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.
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.