Firing from the Lip

A collection of thoughts, stories, tall tales, half truths and opinions from the Heartland of America.

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Location: Missouri, United States

An irreverent but loving grandfather of five and father of three, I enjoy writing of family, love, life, and the never ending fascination of it all.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

'Grandpa's Outhouse'

Grandpa Lindsey had an outhouse, and every Halloween it would get tipped over as a prank. Grandpa saw nothing funny about it! He was ready to cut loose with a load of rock salt into the kids behinds if he ever caught them.
He tried everything to keep that privy upright. Stayed up and kept watch, put the dog out, you name it he tried it, to no avail. "Those dang kids! I'd like to tan their hides!' I thought the whole thing was funny as all get out but I sure didn't let grandpa know that!
Dad would just sit there and listen to the old fellow. 'Yes sir, Mr. Lindsey! Sure is a shame. Doggone kids got no respect, and that's a fact.' Grandpa would grumble 'I got my shotgun by the door, Chimp. A dose of rock salt oughtta calm those little hellions down!' 'Yes sir! That should do the trick.' Pop laughed.
The next morning poor grandpa called, and asked Dad to come help him set his outhouse back up. He was mad as a hornet! 'I must have dozed off, and around ten I heard a thud.' 'They was gone by the time I found my glasses.' 'Decent kids should be abed at that late an hour!' My dad was sure trying hard not to laugh. But as he lifted that outhouse off the ground I could see those big, old shoulders shaking. He sure didn't let grandpa see him.'Chimp! Take me to Pirtle's Hardware! 'I'll show em', yes sir, I got me an idea that will fix their little red wagons!' We hopped in Pops old 56' Chevy pickup and off we went. Gramps bought eye bolts, clamps, guide wire, and several bags of quick mix cement. He was gonna' tie that sucker down!
Mr. Pirtle grinned as grandpa piled his stuff on the counter. 'Kids still knocking your privy over, Marvin?' Pop chuckled, and grandpa stared. I just bit my lip and tried hard not to laugh.
After grandpa got himself 'supplied up' as he put it, we shot back to the house and he called Uncle Jim on the phone. 'James Davis? Are you busy? I'd like you to help me and Chimp set my outhouse.' 'Why sure, Mr. Lindsey! I'd be glad to help!'
Well, my daddy and Uncle Jim, under gramps' watchful eye, spent the rest of the day digging post holes, installing eye bolts, and stringing cable. They'd put pipe sleeves in the post holes and filled them with cement. That old outhouse was tied down tight. Gramps' cackled and said 'knock her down now, boys!' He sure was proud of himself.
All was well that first night, and grandpa had his morning coffee on the back porch. Watching the glow of the rising sun reflect off his shiny, new outhouse cables.
I stayed the next night at grandpa's house. Pop drove me over and dropped me off. 'You be good, son. I'll see you in the morning.' 'I will, Pop. See you then.' My old dad sat in his truck til' I'd reached the door, then pulled off with a smile and a wave.
Along about nine, as we got ready for bed, we heard a loud thump from behind the house. 'No! It can't be!' Grandpa yelled, and ran to the door. Sure enough, there lay his outhouse, door open to the sky, with it's shiny, new cables lying limp around it. 'Damn kids!' Grabbing his shotgun, grandpa shot out the door determined to administer a little down home punishment on their behinds with his load of rock salt.
That's when things really went downhill fast for the old man. Not only had those 'mean kids' knocked it over, but they'd pulled it up the hill, and thrown a dark, wool blanket over the hole. Well, gramps found that blanket, and as he fell in he pulled both triggers and that old shotgun roared into the night! Every light for blocks around came on, and every dog with an ounce of self respect started barking and howling furiously!
My old grandpa was kicking and screaming, and threatening to shoot anyone and anything in sight as he pulled himself out of that hole!
I was fit to be tied! I'd never seen anything this funny in my life! Grandpa is yelling, 'take that damn flashlight and look around, boy!' 'Find em'! You hear me? Find em'!' I walked to the alley, grin getting wider with every step, as the old man raged and fumed behind me.
I was about to turn around to go back to the house when I heard a stifled laugh! It was coming from the culvert across the alley! Well, I headed that way, and as I got near I could hear 'shh, shh, they'll hear us' followed by hysterical giggling!
Shining the light into the culvert, I got a shock! There, lying down trying to hide, was my Dad and my Uncle Jim! Pop saw me, and waved his hand back and forth, for me to keep quiet. As he and Jim giggled and shook, I almost busted out laughing. That would have given them away for sure!
They'd spent the whole previous day working their butts off. Digging and tying that old outhouse down, just to sneak out in the dark and turn it over.
'Do you see anybody, boy?' Grandpa yelled. I looked down at my Dad and my Uncle, laughing so hard they were in tears, and called back 'No sir, nobody's up this way anyhow!'
Grandpa gave up after this, and Dad installed indoor plumbing for him. I'll never forget what my grandfather said after Dad had tightened the last bolts on his shiny new commode. 'Well, what do you think Mr. Lindsey?' 'My luck Chimp, some fool will knock it over.' My Dad laughed, and, blue eyes twinkling, winked at me.
My grandpa never found out the truth about that night. And sometimes, as he'd tell the story and everyone laughed, my Dad, my wonderful, fun, Uncle Jim and I would look at each other and smile.
Seeing the fun, playful, sides, of my big, hardworking Uncle and father only made me love them more.


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