Outdoor biffies: Memories made here

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By Jack Bickel

In the tent during the recent Days of 1910 celebration I found myself in a conversation about the “good old days” with several longtime friends of my generation. I’m sure to anyone sitting close to us we sounded wistfully nostalgic recalling the bygone times of our youth when life seemed much less complicated. Just about the time we were ready to abandon our cell phones and seek a simpler life, someone in our group stated, “Those were some great times alright, but I sure don’t miss putting my parka, mittens, and overshoes on over my pajamas for that cold nighttime walk across the snowbanks to the outhouse!” Groans and grimaces followed that statement. It changed the course of conversation too. Seems we all had lived in homes that hadn’t been “modernized” until we were at least nine or ten or even older. And the various country grade schools we attended never were updated to “indoor plumbing.” The outdoor facilities we reminisced about have been called quite a few different names other than “outhouse.” I’ve heard of privy, the office, biffy, outside throne room, the can, little house on the prairie, and several other terms much less charming.

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