue Run. But we certainly didn't have heat or light in it, and we didn't treat it as an entertainment center.
I hadn't intended to bring up this delicate matter to you genteel readers, but I believe that if you will bear with me a little while you will discover that when it comes to outhouses, I know my, well, subject. And having had a long tradition of putting words on paper, I'm certain that I have been recycled often enough in the matter, doing my part for the environment long before it became the cause that it is today. Alas, cyberspace writing has wiped out this benefit!
Our old New Deal memorial vanished long ago in a somewhat undignified manner. I've told the story before, but it bears repeating, of how life can sometimes take away those things which we cherish most.
After we left the holler, in a move that would forever mar my psyche, to the big city of Glenville, with, of course, modern conveniences, one of which flowed directly into the Little Kanawha River, our old home place stood deserted. But not for long, as a group of hunters sought it out as a good hangout for all the things that hunter do, which, if you are a non-hunter you don't need to know. One of those things, however, was not to use the lonely little house out back, or, at least, use it properly. Oh, the humanities! They filled the pit with bottles not beholden to dry Methodists, recycling the contents elsewhere, which, to a country folk like me, seemed to indicate a certain lack of hygiene, if not common sense.
I guess you could say they didn't care squat for sentiment, but it brought up the question to my inquiring mind as to just where their needs were deposited.
I had that pretty well figured out after a short time as when the spring came each year there were noticeable portions of the grass greener than others.
Then, if filling in the pit weren't bad enough, some back-to-the-land hippies on a nearby property apportioned the standing structure and repositioned in over a dug pit with a lawn chair minus webbing serving as a seat. What a disgrace to the New Deal designer, a Democrat, no less, as his classic design, built like a bricků, well, you get the idea.
Well, years go by, as they must, and there was still no proper standing, or sitting, facility at the old home place. That is, until feeling a bit inconvenienced one day, I happened to mention the lack to Orville Wright when I was encamped with the hunters of old. This Orville Wright didn't invent the airplane, but he could have if he had been born sooner and had had sufficient baling wire and assorted parts.
I don't remember who came up first with the idea. We still had the large barn, solidly built by my dad and my brother and it wasn't used except for storing some odds and ends. Eureka, as the gas line baron was heard to exclaim! We had our outbuilding already at hand; all we needed were the inner trappings.
To make a long story short, Orville said that the next trip in he would have a prefabricated inner device ready to go; all he asked of me was to obtain a seat that would properly set off his handiwork.
I knew just the right place to obtain the item: Wal-Mart, a company that takes care of all our needs. So, I bought the best commode seat that money could buy, no doubt made by the finest Chinese craftsmen. It was gleaming white, and I felt Orville would be proud of my good taste.
Orville, true to his word, fashioned a box of fine wood that all could be proud of, two young hunters suited to manual labor, dug a pit in the dirt floor inside the barn, and, lo, when we installed box over it, topping it with my gleaming Wal-Mart design, we all stood back in awed silence. We now had a wondrous facility where one could sit in comfort and contemplate all that Wal-Mart has wrought, among other things.
So, I say this to Bob Weaver: You may have your fancy outhouse with all its flatulent trimmings, but it lacks the size of our huge monolith on Barbecue Run. In fact, until challenged otherwise, I will declare it the largest outhouse in Gilmer County certainly, and just maybe the whole country, well suited even for an entry in the Guinness book of records. Take it from someone who has gone there!