Goodbye to the Outhouse

Almost twelve years ago we bought a cow pasture and turned it into a home. It took us over a year to clear trees and remove old fences, put in water and electricity, and get a house on the property. So during that year we built an outhouse for comfort and privacy. However, despite its primitive appearance it was a very modern outhouse with running water, a real toilet and a tin bucket for a sink.


Hanging on the walls inside the outhouse hung two framed plaques.


This poster was an actual photo of one of our distant relatives. (If I must tell all our family secrets, she is one of our daughters who now lives in a distant land.)

Hanging on the wall right beside the chief place of repose (for entertaining purposes) was another wall plaque with the story below. It had arrived in the mail from an anonymous donor shortly after we built the outhouse, so I never knew whom to thank for it. It really was entertaining.


This is an incident that may sound fictitious, but actually happened.

Our neighbor’s wife had been doing some dry cleaning with something similar to gasoline. When she had finished the job she poured the excess cleaning solution down the holes in the outhouse. Later when her husband, John, went inside it he sat down, lit up his pipe and threw the match down the other hole. A terrible explosion followed and blew the outhouse all to pieces. John landed out in the middle of the yard with his clothing in embarrassing disarray. His wife, fearing the worst, called my father for help.

‘Come quick, Floyd! Come quick!’

When my father arrived shortly after, he helped John up on his feet and asked, “What in the world happened, John?’

‘I don’t know, Floyd,’ John replied shakily. ‘It must have been something I ate!’

Written by Guy Davis.”


It’s been a long time since we have used the outhouse. Instead, it became a home to red wasps, daddy-long-leg spiders (tons and tons of them,) wrens, an assortment of garden tools, and stuff I didn’t know where else to put. Or hide. Termites were turning the old barn siding into crusty cornmeal. We regretted burning the outhouse down but we didn’t like having termites eating away in the back yard either. This week we pulled the toilet and tin-bucket-sink out and set it on fire.


“Saying goodby makes my throat hurt.” – Charlie Brown


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