Country living provides you with many opportunities to say things that most people would not. Some of my most favorite phrases are – turn off the paved road, wood-burning stoves are for heating the home and the tub, my neighbor lived in their barn while I lived in a garage and thirty miles to the nearest convenience. But the most shocking that I have used to inform others just how rural I have lived – the outhouse is off to the side of the house.
That’s right folks – I grew up with an outhouse and not one attached to the house but one you had to walk a great distance too.
Here are a few things that I have learned about outhouses in the eight years that we used it.
- Make sure to bolted them down, or they will blow away to the neighbors during windy days.
- Keeping the seat lid down, it will also maintain the smell.
- On cold days you want to be the second in line, so someone else’s backside is getting too warm the cold plastic.
- If you ever find a dog in the tank, be prepared to get dirty.
On one particular day after the topside of the outhouse had made a trip to the neighbors our dog Shadow pulled up his ten-pound spike, deciding he was going to drag it and the fifty feet of ten-pound chain over to the other neighbors to chase their chickens. He failed to realize that there was an open hole in his path and plunged into the septic tank with over sixty pounds of weight in tow – now trying to drown him.
When his barking woke my granny up that morning – rolling out of bed to yell at the beast – she was horrified to find him not in his spot but clinging for dear life on the edge of a cesspool, and she was all alone in her pajamas and robe to save him from the ordeal.
She soon realized that it was not just Shadow that needed pulling out of the septic tank and was forced to handle the chain that was dragging him down. After getting the heavy mess out she was still having a hard time finding a good grip on the animal or footing due to all the slime that was everywhere. Both dog and woman were fading but as Shadow lunged once again desperate to find traction it caught onto an idea. My granny slipped from her robe and placed down for him to use as firm footing.
Shadow now had the grip he needed and with the help of my granny pulling on the chain was able to free himself from the horrible hole. Shadow was saved! He became joyous wanting to thank his hero with hugs and kisses. My granny wanted to choke but was able to calm him down till he realized that he was wet and must now shake.
When we arrived back home, we were greeted by an awful sight – my granny covered in crap holding what looked like a robe. We were informed what happen and that is was now in our hands. My mother was to take care of the dog; I was to get hot water ready so she could bath, and my father was to go to town to get her new pajamas and a robe.