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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Community Comment

Evening reverie, June 9, 2008

Good evening, Everyone...

There are many aspects of my life that most members of the younger generation will never understand, such as the incredible awe at hearing Janis Joplin perform live in San Francisco, of the adrenalin rush of pre-NEXRAD weather radar days of chasing tornadoes across the Great Plains and, as a result, saving lives or seeing pre-Katrina New Orleans shining like a rare diadem in the galaxy during Mardi Gras. I admit I have been blessed with some of the finest experiences that a wandering vagabond could ever ask to undergo, and yet some of the memories that stick with me and I feel become part of my character were, for the most part, simple things in life.

The simplest pleasures, drinking spring water out of a hand-pump in the kitchen each day, a warm crackling fire in a pot-bellied stove on a snowy winter's night, and yes, an outhouse well-stocked with the latest copies of various farm-related, humor and various other reading material suitable for reading by lantern light on a cool summer's night. I am probably a member of the last generation that will have used an outhouse; in fact, most members of the next generation may never have seen one of these utilitarian devices, and thus never will know the aspects of life in the country they may have missed entirely.

Tonight's picture, of an outhouse near Crabapple Lake, Washington (courtesy of Wikipedia), with its wafer board walls and a fiberglass ceiling really doesn't do the image of an old outhouse justice. There are things, important things that are simply missing in the picture. Any self-respecting farmer or other person living on the land far from the city lights would never have such a woefully-understocked outhouse, for it must have suitable, trenchant reading material and a can of wasp and bee repellent at a minimum. The former, of course, is for ones continuing education which must progress onward, even in times when nature calls. The latter is for necessity.

Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.