Strix the harbinger
guards the exit gate, quizzing all
Who will pass this night?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Addendum

Growing up in Clarks Grove involved some traditions. Halloween was a time for hell-raising and even mild maliciousness. One of the things that was required was the burning of an outhouse in the center of the main intersection. For a couple of weeks before Halloween the rural farms were scouted and locations noted. By that time the biffies were not in use. The farmers were glad to get rid of them and they would put the word out. They saved them for us. Eventually it got tougher and tougher as every year there were fewer and fewer outhouses. Another problem was Gene Otterson, an overly aggressive town cop. He was a little man with a big badge. And for Christ's sake he wore a revolver on his hip. Who the hell was he going to shoot? We didn't even have speeders. Nevertheless, he took it as a personal offensive that anyone would burn an outhouse in HIS town.

One year there was a large number of young hooligans (including myself) milling around the area of the intersection. Gene was in his car keeping an eye on us and generally guarding the intersection. A red '55 Chevy pickup came slowly up the street from the east. It was Everett Jensen, and he had an outhouse tied upright in the box. He slowly drove to the crossroad, hesitated, then signaled and turned left. He slowly drove north out of town, followed by Gene. Then quickly joined by a caravan of cars full of teenagers. It was a slow motion chase. It had to be, because going around the section and back to town was only four miles, and those of us left in town had work to do. We had to get the other outhouse unloaded, set up and soaked with gasoline.  The caravan finally crested the hill, coming into town from the west. Ev pulled over to the side to let Gene pass and really appreciate his view of the pending bonfire. When he got close they touched it off. That sucker was so soaked with gasoline it half exploded as it lit up the intersection. Malicious mischief.

4 comments:

Margadant said...

You cleaned it up a bit, but this is the true essense of Halloween.

Gunnar Berg said...

I chose not to mention the following year when the annual outhouse was dealt with with dynamite. Cablooie!
Or partially disassembling a farm wagon and reassembling it on top of a small barn.

Baja Charlie said...

Classic stuff....please keep em coming!

Gunnar Berg said...

Hi Chuck, how's it going down in Baja? Beer and fish again this year? See you next summer.