;

Lord Willing and if the Creek Don’t Rise

Jan
6

Hark! What is that I see through yonder passenger-side truck window?

An outhouse! And it looks like a good one!

I use my camera’s zoom lens and LCD screen as binoculars to get a closer peek at the treasure nestled in the woods. I am always prepared to pursue journalistic heights, follow every lead, take every intrepid path. I am Brenda Starr! I am Lois Lane! I am…. Something.

I say to 52, “STOP THE TRUCK!!! C’mon, Pa, let’s go check it out!”

He loves it when I call him Pa.

Okay, I don’t know if he’d love that because that part didn’t happen, but I did say, “STOP THE TRUCK!!!” Quite excitedly. I get pretty excited over a good outhouse sighting. 52 isn’t excited at all, but he’s patient. We’re on a backroads drive looking for some guy who is supposed to have hay. We need some hay. We’re not looking for outhouses. Or, he wasn’t. But he stops the truck and kicks back in his seat. Because he’s patient but he’s not going with me. I’m the trespasser, he’s the getaway driver.

I get out of the truck. I’m on my own now. (Does he not know there could be snakes in there???)

The outhouse is located at the edge of the woods, right up against a hillside, with a small meadow along the road and the foundation remains of the long-ago home it once served.

Between the house in its sunny meadow and that shadowed and abandoned outhouse is……

….this creek. Between the house and the outhouse. A creek. That looks like it must have been real handy. Life was rough in the old days. And peeing was even rougher.

I set off, following the creek and the footsteps of our ancestral tinklers.

Did they have to really plan ahead? It’s no short jaunt over to that old outhouse. I walk the creekbank, searching for a place to cross.

I finally come to this low spot. Which is not quite low enough, but I imagine in the long hot summers, it was often dry. It’s not dry now. But neither rain nor sleet nor water beneath my boots shall stay me from the swift completion of my appointed investigation.

I slosh across the creek and clamber up the bank, grappling at small tree trunks for support, branches tearing through my hair.

Whew. I make it up the bank, safe and whole. That was close. I almost broke a nail.

And there She is. I have arrived.

I’m afraid to look inside, afraid I’ll be disappointed, afraid I’ve risked life and limb for naught. The last thing I want to find is some kind of modern-looking toilet seat. Plastic! I want the real deal, hand-hewn, rough. Old.

I think it’s the real deal.

One seat? Two seats? Three?

I have to know.

A two-seater!!!!!

And look, a rusted outhouse-style toilet roll holder.

However old this outhouse is, it’s old enough. I am satisfied.

But…. How did they get here? Was there a foot bridge at one time crossing this creek? I’ve seen the creeks around here in high water. Even a foot bridge wouldn’t get them across this creek then. Why would anyone build an outhouse so inconveniently located? Was it an ongoing source of marital conflict in the family it once served?

Her: I told you I wanted the outhouse closer to the house, where it was easy to get to!

Him: But, honey, you said you wanted to get more exercise.

Then she clobbered him with an iron skillet.

And boy, was he sorry.

The End.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on January 6, 2009  

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  1. 1-6
    4:22
    am

    Maybe it was an attempt to keep the outhouse on the other side of the creek for drainage reasons. Maybe there was a well on the same side the house was on. Kind of a prevent typhoid today campaign, don’t pee in your own waterhole.

  2. 1-6
    5:02
    am

    Thanks for the chuckle this morning :)

    Keep em coming!

  3. 1-6
    5:22
    am

    That makes me want to go trespassing with you…

  4. 1-6
    5:29
    am

    How fun!! My anticipation was building as I scrolled down the pics!! I was worried you’d find snakes…have a great, adventure-filled day!!

  5. 1-6
    5:32
    am

    If you were any funnier, I would not be able to contain my self anymore!!! LOL GREAT POST – Tell Pa Hi!!! LOL

  6. 1-6
    5:33
    am

    You know, I’m developing a passion for outhouses, now. I don’t think we have any more around here, but I will certainly be on the lookout.

  7. 1-6
    5:53
    am

    OMG! You are the only other person I’ve heard say that other than my great granny! I remember like it was yesterday her standing in her kitchen saying “If the good Lord’s willin’ and the crick don’t rise!”

    Thank you! That is the second thing that has happened in the last two days that has reminded me of her.

    b

  8. 1-6
    5:53
    am

    Was there room for the house on the side of the creek the outhouse was?? Could be they both were on that side. I would be looking for where the house was or is. lol. What fun. Have you ever got caught takeing pictures of outhouses?? What do you tell people?

  9. 1-6
    6:26
    am

    I think they would want the outhouse away from the house because of the stink. Especially in the summertime….Also most people had chamber pots for nighttime, bad weather or just because the outhouse was so far away. :treehugger:

  10. 1-6
    6:31
    am

    I love your outhouse adventures. As I was reading this today, one thought kept creeping in my head. How is it that the house is completely gone except for the foundation, but all four walls of the outhouse are still standing?

  11. 1-6
    6:43
    am

    Suzanne, try going to the local/county library. They may have a history on the area, plot maps with names, etc. You may be able to find out about the family who lived there. Ours does and it’s so interesting to browse through. Of course Georgia might also know. Put a call out in your column asking for information on the area from the ancestors of the pioneering families. If you ask, they’ll come…

  12. 1-6
    7:15
    am

    I was really, really hoping that you would round the corner and somebody would be sitting in there!

  13. 1-6
    7:18
    am

    What a perfect title for your post! Made me giggle!

  14. 1-6
    7:44
    am

    I saw a calendar of outhouses the other day. I couldn’t help but think of you. :)

  15. 1-6
    8:05
    am

    I am enjoying your post. I just found this site yesterday. I grew up in a house in Jackson County with an outhouse. It is gone now, rotted away. Many a cold night I sprinted out the back door and down the path to relieve myself.

    On another note, I stopped on the way home last night and bought the ingredients for laundry detergent that you suggested in another post. I washed my first load and it seems to have done a good job. I even instructed my husband and son on how to use it. They are usually pretty tolerant of my attempts to be “green” and seemed to get it.

  16. 1-6
    8:09
    am

    I’m loving the outhouse stories. We just had to knock our outhouse down last year. It had gotten in such poor shape and rotting from the bottom up I was afraid it would fall over on one of our dogs. It was a de-luxe three seater!

  17. 1-6
    8:10
    am

    :snoopy: Just a thought, I know there are a ton of coffee table outhouse books on the market right now…well, okay not a ton, but you know I mean. Anyway, it would be great to have a outhouse book that had your wit and commentary for each outhouse that you discover. I would buy it.

  18. 1-6
    8:15
    am

    Maybe the goats grazed on the other side of the creek.

    You don’t want goats near the outhouse.

  19. 1-6
    8:22
    am

    I was going to say “Can you imagine being 9 months pregnant and waddling out 12 times a night to pee, cursing your husband every step of the way for putting the loo on the other side of the creek?”

    But then I remembered, chamber pots, but maybe not.

  20. 1-6
    8:34
    am

    A 2 seater. I’m just trying to get past the horror of that, having to sit next to someone while doing my business. :)

  21. 1-6
    8:52
    am

    I love your outhouse posts and the pictures. Ole grew up on a farm that had an outhouse that was still being used when I met him. Summers weren’t so bad, but sitting down on that frosty hole in a Minnesota winter was pretty exciting. Believe me, you didn’t waste any time. You got your business done and got out of there. To the outhouse is where the old Sears catalog went, and not for reading purposes either. It was a special treat when his Aunt Mary canned peaches because the peaches used to come individually wrapped in soft tissue paper in the lug. All those peach papers went to the outhouse too!!

  22. 1-6
    8:58
    am

    I can always count on you to start my day off with a laugh! I remember having to use the said outhouses when I visited relatives and they weren’t kidding about the Sears catalog!

  23. 1-6
    9:10
    am

    I’ve never ever thought of outhouses as being intriguing or interesting. Now however I find myself wondering about them.

  24. 1-6
    9:22
    am

    First of all, how wonderful it is to hear my grandmothers old phrase. She said it a bit different though, “God willing and the creek don’t rise”.

    I’m glad to know that I’m not the only trespasser armed with a camera. I haven’t got shot yet but the possibility always makes shooting old barn and farmhouses an exciting challenge.

    I wanted to say how happy I am that you contacted the local newspaper. And thankfully you’ve identified with the more flamboyant Brenda Starr, because Lois Lane is a goody two shoes! HA.

    I could never understand the two-seater outhouse. Would you share the space with someone while you’re doing your business? Not me…no way.

    Thanks for all you do and for creating a safe and interesting place to land on the web.

    - Suzanne, the Farmer’s Wife

  25. 1-6
    9:26
    am

    Good happy morning! I’ve used outhouses, but I don’t remember them much. I do remember the story Mom told me, though, about my toddler-hood in rural PA. It seems I was a curious youngster, and dropped a kitten down the hole – ?? Maybe to see if it could “swim”? Don’t worry, gentle readers, it was rescued and ever after went by the name of “Stinky”. :catmeow:

  26. 1-6
    11:04
    am

    All hail the power of an iron skillet!

    Love this outhouse! There used to be one out back here, over yonder. No creek hopping (btw, love your shoes) but up against a swamp.

  27. 1-6
    11:18
    am

    That was the best blog ever, I love your site. I come to read everyday and love everything about your life.
    We once lived on a little homested, raised our two daughters there in Pa. We heated with wood, had chickens, ducks, cows, pigs, a horse and heated with wood. Did all my own canning, loved the life………..Have a great time on your little farm………Keep up the good work.

  28. 1-6
    11:35
    am

    Why two seats? I just can’t imagine sitting next to someone while I peed or did anything else.

  29. 1-6
    11:38
    am

    :chicken: :chicken: :chicken: :chicken: :chicken: :chicken: My husband’s uncle in South Williamson just finished putting a “modern” Bathroom in his house after 40 years of marriage, (after all the kids grew up & moved out lol) but they left the outhouse standing, and it is still used, but I can’t count the copperheads that have been killed in it. Love your blog, pictures, and especially the mmm recipes! :butterfly:

  30. 1-6
    11:44
    am

    Her: I told you I wanted the outhouse closer to the house, where it was easy to get to!

    Him: But, honey, you said you wanted to get more exercise.

    Then she clobbered him with an iron skillet.

    And boy, was he sorry.

    ROFLMAO!!!!!

  31. 1-6
    12:33
    pm

    It’s not too late…….you can stil build an outhouse of your very own! :rotfl:

  32. 1-6
    12:44
    pm

    I grew up with a three holer—papa, mama, and baby.

    Love the stories that go with the pictures!

  33. 1-6
    1:15
    pm

    Only YOU could make outhouses interesting :mrgreen:

  34. 1-6
    1:24
    pm

    The farm I grew up on had two outhouses when we moved there! In different locations! They were the old fashioned kind no plastic seat there! :no:

  35. 1-6
    1:36
    pm

    I mean who knows, maybe in the year 2089, people will be fascinated with OUR bathrooms and want to come in our homes and look at them! LOL :no:

    I like the picture of that old log home – that’s so neat!

    IT had to be rough getting to the outhouse for some, when no Detrol or those other bladder drugs were available…or if you took a laxative…things like that. Whew! :mrgreen: :fryingpan:

  36. 1-6
    2:37
    pm

    Suzanne, I’ve loved your blog for a while now. Thank you for all the laughs, and now I want a giant puppy and goats! I came across this article and thought of you…http://www.woai.com/content/news/newslinks/story/Exhibit-Showcases-the-Lowly-Outhouse-as-High-Art/A2-otPFC1Uev9BUk4ahhSg.cspx

    I love the fact that they called it the Thunderbox Row Exhibit. Only in Texas!

  37. 1-6
    3:09
    pm

    I think it was definitely a man’s idea to build the outhouse there, women are smarter then that!

    The log cabin is just gorgeous.

  38. 1-6
    3:29
    pm

    Of course you’d find a way to take pictures of the Out-house! We knew you could! *G*

  39. 1-6
    3:50
    pm

    Maybe there was another outhouse closer to the house that’s all gone now? Or maybe it was the cause of marital strife, just like you said! Strange location…

  40. 1-6
    5:34
    pm

    Uhmm Brenda Starr? Why did the house disappear and the outhouse didn’t? THAT’s the question I have … other than a fire afire okay I’ve already thought about a fire… gee some of you guys are mean! Talk about martial discord! :cattail:
    Rooth < ~~ Outhouses kinda creep her out

  41. 1-6
    5:45
    pm

    According to my grandpa, an outhouse next to a creek was the ultimate! You didn’t have to worry about the waste building up in the hole and having to clean it out at some point. I’m serious. Really….I’m serious. My grandpa talked about a family that built their outhouse right over a small creek.

    When I was a little girl, my great-grandmother still had an outhouse. I can remember being scared to death. I was convinced a snake would bite me while I was doing my business.

    She had a 2 seater. One had a square hole and the other was round. Nothing like an outhouse on a hot summer day…….

  42. 1-6
    10:51
    pm

    You’ll have to write a “coffee table” style book about country outhouses! LOL!

    I had thoughts similar to other readers: why two seats? why is the outhouse standing but the house is completely gone? Also, I wonder if the creek path chnged in the years since the outhouse was originally built. I can’t imagine how difficult it was to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night!

  43. 1-7
    12:13
    am

    Hahah, so funny to read
    You make it sound like an episode of little house.
    I can just see Laura jump over the creek to get to the outhouse. :rotfl:

    hugs
    Gwen

  44. 1-7
    9:50
    am

    I love this. I’m trying to think where I was recently during the past year and there were still outhouses up in the backwayback yards that I could swear were still being used. Must’ve been on the ‘back dirt roads trip’ my cousin and I did in August through Nevada and Utah. I’m so glad we don’t have those anymore. Makes me cold to think of it.

  45. 1-11
    8:22
    pm

    Just think about this…why do we “modern” women always go to the bathroom in pairs when we are out with our husbands? Why, to gossip of course! Can’t you just see two sisters sitting there in the outhouse talking about the boys at school??? LOL Of course, if family members had a case of the “stomach bug” that is currently circulating in our community, there wouldn’t be any “waiting” for someone to get off the toilet so you could take your turn! Could be an advantage!?!?!?
    I remember using an outhouse at my granny’s when I was growing up! Yes, snakes were a fear as well as wasps! And as the other posters said, “There is nothing like the smell of an outhouse on a hot summer’s day!” WHEW!

    Cousin Sheryl

  46. 1-9
    6:14
    am

    thanks for the great photo pictorial definition of
    “God willing and the creek (crick?) don’t rise.”

  47. 4-10
    6:08
    pm

    I found out about your site a couple of days ago when someone quoted you on the Barnheart group on Facebook. I’m so glad I checked it out! I read it for 4 hours that day. Probably I’m trying to live vicariously through your blog! Anyway, I thought it was funny that I was excited for you when you found an outhouse! haha How many people get excited about that? I would have ran up there with you. You know they used to throw away things in there? Never know what you’ll find in an ancient outhouse. Love your blog!

  48. 6-13
    12:56
    pm

    I’m another who finds outhouses intriguing! My uncle had one and after his severe health crisis a bathroom was added to the house. A well was dug and elec put in JUST for the new modern bathroom!!! The other elec and water was for the milk house. The cows had elec before the farm house!

    I have a little wooden outhouse my FIL made me one year and a jig saw puzzle with one too. I’d love a calendar of them!

    I love your blog and writing style.

  49. 7-22
    10:49
    am

    Went to a one room school. Outhouse had about 6 seats all at different heights for grades one through 8. Had a High School with indoor plumbing

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