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The GrayStuff Archive!
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ALERT! Boring Old Man Story Follows!
Sub-zero January night on the homestead; step-father had a candle-holder in the outhouse (early & long winter nights!) and a box of wooden ‘strike anywhere’ kitchen matches beside it. Shivering & impatient, he struck a match, lit the candle, and dropped the match down the ‘other’ hole beside him (we had a ‘two-holer’ outhouse).
Within moments he jumped up with a yell, and ran for the house with his pants half down; the outside spigot was frozen, the hose was frozen, and the bucket of water on the porch was frozen.
Alerted by the orange glow coming through the windows, our small family gathered on the porch to watch our outhouse blazing in the winter night. The match had ignited the old catalog pages used for bum-wipe, and that caught the old boards on fire. The outhouse was a total loss.
We did save the "hole," and step-dad put up a temporary shelter the next morning. That weekend he brought a case of beer and two bar buddies from town and a load of scrap lumber he'd scrounged up. It took nearly two days and another two cases of beer, but when Sunday ended, we had a "new" outhouse, looking something like a patchwork quilt with its odd assortment of scrap boards and old sign panels salvaged from the city dump, and it had a bit of a 'list,' a decided lean to the west. But it served the purpose. Step-dad added something new: a coffee can with an inch of water in the bottom sat in the corner of the outhouse, near the bench seat, where he would safely drop his kitchen matches.