Friday, September 30, 2011

The Outhouse

Good Morning,

     Just setting here watching the snowflakes fly. The fields are mostly planted, and the sound of crop dusters has been silenced today. Quite cold too. We are only getting a dustin', the rest of the state is covered with snow, several places are reporting a foot of snow.  Made me think of days gone by...good days.

     My Dad was the pastor of a little mountain church at Cove Creek, the church sat next to the creek it was named for, and the low water bridge would cause you to have a prayer meeting before you ever arrived at the church, if it had rained. The old saying, "I'll be there if the creek don't rise", was a true life experience!
     In Winter, we would huddle around the potbelly stove, and pity the poor soul that couldn't 'hold it'! The trips to the outhouse were never pleasant, but worse by far in the winter! Females had to learn to stand, and remove as little of necessities as possible, in order to take care of nature and not freeze! Because, if you failed to maintain your stance, you worried more than about frostbite, while your backside was stuck to the toilet seat! ( Oh, we were 1st class, we put a real toilet seat on our wooden stools!), course you didn't really want to call for help due to the delicate nature of our position! Don't even get me started on the spiders, and other critters that took up residences inside those little buildings! Skunks tended to want to raise their little ones inside these shacks...

     When Dad left that church, to pastor the little Indian Mission church in Oklahoma, we were really moving up in the world! We had two potbellied stoves there, and until we remodeled, there were the 'infamous' outhouses, but we had two-holers, Oh yes, two women could take care of nature, and cut down on the line, see.  One of the stoves was up front and one in the back of the church, you either sat in the 'Amen Section', or the 'backsliders roost'!  Honestly, you just sat at which stove gave out the most heat, some days the stoves were cranky and wouldn't work properly.  Mom and Dad would always get to church early enough to take off the chill from the sanctuary, course that meant for us, it was a cold wait, but we stayed busy.  Us children had dreams of stardom, we were gonna be in a singing group, we'd get up there and sing, and play (well, made noise anyhow) on the old piano, drums, anything we could get our hands on. We wanted to make sure we got in enough practice. I remember several days when my Dad would say, "Children, you've got that song down just as good as your going too."  Nope, we never gave up, see we had an Aunt and Uncle whose family had a singing group, they had made a record, and we were walking in tall cotton...cause they were 'kinfolks!' That was big time! You couldn't climb any higher than that, you had arrived! They could sing, and what anointing, my aunt was also a songwriter, the best, and when they would come hold our churches concerts, not only was it great services...but visiting time! We love them dearly, and have shared many wonderful memories through the years with them.
     Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter we were in church. When the doors were open, you went. No questions, sick or otherwise, it was church time. Church was first, because God was first, and God always blessed us in return. I do remember a few scary moments in these trips back and forth to church. Poor Mom and Dad, how many times would we drive to church, up and down those ice and snow covered mountains! Dad would drive down one mountain, make it to the top of another, and get out and gauge how bad the next mountain was. I can still see mother, sitting bundled with the baby on her lap, her pretty hair done up in curls, worry furrows on her face, cautioning Dad to be careful. And us children bundled till only our eyes and long hair were visible, of course, now mind you, with seven children there was also constant comments and advice from our knowledgeable heads! My mother would mention on occasion that "Silence is Golden!" hmmmm, wonder what she meant? Part of the time he would drive with one wheel in grass (for traction) and the other one on solid ice on the road. God was mighty good to us! She would not be happy to hear I had told this, so let's just keep it between us shall we? Once, I remember Mom said, "Herbert, (that was Dad) just let me and the children get out and walk!" and she meant it. You can go pretty fast, without even trying to, down those mountain roads in the winter!
     Mom and Dad had seven children to raise, feed, clothe, and care for, the little churches didn't pay enough to support all those mouths, so Dad needed a second job, and with all us children roaming around, they thought it best if we roam on farmland rather than streets.  I remember the the winters of milking, Dad bringing the milkers and lines in the house to sit by the stove, so he could milk the next morning...frozen lines were worthless, and the cows had to be milked! I can see him huddling over the electric heater, trying to warm his hands in between milk the poor cows wouldn't jump out of their skins when his cold hands put the milkers on them. He'd bundle up and take a thermos of coffee to the milk barn. In real bad weather, it took both Mom and Dad working over there in the mornings and evenings both, usually mornings she was making breakfast, and ensuring that we managed to get to the school bus on time. We always made better time to catch the bus if there was snow on the ground, we'd do a little sledding down the hill!  I will never forget how we had to haul water when the house lines would freeze, I sure hated it. We carried big buckets of water back and forth from the barn...up and down 2 steep hills, crossed the creek and arrived with clothes frozen stiff, from where it had splashed on us, lids always got knocked off, and the big buckets would only be half full of water, after the slipping and sliding trip we took to get from the house to the barn! Good days...hard days...but good.

My little chicks are comfortable...sitting in the LR, stove and heat lamp keeping them steady at 90* (this is their 2nd week!!)
The liquid poo, has eased. Thank God! We are so pleased to see those little chicks, hear their chirping and watch them grow. It is a comforting sound, and one that the whole family has taken an interest in! We've begun to call the parsonage "The Rev.'s Farm!" Who knew this city boy of mine would love the country as much as I?

Also placed a picture of one of the crop dusters over the church.

Y'all Come
The Parson's Wife


  1. That was nice! I enjoyed reading about your experiences growing up in a pastor's home. What a difference from the pastor's home I grew up in in Queens, NY! Hope you have a great weekend. And yes, my father believed in the same thing, when the doors to church are open we were there!

  2. I find myself doing the same thing with my children, it's amazing how we repeat our parents!
    I have never been to NY, though I want too. Someday, I want the whole family to travel to NY, NY and view the sights! I would love to hear about your days in Queens, city (not just towns like we knew) I cannot hardly fathom!

  3. This was so very interesting. My daddy taught Sunday School for years before becoming a preacher so we were in church every time the doors were opened. A lot of your remembrances are also mine.

    May I suggest that you keep a journal of sorts of these writings for your children?

    Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving your comment. It's wonderful to have a new friend, and from my home state too!