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the outhouse

We had a big storm come through this past weekend that brought down a few trees in the area. The 60 mph winds rearranged the chairs on our back porch, bent our pergola and blew over the outhouse.


No, we don’t carry a lantern out in the middle of the night to use it (we have a little bathroom off the kitchen in the farmhouse), but the little wooden outhouse that has been standing on the hill near the big windmill for the past eighteen years holds some special memories for me. Mostly of how it got here and what it was used for for the first few years.

If in reading my blog and the stories I’ve shared for the last nearly dozen years or so, you haven’t figured out, my wife Joey was a little unusual. She was as pretty as they come and blessed with not only an angelic voice, she had the gift of common sense, and most of the time, it overrode everything else. So she wasn’t one who wanted many of the fancy things or frills most girls want for their homes. For her, it was all about being practical.

When Valentine's day or Christmas came around, her dream gifts were cookbooks and garden tools. Things she could use to make her and our lives better. And so in September 2005, when her 30th birthday rolled around, I knew just what to get her. An outhouse.

I had a friend who’d recently bought some land in Nolensville who mentioned that it had an old outhouse on the property, overgrown and out of use for decades, and he said he’d let me have it for not much more than the cost of hauling it out of there. So one morning, a neighbor boy and I hooked the trailer behind my truck and commenced to go birthday shopping.

A few hours later, while Joey was still working at the horse-vet clinic, I pulled into the yard with her present on the back of a trailer. A good power-washing later, and all it needed was a few balloons.

I can’t tell you how happy Joey was when she got home and found her gift.

In time, it would find its way to the hilltop beside the windmill and become her ‘potting shed’ instead of the ‘potty shed’ it had been. That’s of course, what I knew she needed and would use it for. A place to hold her gardening tools, clay pots, seeds, and bags of soil. And she used it for years until we converted half of our chicken coop into the garden shed that we still have now.

And there it has stood since then. Aging and leaning here and there. And getting blown over a time or two through the years. And so as I thought about standing it up one more time… I decided, ‘enough is enough.’ I’m gonna move it to a better spot. Somewhere where the wind will have a harder time getting hold of it, and maybe just maybe, somewhere down the line it’ll find a new purpose. Who knows, even get used for its old, original purpose.

And so a couple of days ago, we moved it to the back of our farm…

To a spot next to the tree line by the pond…

A spot where I’m hoping (where Joey and I always had hoped together) to one day build a little rustic cabin. A place to write. To be quiet, to, well… just ‘be.’ It might not even have running water or electricity. So… when you have to go… we’ll be all set.

Of course, there would need to be some hole-digging required by then, and who knows, running water may find its way to the cabin and we may not need the outhouse as an outhouse. But even then, I think it will have a purpose. I may carry some garden tools out there and a few seeds and pots and keep a little cabin garden. And hang a little sign on it that says “potting shed’ once again.



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