Kenneth Avery is a Southern humorist with well over a thousand fans. The charm and wit in his writing span a nearly a decade.
Writer's note: in this piece the corporate name, Sears-Roebuck, is used not for you to be made to rush right out and shop with this company because you read the name here. And know that I am not promoting this fine American company at the same time. I used it as to make a good editorial point. My thanks. (Kenneth). P.S.: if you look at the three photos of the outhouses that I chose for this hub, you will not see any captions underneath the pictures simply because I wanted you to cormyour own opinion of them.
No Matter When You Were Born
you had to somehow, somewhere, be taught to use the bathroom. I know. This is a touchy topic, but it has to be said. In all serious thought, I am not here to offend anyone who was taught to live in a higher, proper walk of life. But still, at the same token, I do not want to leave anyone out. This action can be as hurtful as the other. So if you do not mind, I want to talk about an American icon, the country outhouse.
There are many names for the outhouse. Privy; Country bathroom; Wooden John, to name a few, but my favorite would have to be the Country outhouse. One, because my family and I had an outdoor toilet which was in the country and two, it was, quite frankly, too large to be built into our home. So the name fit. Country outhouse. I liked our bathroom built from wood. But as time went by, I learned that our outhouse meant more than just a place to answer Nature's call.
No matter when an outhouse was built away from the main house, the main goal who was going to use the outhouse was to simply make it. No excuses. Word might leak out. A real man wouldn't let his water slip. Wy' he'd be drummed-out of the Confederate Army if he did that. Need I say more? If you owned an outhouse, it displayed a statute of pride. And the neighbors around the fortune family (with the outhouse) then throughout of the outhouse-owners as high-up, looking down their noses, and other jealous-based words.
But time and outhouse endured, and then marched on.
Reviewing How an Outhouse Was Constructed
and we can all benefit from just how intelligent and practical the building of this new "housing" project came to be. Most people in this time, used rough lumber. No use in using fancy materials, because no one cares what the inside looks like, just the space and size of the privy for a person in need of the rest room to relieve themselves.
Even the butt stool was made from carved and sanded wood. Sure, there were complaints about sharp splinters breaking off into a person's backside, but early on, that was the main area of contention.
As outhouses endured, the owners saw fit to remodel their outhouse not to send more jealousy to the less-fortunate outhouse owners (who had to use their wooded area for using the John) because these poor people had to endure a lot when winter time was going cold and bitter, the less-fortune people had no choice but to use their woods or in bushy area out of sight to let their kidneys and bowels have peace, but these people grew into a strong sect of men and women. In short, their abject misery gave made them stronger.
The Inside of a Good Outhouse Looked
above the standard of decent. The owners of their outhouse cared about their outside rest room facilities so their family and people visiting them would not be in a tough decision as to where and how they were to use the rest room.
In the initial stages, the outside shape was rough lumber, but that too changed shortly and that was due to personal pride as people with outhouses always wanted to be a part of that silent pride to be one Thstep ahead of others who also had outhouses. Or is it "out-homes?"
The seat area had to be so smooth that a baby could sit without fear of sharp ends of nails or splinters being found in their butts, so the seat area was the number one goal to be met sometimes each week.
But the most creative move was when outhouse owners became in panic mode because of the obvious reason that there was nothing to use to "clean" one's backside and to it completely because there was one thing that an outhouse owner dreaded: leaving his/her outhouse without completely-"cleaning" and the smell of their waste would offend everyone that this poor guy met.
The next progressive step toward making the progressive outhouse was using corn cobs to use as a source of butt-cleaning. It took a brave man to use such things, but it stopped his waste from him being the offense of the community. Then when cobs became obsolete, a Sears-Roebuck catalog that was outdated was placed in the outhouse floor and the person who had to "clean" themselves with a page of the catalog, and this too, was another way to relax and that was while the outhouse customer was using the stool area, they would occupy themselves by reading the catalog again to just get the deals that the owners had neglected.
True Outhouse Dangers
were part of the "Outhouse Experience." Face it. When Columbus sailed his Nina, Pinta, and St. Marie to our nation, when Orville and Wilbur Wright discovered that (we) can fly, and when the first outhouse was built, this event did not go without problems. Anything that helps mankind always tries to be put down, but the true explorers and builders knew how to endure, adapt, and keep their heads up as they overcame their small problems.
Certain annoyances as: red wasps who loved to built their nests in the inside top of the outhouse were smart. No self-respecting insect would dare "want" to get wet while building his/her home and raise the kids.
A person had to keep a heavy coat while he/she used the outhouse while in the winter time. Sure. This was to be this way because the portable heater had yet to be invented. So these hard, seasoned Americans bared it all and came through like real troopers.
Down in the pit underneath the outhouse, trouble was always a threat. Some non-poisonous and non-poisonous snakes would make their dens in this nasty place to keep men from killing them. Plus, it made a good and warm place to raise their snakeettes. (babies).
But, there has been trouble with those dangerous rattlesnakes who loved the warm too. So it goes without saying that the expert outhouse user must inspect the seat area of his outhouse before using. It only makes good sense.
Things Not Taken Into Outhouses
⦁ Lunch of any shape, form, or size that can be considered food. Not even an apple or banana, as it can cause a serious fall and an injury to one's hip or backbone.
⦁ Portable radio. Listening to this appliance can disturb an outhouse user's concentration and not have a complete "go." Portable radios are verboten.
⦁ Guitars, drums, all brass instruments are just a nuisance and like the portable radio, can be serious distractions and not appreciated by any outhouse user.
⦁ Cats, dogs, all pets are not welcome because these lovable creatures all want a good amount of attention, so if this happens, the person on the stool can robbed of his/her cleaning-out of his/her bowels.
⦁ One item that CAN be taken into an outhouse is Insect Repellant due to the wasps who build their nests inside the outhouse at the top.
One thing should be noted about the inside of the outhouse is besides not taking guitars, drums, or any musical instrument can also be a precaution to NOT do any folk dancing, square dancing or the Frug, as the kids did in the 1960's,
This notice can be applied to wrestling, boxing, singing, and comedy routines. Why I will sternly-advice that there be no dancing in the outhouse is because if a person gets carried-way dancing, he or she can fall into the seating area into the nasty pit. And if they do fall, I promise that it will be years before they become normal.
This piece might be looked upon as comical, but I did have the experience of using an outhouse when I was eight. I shall never forget the wooden walls that the weather had helped to make it rotten as well as the seated area. And yes, there was a Sears-Roebuck catalog someone had placed to use as bath tissue. But the one good area is that there were NO red wasps who are known to build their nests in the inside top of the outhouse because in "my" case, no self-respecting red wasp would dare try to "nest" in my outhouse.
March 02, 2021_____________________________________________________
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© 2021 Kenneth Avery
RGNestle from Seattle on March 04, 2021:
Why don't they just give us a "thumbs up" button? :)
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 03, 2021:
A great aunt of mine had an outhouse at her lake home. Eventually aa bathroom was added in to her home.
I once went to a girlscout camp that only had outhouses.