The Outhouse

While visiting our son, Olaf, and his family last week, I noticed that the fill valve in the commode tank wasn’t working properly. A new valve and some time later, the problem was solved.

We didn’t have such problems when I was a kid as we didn’t have a flushing mechanism on our toilet. Our two-holer was a simple outhouse with an old peach crate nailed in one corner to hold old catalogs and the tissue like paper that apples came wrapped in. These were reserved for Mom and my sisters. In the same corner, under the “paper” crate were two worn out scrub pails. One contained red corncobs while the other held white corncobs. We didn’t even have the luxury of a piece of styrofoam for winter insulation from the cold bench.

If you didn’t grow up using this small out building, you don’t know what you missed. I forget who I was talking to a while back, but this very topic came up. They could understand the catalogs and tissue paper, but the corncobs had them baffled. I had to explain that instead of ‘the paper work’ finishing the project, one would grab and use a red cob. As I hesitated, they asked what the white cobs were used for. I went on to explain that after the red cob was used, you would use a white cob to determine if a second red cob was needed. This seemed to answer their concerns. I say ‘seemed’ as they had one more question. “Weren’t these cobs awfully rough?” they asked.

“No, they weren’t,” I answered, “we sanded them smooth.”

“Sanded them smooth,” they came back with, “what grit sandpaper did you use?”

“We didn’t use sandpaper, we used Kernel Sanders,” I answered.

Keep your fork

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