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The Throne

By Tom Poland

web posted February 5, 2016
LIFE DOWN SOUTH-- You’ll find this outhouse, vestige of the past, on a Chesterfield County farm. A most reliable place of meditation, the outhouse never leaks; needs no plumber. Winds drift between boards; needs no exhaust fan. Bleached by beams of sunlight, it needs neither Lysol nor Clorox. In fact, it gives folks a breath of fresh air courtesy of a walk outside. For real … a trot in winter … a languid promenade, perchance, during the rise of Sirius.

The throne conjures up the “wish book” myth. Georgia writer Harry Crews knew better. “In the minds of most people, the Sears, Roebuck catalogue is a kind of low joke associated with outhouses. God knows the catalogue sometimes ended up in the outhouse, but more often it did not.” Indeed, it didn’t. The catalogue’s nonabsorbent, coated stock caused problems. Corncobs sufficed.

New wood reveals how sunlight has burned a shadow around its seat. Simple, elegant even, this throne stands among the forbears of colorless, portable toilets, aka portalets, “relief centers” for construction sites and festivals.

In olden days, vanquished land of olden ways, people depended on smokehouses at one end, outhouses on the other. Victim to water closets, and later indoor plumbing, some privies endure.

Narrative by Tom Poland, Photo by Robert Clark







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