www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

On with the prom -4/15/2014, 8:57 AM

Newman proud to be in western Kansas -4/14/2014, 8:57 AM

Waiting on revenue estimates -4/13/2014, 8:57 AM

Wake up, people, and see the danger we’re in -4/13/2014, 12:03 PM

Patronizing paychecks -4/13/2014, 12:03 PM

Stripping of teachers’ due process worrisome -4/13/2014, 6:11 AM

The Kansas Ministry of Truth -4/13/2014, 6:14 AM

Letterman, Hillary and Jeb: 21st Century symbols -4/13/2014, 6:10 AM

Expensive school bill -4/13/2014, 6:12 AM

How to assist evil -4/11/2014, 9:15 AM

Taxing life away -4/11/2014, 9:12 AM

Lying about Obamacare -4/11/2014, 9:17 AM

The talk radio party? -4/10/2014, 11:04 AM

Term limits -4/10/2014, 11:06 AM

Let's do what we do best -4/10/2014, 11:05 AM

Satisfying the court -4/9/2014, 10:45 AM

Late-night funding fight -4/9/2014, 10:44 AM

‘Farmland’ — art is life on screen -4/9/2014, 10:45 AM

Tradition not changing -4/8/2014, 12:02 PM

Flat as a pancake -4/8/2014, 11:22 AM

Willing to take a bet -4/8/2014, 11:24 AM

Exposure to violence threatens children’s future -4/8/2014, 11:23 AM

Battling MS -4/7/2014, 8:58 AM

Why Renewable Fuel Standard matters -4/7/2014, 9:23 AM

Rites and wrongs of spring -4/7/2014, 9:23 AM

Coming to terms with Brownback -4/6/2014, 2:11 PM

Are 'religious viewpoint' laws needed in schools? -4/6/2014, 2:11 PM

School non-funding -4/6/2014, 2:11 PM

Sex and race equality -4/4/2014, 8:08 AM

Rest of the story -4/4/2014, 8:08 AM

Bank on USPS to save 'bank deserts' -4/4/2014, 8:08 AM

Gambling and government -4/3/2014, 9:51 AM

Not merely water under the bridge -4/3/2014, 9:51 AM

Federal fine -4/3/2014, 9:51 AM

Twister time is here again -4/2/2014, 9:59 AM

School funding battle continues -4/2/2014, 9:59 AM

Watching for the flip-floppers -4/1/2014, 10:09 AM

Will Hays enter the 21st century? -4/1/2014, 10:09 AM

Tax breaks -4/1/2014, 10:09 AM

Hobby Lobby case a slippery slope -3/31/2014, 9:16 AM

Happy birthday, Gloria -3/31/2014, 9:16 AM

Unequal voting -3/30/2014, 11:37 AM

Protecting the pollinators -3/30/2014, 11:37 AM

Parties, politicians and seeking an advantage -3/30/2014, 11:37 AM

Healthy aging -3/30/2014, 11:37 AM

Threatened chicken -3/30/2014, 11:37 AM

As temperatures rise, pay attention to stored grain -3/30/2014, 3:49 PM

Bizarre arguments and behavior -3/28/2014, 10:06 AM

In your dreams -3/28/2014, 10:06 AM

Against the wind -3/28/2014, 10:05 AM

Discovering the salt of the earth -3/28/2014, 10:05 AM

Entrepreneurship key to economic growth -3/27/2014, 8:36 AM

Kansas goes Kremlin with arrests, secrecy -3/27/2014, 8:36 AM

Get ready for Arbor Day -3/26/2014, 2:03 PM

Reading between the lines -3/26/2014, 2:02 PM

Switching parties -3/26/2014, 1:53 PM

Putting a price tag on damages -3/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Privately piercing, serious sacrifice -3/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Autism bill passes House -3/25/2014, 10:13 AM

United stance -3/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Legislative session getting down to the end -3/25/2014, 10:12 AM

Taxation bill involving livestock successful -3/25/2014, 10:12 AM

STARBASE Day hits Topeka -3/24/2014, 10:13 AM

Judging based on accomplishments -3/24/2014, 10:14 AM

Who speaks for the voiceless? -3/24/2014, 10:14 AM

Fly Hays -3/23/2014, 1:12 PM

Learning from the candidates -3/23/2014, 1:12 PM

hedy -3/21/2014, 1:12 PM

-3/20/2014, 9:59 AM

Fred Phelps -3/20/2014, 9:59 AM

Is There Wage Stagnation? -3/20/2014, 9:58 AM

Cost of living, wages don't add up -3/20/2014, 4:01 PM

Legislative proposal raises questions -3/20/2014, 4:01 PM

No vote on war -3/19/2014, 3:32 PM

Wonder of St. Fidelis -3/19/2014, 4:01 PM

Protein for breakfast -3/19/2014, 2:58 PM

A pointed comment on guns -3/19/2014, 8:57 AM

Campaign madness -3/19/2014, 2:58 PM

Counting the cost of Kansas' Medicaid expansion -3/18/2014, 9:26 AM

Tax-relief spells a sure vote -3/18/2014, 9:26 AM

Tourney madness -3/18/2014, 9:25 AM

St. Patrick's Day -- The value of Irish humor -3/16/2014, 5:44 PM

Not all things are bad -3/16/2014, 5:44 PM

Supreme Court takes Legislature to school -3/16/2014, 5:43 PM

Parochial education -3/16/2014, 5:43 PM

Governed by rules, not men -3/14/2014, 10:00 AM

More guns: Merrier or scarier? -3/14/2014, 10:00 AM

The war on women -3/13/2014, 9:51 AM

Labeling the education can -3/13/2014, 9:51 AM

Taking exception -3/12/2014, 2:03 PM

Choose wisely in today's society -3/12/2014, 2:02 PM

Budget concerns -3/12/2014, 2:01 PM

Courting judicial changes -3/11/2014, 10:33 AM

House now on home stretch -3/11/2014, 10:33 AM

Value of bitcoins -3/11/2014, 10:33 AM

Medicare trouble brewing -3/11/2014, 10:33 AM

Kansas must change direction to lead -3/11/2014, 10:33 AM

School finance decision brings work -3/11/2014, 10:33 AM

Healing starts with '12 Years a Slave' -3/10/2014, 9:56 AM

Hitting kids for their own good -3/10/2014, 9:56 AM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Flushing away some old-timey mischief

Published on -10/30/2013, 10:10 AM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

When modern flush toilets eliminated the outhouses, it killed a lot of Halloween fun.

There was a time when these 4-by-8-foot wooden buildings stood proudly out behind everyone's home. That also was the era when mischievous youngsters overturned all the outhouses they could find at Halloween time -- whether they were occupied or not.

Luckily for civilization, a wave of political correctness turned Halloween into a genteel evening of mild tricks that now are threatened by cute kids who had been given candy so they wouldn't be mean.

They don't even know the meaning of the word.

Some of us never cared for Halloween. Who can get excited over ugly ghosts and goblins and vampires and skeletons?

For years our parents and their little tots were lured by real devilment but then, fortunately corporate America took over and filled our Halloweens with millions of kiddie costumes and billions of pieces of candy.

Also, our society improved. The power lines were strung all across rural America, so we gained running water, and indoor plumbing eliminated the need for outdoor toilets. Rural residents now had indoor lighting and bath rooms, even though it was only the 1950s.

I can see it now, that old-time scene. The morning after Halloween at Lebanon, we drove past the high school and gasped in amazement at the tableau on the school's front lawn: A cow tied to a tree near the principal's office; a dirty wooden outhouse setting by the front door; rusty farm implements parked here and there; maybe a pumpkin or two.

Truly a view for Norman Rockwell's America.

But outdoor restrooms were the featured event. One year, a neighbor swore that no one would turn over his outhouse. He planted fence posts at the corners and wrapped chains around to hold the little building in place. Then he warned everyone to stay away.

That was a challenge for the high school boys -- and his outhouse was the first to go down.

Thankfully, today's young people probably don't remember their parents' and grandparents' outhouses. These little buildings were equipped with wooden seats into which a large hole and a smaller hole had been cut as toilet seats. Nearby was a Sears & Roebuck catalog which served as toilet paper. Yes, those were the real Good Old Days.

There was some justice back then, too. A couple of Lebanon High School boys sneaked down the alley west of Main Street, pushed over an outhouse and ran away gleefully. They hadn't gone far before the night watchman stepped out of the shadows, stopped them and ordered that they set this building back right side up. That wasn't nearly as much fun.

As with many things in the Good Old Days, the world has progressed and become more civilized, at least for creature comforts. Now we treat the children with candy and they seem to enjoy their loot. That leaves us with a safe and sane Halloween night, and gives us more time to complain about the long shopping period between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Darrel Miller lives near Downs in rural Osborne County and is a retired weekly newspaper editor.

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos