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The Outhouse (standard:humor, 942 words)
Author: radiodenverAdded: Aug 30 2004Views/Reads: 2582/0Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Life on a farm.

The Outhouse 

A Toilet Humor 

I read in the newspaper recently that the United States had finally rid
itself of the outhouse.  The story proclaimed that everybody in the 
country now has indoor plumbing.  Nonsense. 

When I was a boy, my grandparents lived on a small tobacco farm near the
town of Nicholasville, Kentucky.  I spent many of my summer days 
scampering around this farm. 

Off the narrow, winding country road, at the end of a long gravel
driveway, stood the main house, a large white countrified house which 
had been originally built as a one-room schoolhouse in the early 
1900's.  Flanking the old house was a rustic wood plank barn, designed 
for the drying of tobacco.  A small orchard sprinkled with apple, pear 
and peach trees straddled the far side of the barn.  Behind the barn 
stood the most interesting and magnetic structure on farm-The Outhouse. 

The farm had neither running water nor plumbing.  An indoor bathroom was
out of the question.  Doing ones business required a saunter from the 
house down a path along the side of the barn to a multi-holed outhouse. 
 Making things worse, at night one was required to carry a flashlight 
to find their way, unless of course ones nose was as finely tuned as a 
blood hound.  Mine was not.  I preferred the flashlight. 

How anybody could think to build a multi-hole toilet is a mystery to me.
 I can only imagine Mom & Dad sitting happily together in cheerful 
conversation whilst the kids run in and out.  For some reason, I never 
could imagine the group gatherings the structure was designed to 

I say multi-holed, as there were five perfectly cut and aligned circular
openings in the ‘sitting zone'.  There were no special adornments such 
as toilet seats or fixtures.  One had their choice of several possible 
locations for this matter.  Toilet paper, in its wilted splendor, was 
simply kept sitting on a ledge on the opposite wall, within easy reach. 
 The floor was covered with the cheapest possible linoleum and seemed 
to curl on every edge.  Scuffs, gouges, and other unidentifiable matter 
of ancient origin peppered the floor.  In the corner, there was always 
a half-used brown bag of lime with the telltale signs of white powder 
fingerprints on the folded opening. 

It was simple and functional.  It was a complete structure, enclosed on
all sides, a nice door and sturdy roof.  The whole structure was 
covered with tar and brown-sand laced shingles, the same type as used 
in virtually every other auxiliary structure on the farms in the 

The outhouse served other purposes.  It was a playground.  Never mind
the two ponds, the horses, and the abandoned cars.  Forget about the 
two wells and rusty water pumps.  Cows, chickens, and pigs were no 
match for the fun to be had near the multi-holed magnet.  My sisters 
and I had more fun in the outhouse than any other place on the farm. 

Grandma never seemed to mind.  I cannot recall a single instance where
she ever warned us of the evils of playing in the outhouse.  She must 
have known we were down there.  Surely, she did not believe that our 
sole purpose was to relieve ourselves from our gorging on the sour 
apples from the orchard.  We had no clue that we could die of disease 
or possibly fall in and suffer profusely.  The biggest danger I recall 
was the variety of insects, spiders and snakes that would make their 
home there.  My only real fears were being bitten on the butt by some 
deadly spider or have a snake strike me from below.  The presence of 
insects and other critters also had its benefits.  They served as 
ammunition in my constant war with my sisters for control of the 

My sister did throw a kitten down the hole once.  She was young, she did
not know that the poor kitten would be scarred for life.  She did have 
to give the poor creature a bath after my grandfather rescued it with a 
rope attached to the end of a tobacco stick. 

For me, the outhouse was a fort from which I could launch a fusillade of
apples and pears at my hapless sisters.  It was a superb hiding place 
also.  I could dodge the elders by holing up in the outhouse.  I 
avoided many a chore by virtue of its location.  I even went so far as 
to build a tree house in the walnut tree that draped the structure.  
From my walnut tree perch, I could guard the entrance with a diligence 
that would make the guards at Buckingham Palace proud.  Of course, 
right of way was granted to the elder residents.  In fact, I was best 
served to be totally stealthy in my perch, lest I be summoned for some 
arduous chore as a result of being observed. 

All things must pass however.  I recently visited the old farm.  It has
been 30 years since my days of playful delight at the multi-holed 
magnet.  The old farm is still there.  It looks much like it did when I 
was a child, if not perhaps a little smaller.  The outhouse is gone.  
The marvels of modern science have allowed the current occupants of the 
place to enjoy the convenience of plumbing.  Their children play 
happily in the yard and in the still standing orchard.  I saw a horse 
behind the barn.  There were chickens running in the yard as well.  
From what I observed, the ponds were still full of frogs and possibly 
tiny fish. 

If those children only knew what fun they could really be having.


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