The View from the Mountains: Protecting my fanny from the rooster
By Jean Brody
My family had started reminding me I am the oldest member of the family alive and that I know family things probably nobody else does.
This has put a certain responsibility on my conscience to talk about some relatives now passed who were unknown to living family members of today.
This brings me to first, and quickly, to my dad’s parents, Granny and Granddaddy Pete. I adored them.
They were poor, simple south Georgia people. They lived in Naylor, Georgia, in a shotgun-type house that Granddaddy Pete built. It consisted of three small bedrooms on the left side of the front door and a parlor, dining area, and crude kitchen on the right side of the door.
It’s what south Georgians called a shotgun house because you could stand in the front door and shoot a gun clean through the center hall and out the back door.
There was a front porch where they spent most of their time since they had no fan or air conditioners. Then there was a back porch where they did their personal bathing in a washtub. With the aid of wringer washer, Granny Pete did the family laundry. What is missing in this setting? There was no bathroom.
Granddaddy Pete could really care less and somehow “made do” out back of the chicken yard. However, little Granny Pete hated this arrangement.
After their fourth baby, she could not longer keep up with it all and begged her husband to build an outhouse out back.
Tired of her griping and between his work on their Turpentine farm some miles away, he erected what he considered an adequate family outhouse.
There was just one problem in this project — no, two problems. Number one was he built this little outhouse in the free-range chicken yard, and worse yet he decided it did not need a back to it.
Here comes a true story of a visit my parents, my little brother and I made to see them. We were told by Granddaddy Pete we were to enjoy the addition of their fancy new bathroom out back.
It was a 300 mile drive from our winter home in Atlanta to Naylor. By the time we got there, and because my Daddy never liked to stop to use roadside “pee stops,” I was about to pop.
Granny Pete proudly led my mother and me to the outhouse. Both mother and myself went inside and she quickly helped be get up on the new seat and stepped outside to give me the privacy a 4 year old thinks she needs.
Now, living among the hens was a mean old rooster. He had a new purpose in life, once he discovered there was no back to the outhouse.
Apparently every time a person went in to “do their business,” the rude old rooster made a beeline for the back of the outhouse and started pecking the daylights out of every fanny hanging from that hole. And my little fanny was no exception.
I mean that nasty old rooster pecked and pecked me. It not only hurt but scared the bejeebers out of me.
I screamed and my mother ran back inside to rescue me from whatever had befallen her little girl. What she found was me now standing on the wooden seat looking down the hole, there she saw that rooster dancing a jig and trying his best to peck me yet again.
With all my determination, I declared I was never using again Granddaddy Pete’s new bathroom. My mother agreed and said she wasn’t sticking her fanny in the hole as long as that rooster could get back there or until Granddaddy Pete added a back wall to it.
We did not go to visit them too often after that. Their lifestyle was far different from ours, especially for my sweet mother. Later on, my dad gave them a Magic Chef stove and even had a builder come and build a real bathroom off the back porch. This pleased Granny Pete, but to my knowledge, Granddaddy Pete preferred his outhouse with no back wall.
I will continue my family stories next week.
The view from the mountain is wondrous.
Jean Brody is a passionate animal lover and mother. She previously lived in Winchester, but now resides in Littleton, Colorado. Her column has appeared in the Sun for more than 25 years.