Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The outhouse

Last Christmas when I was home, I asked my parents if I could borrow some of their old pictures. Several years ago I spent a winter going through pictures and scanning them in, but there were still many that I had missed. I had hopes that there might be some which had survived the fire and that I could archive.

I've been working on it off and on since then, and a little while ago I came across this picture:

Taken sometime around 1970, if I were to make a guess.
This, my dear friends, was Grandpa Howell's outhouse.

Grandpa and Grandma Howell were my paternal great-grandparents. They lived in a small town in Kansas and raised twelve children in a ramshackle ol' house that I have the vaguest memories of. It wasn't until some time after my father was born that they got indoor plumbing in that house, and even then Grandpa Howell still preferred to use his outhouse.

I've heard lots of stories about that outhouse.

For example, it was apparently a Halloween tradition in that particular small town in Kansas for the kids to try and sneak into Grandpa's junk yard and knock over the old thing. Grandpa Howell would spend the whole night camped outside with his gun, ready to scare off any teen dumb enough to try it.

As you can tell from the picture, it wouldn't have taken much to knock it over.

There's also another story that my dad likes to tell about certain little boys deciding to send some kittens swimming down there, and Grandma Howell having to fish the poor things back out. Apparently there were quite a few tanned hides that resulted, and that mama cat would have nothing to do with those kittens for weeks.

Don't get any bright ideas.

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