“The Outhouse” by Doug Fincher

June 8, 2020 - The year 1949 is a year I have never forgotten. I was six years old when we moved into a house with my Grandparents about three blocks from The Elementary School in Center, Texas. My Grandparents lived at the back of the house with my Uncles, Billy Gene (“Jink”) and Henry Ford (“Mickey”) and Bill. John, Sissy, and I lived with my parents in the front room.

Since we rented the old house from Mr. Manor, we called it “The Manor House.” The well was located on the back porch, the wash pot was in the back yard and since we didn’t have running water, Bill and I often helped “draw water” from the well. Behind the house down a well-worn path that led to our two-hole-Outhouse, a popular place  for the nine of us that lived at “Manors.”

I had just sat down in the outhouse one day when I heard loud sounds like firecrackers… Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Then I heard men hollering at each other. Suddenly a uniformed Army soldier crashed through the door with a rifle in his hands. When he saw me sitting there, his eyes were as large as a calf looking at a new gate. I was too scared to ask him why he was there, and he didn’t have to ask me why I was. We stared at each other a few seconds before he quickly disappeared outside.

I yanked up my overalls and rushed to tell Mother what happened. She said, “Don’t worry, Hen Doug. That is our American soldiers, The Reds and the Blues, on maneuvers. They’re practicing war for when they have to fight Hitler… they’re not using real bullets.” (WWII had started in Europe but the Japs had not bombed Pearl Harbor).

I’m nearly 87 now, but 1939 I still vividly remember. While at The Manor House, I caught my first fish, got my first shoes, ate my first ice cream, built my first sling shot, drank my first “sodie” water and enrolled in Mrs. Stanley’s First Grade Class. And I have not forgotten the look on that soldier’s face when he saw me in The Outhouse.

And I figure he remembered me, too.