from a dad's view

A long walk to no where!

It’s a freezing cold night, with the brisk cold air leaking from every crack and seems of both the windows and the floor. The wood furnace cranked up so hot, that the wood stove itself is red hot, and will take the skin right off of you, if touched. But that stove is several rooms away, and although 80 degrees in that room, it’s only 40 in your bedroom. The only thing keeping you from freezing, is being sunk down about 2 feet in a feather bed, with three grandma made quilts on top of you. But that’s when it hits you! All that ice tea that was sweetened with 5 scoops of sugar, is now weighing hard on the old bladder and you need to visit the John, Mrs. Jones, Privy, Outhouse, or for you younger kids… the bathroom or toilet! Now, I’m only 49, but both of my grandparents had an outhouse when I was younger, barely old enough to remember, but I do remember them. You know how hard it is to get up from underneath those warm blankets in the winter now and walk a few feet to a inside, heated bathroom, just think when there was very little heat and the bathroom was outside and a mile away! Okay, maybe not a mile, but it seemed like it. First you would have to determine whether or not you could hold it until the morning, but if not, then you would have determine whether or not you were able to climb out of a mountain of a feather bed around you. Once you have worn yourself out lifting the 100 pounds of quilts off, and climbing over the feather bed, putting all your clothes on, grabbing a flashlight and head out the back door for the long trek to the shack. My grandparents lived in the country, so the night was as dark as you can get, so before entering the shack, you would peak in with your light making sure that there isn’t any wild critters such as raccoons, possums, snakes or wasp (in the summer), rats and spiders or other crawly creatures. Once determined all is clear, you would go in with hopes that all goes well, and you’re out of there quickly. Now, my grandparents were rich… because they had toilet paper awaiting, instead of the Sears catalog or news paper, sorry, not everyone can be so privileged. Now that “the deed is done” as we would say, you would sprint back as fast as possible because of the fear from all the noises that you heard around you while sitting there, and the freezing cold. Running in, throwing your clothes back off and diving back under those wonderfully thick heavy quilts and on top of that wonderfully sinking down two foot deep feather bed! Those were the GOOD OL’DAYS!

or option 2:  Use the large metal pot with a lid underneath the bed! Gross!

This is a 10″ x 10″ watercolor that I painted while waiting in a hotel room in West Virginia. My brother and I visited Gettysburg and other battle fields and I hope to post some paintings of those sites later this week or next. Have a safe fourth of July! And thank you all that is fighting now, in the future,  and in the past for our freedom!

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7 responses

  1. As I said in the last post, my grandparents had the same thing. We never went in the winter so there were no quilts to snuggle under, but the wildlife in the out house was the same. Mostly I remember spiders. (Insert scream here) the metal pot was under their bed so mostly we held it for the night – and the weekend. Nice painting with memories.

    July 3, 2012 at 6:12 pm

  2. You are a wonderful storyteller and a wonderful painter. Thank you so very much for sharing 🙂

    July 3, 2012 at 11:21 pm

  3. I remember when these were the only thing available in the State Parks. I decided I was a sink and shower camper a long time ago! Your green feels so cool! My grass is crunching under my feet!

    July 4, 2012 at 4:28 am

  4. Your watercolours are great! So much charm to them! Thanks for ‘liking’ my work – best wishes, Helen

    July 6, 2012 at 12:36 pm

  5. Yikes! Nice painting but I’m glad I don’t have to use one of those!

    July 7, 2012 at 12:05 pm

  6. aswirly

    Awesome! haha… Umm… I think I’d just find a tree or a bush. Those 12 summers of backpacking with my Dad in the High Sierras taught me to prefer the outdoors to an outhouse any day. Of course the bears were sometime a nuisance. eeek.

    August 1, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    • That’s so cool that you backpacked with your dad. Never had to worry about bears in Indiana, not sure I could craw out into the woods at 4:30 am in the dark, knowing that there might be a bear around the next tree.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:08 am

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