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Friday, March 24, 2017

Swinging on the Outhouse Door

Posted Thursday, May 31, 2012, at 11:26 PM

A few old relics of days gone by.
Outhouses have been given a bad reputation in our history books! Just think about how many songs and humorous stories would have been lost if we never experienced the fragrant environment of a rustic outdoor bathroom.

You certainly didn't fight over the right to use the bathroom with a two or three-seater outhouse! The art of recycling began when the Sears & Roebuck catalog was used in a more thoughtful fashion. You could read one part of the catalog and tear out a page at a time for a more sanitary purpose.

The fresh air of the great outdoors eliminated the need to install a bathroom fan. No electricity or water was ever wasted in an outhouse.

In the 6th Grade, I went to a junior church camp. They had at the campsite, a nice sturdily built "outdoor" bathroom. We called her "Mrs. Murphy It was much more genteel to say that we had to visit "Mrs. Murphy" in mixed company.

A few years ago, on a trip back to Idaho, we had to stop at one of those dingy gas stations; you know the ones that people have been known to vanish from in the movies. They didn't have an indoor bathroom, just an old outhouse.

Now, I have experienced "roughing it" with my dad growing up, but this "outhouse" cannot be described with any sense of delicacy. Needless to say, I opted to hold out for the next exit off of the freeway.

Sprinting to the outhouse on a dark night in the dead of winter was both character building and provided aerobic exercise to boot!

I invite you to share your own experiences with the "enclosed" throne of the great outdoors. Healthy humor only please.

Showing comments in chronological order
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The fall of 1963 was wet and cool in Elmore County. Shortly after Thanksgiving, a series of Pacific storms blew out of the Gulf of Alaska and dropped several feet of wet, heavy snow in the foothills and higher elevations. A couple of days before Christmas, the weather pattern changed and we experienced a massive Chinook wind event. Temperatures jumped into the upper 50's and warm rains made the snowpack disappear in a matter of hours.

The resulting run-off prompted city officials to cut a trench across American Legion Blvd. just below where Walmart is now and sandbag the canal banks to divert water around the town. In nearby King Hill, debris in Clover Creek plugged the culvert under Highway 30 and formed a lake that was over a mile long and dozens of feet deep. When the debris dam gave way, the culvert acted like a giant fire hose and washed out the railroad tressle and later Highway 30 itself. A few days later, we received word that the little creek called Cannon Gulch, that runs between the Pine Cemetery and the Pine schoolhouse, had washed a 30 foot deep, 150 foot long crater in the road.

The cabin my folks shared with Al and Betsy Pfost was located just a few yards upstream from the washout. Unfortunately, there was no word on whether the cabin had survived.

On New Years Day 1964, the two families loaded up in our old Chrysler and set out to see if we could make it to the cabin. We eventually arrived at the gash in the road and Dad and Al had the rest of us stay at the car while they surveyed the damages. After a few minutes, they returned with the news that the cabin was intact.

While there was evidence that water had been several inches deep inside the cabin, there was no real damage. The outhouse, located a few yards out the back door and upstream from the cabin, had started to collect debris as the waters rose and as the debris dam rose, it diverted the main torrent of water across the little valley from the cabin. The water washed several yards of soil and plants down to bedrock just feet from the cabin, but had spared out favorite summer place. We had many a happy time in that cabin for nearly a decade after that.

Outhouses can be our friend, Bonnie.

-- Posted by wh67 on Fri, Jun 1, 2012, at 10:00 AM

I happen to think so too. Thank you for sharing your memories. I really appreciate it.

-- Posted by KH Gal on Fri, Jun 1, 2012, at 10:49 AM

Nothing like a goose...yes goose...in the freshly pumped outhouse "hole." Who really wants to look down that hole anyway? And the goose---gooses the goose so to speak. Yes, the goose was rescued...along with her eggs. Oiy vey.

The outhouse is our friend.

-- Posted by OpinionMissy on Fri, Jun 1, 2012, at 12:48 PM

My Dad used to rope outhouses on Halloween with his friends and tip them over. One concerned citizen sat up with his shotgun just waiting for those "hoodlums".

They tipped the outhouse over so that the door faced the ground. Guess who spent the night in the outhouse with a gun to keep him company?

The outhouse is our friend.

-- Posted by KH Gal on Fri, Jun 1, 2012, at 1:10 PM

My Mom and Uncle used to put (when they were kids on a farm...I guess with nothing to do) M-80's in the outhouse...till the day my Uncle did not make it out as quickly as he should have and...kaboom. Ewwwwww. The things kids did in the "olden days" for entertainment.

The outhouse is our friend.

-- Posted by OpinionMissy on Fri, Jun 1, 2012, at 3:41 PM

I had heard a story about the outhouse roping Halloween hoodlums from a fellow that worked for my Dad at the Post Office at MHAFB back in the 60's. His name was Dolf Hitesman and he was from King Hill. It's really fun to have that kind of "folklore" confirmed a half century later.

-- Posted by wh67 on Fri, Jun 1, 2012, at 9:26 PM

Yes it was him that spent a little time in the outhouse.

-- Posted by KH Gal on Fri, Jun 1, 2012, at 10:00 PM

Wayne has stories of 'roping outhouses" too.....

Loved everyone's "share"

I agree, maybe a friend.... but for sure a necessity!

-- Posted by jessiemiller on Wed, Jun 6, 2012, at 8:01 PM

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Walking the Fence Line
Bonnie Bird
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Fixing fence is the one of the hardest jobs on a ranch. I no longer live on a ranch, but I do know what hard work is. Fences are everyone's concern, but nowadays,the "hole" is always your neighbor's side not your own. It used to be that you would respect your neighbor and mend the fence together. If their cows got in your field, a simple phone call resolved the problem. You might even saddle up your own horse and help them gather them up. We need more people who are willing to roll their sleeves up and fix the fence regardless of who your neighbor is. There are people in this country who need to be reminded that a fence is like the way you should conduct your life. Your posts should be straight and neat. The wire needs to be stretched tight and your gate might be closed, but can still be easily opened. And most of all, we can all saddle up together and ride the range, it won't matter if you have an Appaloosa, Quarter Horse or Thoroughbred. The cows still have to be gathered, fences have to be fixed, and the range is a wide open space of opportunity for us all.
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