Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

May 9, 2012

Fond memories of six rooms and a path

By Keith Kappes - Publisher

May 9, 2012 — Two country music performers, Bobby Bare and Billy Edd Wheeler, made lots of money several years ago with a cute little song about outhouses.

Entitled “Ode to The Little Brown Shack Out Back,” the song is a funny ditty about the memories many of us have of growing up without indoor plumbing. You can find it on YouTube.

The first verse goes like this:

They passed an ordinance in the town they said we'd have to tear it down,

That little old shack out back so dear to me.

Though the health department said its day was over and dead,

It will stand forever in my memory.

The chorus becomes a plea for leniency against demolition of his boyhood outhouse:

Don't let them tear that little brown building down.

Don't let them tear that precious building down.

Don't let them tear that dear old building down.

There's not another like it in the country or the town.

The second verse speaks of fond memories of visits to the little building.

It was not so long ago that I went tripping through the snow,

Out to that house behind my old hound dog.

Where I would sit me down to rest like a snowbird on his nest,

And I'd read that Sears and Roebuck catalog.

The third verse injects more humor into the remembrance of things past.

Oh I would hum a happy tune, peeping through the quarter moon,

As my daddy's kin had done so much before.

It was in that quiet spot daily cares could be forgot,

And it gave the same relief to rich and poor.

The fourth verse speaks of daydreaming and creature comforts.

Now it was not a castle fair but I could dream of future there,

Build my castle to the yellow jackets drone.

I could orbit round the sun, fight with General Washington,

Or be a king upon a golden throne.

And the final stanza ends with a protest against pay toilets, all in good fun.

It wasn't fancy built at all, we had newspapers on the wall.

It was air-conditioned in the wintertime.

Oh it was just a humble hut but its door was never shut,

And a man could get inside without a dime.

I wonder why they never had a verse about why some folks had a two-holer.

Come to think of it, why would you want to share that particular experience, especially in hot weather?

Sears and Roebuck stopped printing catalogs on that slick paper. That could be another reason we never see homes advertised with six rooms and a path.