A Nearly Fatal Error
Photo by Adobe Stock/steven hendricks
A nearly fatal error
I got quite a chuckle out of Clell Ballard’s outhouse article in the November 2020 issue of Farm Collector. It brought to mind an incident that happened when a friend went to visit another friend in the good old days.
As they visited on the front open porch, the visitor was in need of relief. Not knowing where the outhouse was, and embarrassed to ask, he waited. Finally, after the call to go was quite urgent, he had to ask where the outhouse was. They showed him behind the house, under a big tree. Because of his urgency, he took off on a run, his eyes set on his goal.
He failed to see the clothesline and it caught him under his chin. His feet kept running until he was stretched out, and then the clothesline dropped him on his back in the grass. When the host saw what had happened, he apologized and said he never thought to mention the clothesline. “That’s all right,” the friend said. “I wouldn’t have made it anyway.”
I thought the heading on Clell Ballard’s article (“Oh outhouse, where are thou?”) was perfect for this story.
Noah Hochstetler, St. Cloud, Wisconsin
Remembering a late-night “special delivery” to local post office
I loved Clell G. Ballard’s “Oh outhouse, where are thou?” story (Farm Collector, November 2020). It reminded me fondly of a very similar situation occurring on Halloween eve in 1962. We lived in a small California town. Although the town had a post office, the post office didn’t have an employee restroom. The postmaster was always complaining to anyone who would listen that he was upset about having to walk to a nearby service station to use the facilities.
My dad spotted an outhouse (still in use) at an old home about a dozen blocks from town. On Halloween night, he rounded up several of us to meet at the outhouse long after dark, and he drove up in his old military jeep. We did verify that the outhouse wasn’t in use at the time.
We tilted the old “one holer” to one side, he backed up the jeep and we set the side on the rear bumper. The rest of us then tilted the other side up to the tailgate. Slowly we drove to town and down the main street, making it to the post office undetected.
The outhouse was then tilted back down to the ground, leaving it prominently displayed near the front door. It couldn’t be missed. Needless to say, the postmaster was beside himself.
He shouldn’t have called my dad to complain and accuse him of doing this to him. Face to face, my dad’s laughing would have been a certain giveaway, and although the postmaster was fairly sure of the guilty party, I’m not sure he ever learned positively who did it. Shortly thereafter, the postmaster retired and a new post office was built with a restroom!
Lee Hardesty via email
A Fable of Two Farm Brothers
Check out this farm fable from turn-of-the-twentieth-century author, George Ade, about two brothers.
Sharing the Past with the Grandkids
Look at this heart-warming photo from a reader about a multigenerational family and their collection of farm equipment.
More Outhouse Memories
A privy in need of a license plate The outhouse stories in previous issues made me chuckle. I was born in East Marion, Long Island, New York (winter population 300) in 1943. We lived in the village and had a two-seat privy which was only used when the power went out, during hurricanes and blizzards. We […]