As a Multiple Sclerosis patient, it has become necessary for me to reinvent myself. I have ... and continue to ... refuse to lie down and die, or in this case, follow the normally prescribed drugs and treatments that do nothing to defeat my disease. I am not only surviving by pursuing alternatives, I am thriving. I do the things specialists told me I would never be able to do. I walk and hope to one day even run regularly. I retain my cognitive and creative abilities for the pleasure of my readers. Although you may never see me on my daily walk, you are welcome to read my novel(s) and in doing so, come to ask yourself, "How can the 'out of the box' protocol she has followed, help my loved one with an autoimmune disease like Multiple Sclerosis?"


Out of the Ordinary Outhouse


Submitted to Good Old Days 6/15/2014
Byline Jules West (Jules, in case you haven't met her will be my alter ego for timetravel novels in the future - yes, pun intended.) (For my sister whose memories of this outhouse are quite different. Happy birthday sis.)

The Crapper has been long romanticized by Hollywood, but I wonder if the one we had when I was a kid was so unique. The typical Crapper has three walls, a roof to keep the rain and snow off of you and a door on the front that opens to a seat with a hole just the right size for an adult bottom. A roll of toilet paper is optional although my mother insisted on the necessity. Between German stubbornness and Danish ingenuity they came upon a solution. A bucket, by the time I came along an empty paint bucket was nailed securely to a 2x4 and the lumber then nailed to the side of the standard throne. If the roll ran out, the old Montgomery Wards Christmas catalogue sat on the back corner or the wide seat.
Having drawn you that picture, let me describe the reality of my earlier years and our Out of the Ordinary Outhouse. None of the cute little house here. Ours was positioned on the back porch--of an abandoned settler's house. The relatively solidity of the house stood between the crapper seat and the main road, but we lived on the northeast corner of the forty acres with a road on both the north and east side. Enter the efficiency of a Danish farmer long used to making ends meet. Along the north wall my father nailed up what I've come to know as fiber board, which is great at blocking the winter wind-- until ones big brothers get the brainy idea to drill a hole with a stick so as to terrorize their younger sisters while they, the sisters, are tending to necessary business. Those holes never got plugged and after there are about four of them, so as to get the occupant dead center of their back, a gust of winter can nigh freeze your tender backside to a frail pinkish blue.
But I get ahead of myself. I've only mentioned two walls. The west wall runs along a ditch bordered on the other side by a wide field often filled with growing crops, but the beauty of it is that it is not a solid wall. It doesn't reach the rafters overhead nor fully to the ground either. Many a visits I have watched the cats walk through that wall. Now, let's focus on the south wall, the one the occupant stares at while busy at work. Stare because the wall only covers roughly three quarters of the space from east to west leaving the south west corner open to the fresh air. Yep, I'm not lying. One does not visit this unique Crapper without learning how to whistle. Why? One must whistle while traversing the path once you round the corner of the chicken coop so that any occupant can hear you on approach. The occupant's responsibility is to whistle to let the newcomer know that the space is in use. This works well until the first time a young little girl, me, in this case, is startled in the middle of a major "push" to finish the job. I still remember that weak tweet of a dying baby bird. I knew the whistler by the tune he always whistled. My whistle, dead as it was, gave way to an urgent need.
"No! No! Don't come…" At that point I glanced over at the empty paint can to where the trusty roll should have been. Nothing, nada. Not even the empty roll.
I eyed the Christmas catalogue. Keep in mind that the catalogue was my reading, okay, not reading but dreaming book. How could one tear out a glossy page of ones dreams to finish the paper work of a necessary job? In all honesty, I don't remember really finishing that job.
Now, that isn't the end of the story. Remember I mentioned the chicken coop? Chickens attract skunks .One never, seriously, never visited the outhouse in the middle of the night. One could hold it indefinitely on a cold winter evening, thus having the very enjoyable (?) experience of a sleepless night. (My mother refused to have even one chamber pot, no matter how beautiful. They had to be cleaned and no amount of scrubbing refreshed them to a clean enough state for her as a German city girl.)

That being said, we had a herd of cats to keep the field mice in the fields and a dog or two that were kept close to home. As a kid, I never understood the reason until one morning my fragile, little girl bladder had experienced a very long winter night.  Dancing, I pulled on my winter coat and gumboots over my flannel night gown and headed for the Crapper with the cats and dogs along for company. As I rounded the corner of the chicken coop I realized the cats had scattered. This was nothing new as they often did when I passed the scrap bowl. But the dog was growling, and not at me. Let's just say I left a rather obvious trail as I ran from that smelly black and white critter. And the dog? Well, he got left in the cold until a tomato bath could be arranged in the spring.
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