Y'all come on in!

Y'all come on in!

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Little White House...

This morning I was looking out the kitchen window at a couple of young squirrels playing chase around the trunk of our old hackberry tree. I wondered how many stories that old tree could tell if it could talk. It was a big tree when we bought this place almost forty years ago so it's been around for a long time.

Had it been planted to someday provide shade for a little white house sitting out there at the back of the lot because when it was a baby tree, not everyone could afford indoor plumbing? As much as I sometimes wish I could crawl into a time machine and go back to that slow, southern life style of the eighteen hundreds, I sure wouldn't want to stay very long because I do love indoor plumbing.

However there were benefits of that era. No one had to stand outside in the cold with their legs crossed and doing a tap dance while they waited because a person did not tarry long once they got inside. There was no central heat and air and that little moon provided both ventilation and light. Jogging was invented because a person had to get back to the house to wash their hands.

There was no need to put a magazine rack in the little house because a person only had so much lung power and that was never enough to read a whole article. Folks learned early to take a big gulp of air before opening the day and to pray that they didn't have to inhale again until they were jogging back to the house to wash their hands.

It was not an absolutely waste of time. The entire inside was wallpapered in old newspapers and folks training for a walk on the bottom of the ocean (see previous paragraph about holding your breath) could read the latest news concerning the Dalton gang's latest bank robbery. Or if they turned their gaze to the other side of the place they could read all about the newest medicine in a bottle, guaranteed to cure everything from the seven year itch to ingrown toe nails. It might taste like warmed over sin but hey, it couldn't be worse than the eau de toilette in the little white house.

I've heard a story about Great Aunt Rosie's second husband. The first one died from what the coroner called an acute case of ear problems brought on by severe nagging. The second one did not read the death certificate until after they were married--bless his heart. Now this second one had a little more backbone than number one and when Aunt Rosie went to pitching a hissy for an indoor bathroom, he stood his ground and told her that it was not happening. She already had the prettiest toilet in the whole county. It had two holes and roses planted all around the outside and he'd even put a couple of nice seats that had lids on them over the holes.

It was winter time and the children decided they'd play a prank on Uncle Henry (That's number two. Uncle Herman was number one. She had some throw pillows that she'd embroidered with the letter H so she bypassed Cyrus and Vernon when she was looking for a new husband.) So back to the story: the kids in the neighborhood were building a snow man between the house and the toilet and about the time of the morning when he made his way down the path, they smeared a thin film of glue on both toilet seats. It said right on the bottle that it would dry in ten minutes and was guaranteed to stick for life.

Aunt Rosie missed him about noon when he didn't come to the table for lunch. He loved her chicken and dumplings and nothing ever kept him from being right there when she put them on the table. She went to lamenting, figuring that he'd done dropped dead in some neighbor's yard, and throwing herself a first rate bawling fit. After all there weren't many widowers with a first name beginning with the letter H left in the county. When he wasn't there at twelve fifteen, she just went on and called the undertaker and picked out a suit for him to be buried in.

In the middle of all the hullabaloo, what with the neighbors already bringing covered dishes of food to the house (they kept them ready in the freezer just in case because nobody wanted to be the last one to bring in food to a mourning family), she had to make a run to the outhouse. She found Uncle Henry sitting there, teeth chattering, blue from the cold and unable to utter a single word, bless his heart. They had to get a pair of pliers and take the toilet seat to the house with him since that glue lived up to its claim. But some smart kid who'd accompanied his granny to the house knew what to do to separate Uncle Henry from the toilet seat and by supper time he was able to partake a little of Aunt Rosie's dumplings and several of the dishes the kind folks had brought to the house in case he was dead.

The undertaker was one happy man because he didn't know how in the world he was going to get a suit on Uncle Henry with that toilet seat stuck to his backside. Uncle Henry's sister was really glad because she wasn't sure he could get into heaven in that condition. But the preacher was more than a little miffed. He'd already started preparing the funeral sermon and now it would be wasted.

Aunt Rosie figured her nagging had finally worked because the next day Uncle Henry called a local contractor and told him to come on to the house and put an indoor bathroom at the top of the stairs. He didn't mind giving up a bedroom for it but he did want a lock on the door and a magazine rack on the right side of the potty.

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