Outhouse, Route 66


We were on another of our many trips to California, travelling across the southwest states along Route 66. We always visited the Grand Canyon north of Flagstaff on our trips


On that route are many long stretches of desert. The only places to get gas and something to eat are Anishinabe souvenir shops, miles apart.


Those stops did not have modern facilities when we were on this trip. You went to the bathroom in an outhouse.


I heard a story about one shop owner who found his own peculiar desert entertainment.


His outhouse was a two-seater. He rigged up a speaker and placed it under the seat, then recorded a message that said: “Move over please. I’m working under this one.”


A car would come. The couple would order, and the lady would go to the outhouse. The owner gave her time, then pressed a button to make the speaker talk.


His entertainment was watching the women come flying out of the outhouse.


Funny, but naughty!


After hearing this story I talked to the others in the car as we continued on about the outhouse we had on the farm, and the outhouses most homes in Winkler still used.


“Back then one night, we returned to the farm from town,” I began.


“Walking past the outhouse from the car to the house, we heard rustling. There was an animal in the outhouse!”


What to do? My Dad was clever. He drove the car to a place where the headlight beam shone into the outhouse, the door having been left open. There was a skunk, milling about as if he owned it. But when the beam of light came on, the skunk followed it out. Dad turned off the car lights and the skunk shuffled off in the dark into the bush, leaving no scent behind.


In Winkler, Halloween meant trouble for outhouses. The bigger bad boys in town would push them over, leaving holes exposed. We never heard of anyone falling in.


Outhouses are a novelty now, tiny sentinels of relief at campsites where park organizations have not yet built modern bathrooms.


We continued our journey, 105 miles to Flagstaff, a sign back there said. After another rest stop we turned north toward the Grand Canyon.











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