The Slight Chill Makes Me Yarn For Halloween

As I write this Halloween is six weeks away. That was just about all the excitement you had for a whole year. Back when, I once knew a guy who never did anything except swill down nosepaint and polish a bar rail get elected Mayor just on stopping kids from turning outhouses over every Halloween. A one issue election!

‘Course, it was a lot of trouble to turn the darned things back up, particular if you were in a hurry, and if you happens to be inside when it got turned over you sure better hope they didn’t drop the thing on its door. If you had to crawl out through the holes in the seat things could get messy in a hurry.

Anyhow, this Lushington got elected on a promise of stopping kids from turning outhouses over – and next Halloween the loser didn’t let him forget it for one little minute. Lush and his Town Marshall, Sleets, who was called that because nobody could pronounce his name, said they were going to stay up all night and keep watch – and park any kid who turned an outhouse over in the one cell Crossbar Cabin so quick they wouldn’t know what happened to them. And they almost did!

They stayed up all Halloween night watching and not a darned thing happened. About three in the morning they decided they had cowed the kids, so they tried to take a nap huddled up in Joe’s old Rockne sedan parked in front of Town Hall.

All of a sudden they heard a racket that sounded like a horse and wagon. They figured something was up. When they caught the dray they saw the two rowdiest kids in the county, the Cooter twins, driving like they had not a care in the whole wide world, and a big ‘ol backhouse setting up in the wagon bed. The Mayor promptly loaded the Twins up in the back of the car while the Marshall drove the dray to City Hall.

When they got the boys in the Marshalls office, they claimed they had been going home from a play party over on the flats and just happened to find this outhouse sitting in the road. They seen it was their outhouse, so they figured it was their boundin’ duty to load it up and take it home. They said that Granny was liable to need it just any time, and the rest of the Cooters would definatly need it about daylight.

Joe and Sleets ran back outside and looked that privy over close! Moved it up under a street light where they could examine it better. No doubt about it, it was the Cooter outhouse all right! And it wasn’t doing Granny a bit of good sitting there!

After a lot of jaw, Mr. Mayor decided he couldn’t keep the boys from taking their outhouse home, so just before daylight he let them go. Fact is, he and Sleets escorted them to the edge of town and watched them out of sight. They must ha’ gotten the idea at the same time ’cause they turned that old car around in a hurry and raced for the courthouse.

Yup – as dawn turned to full daylight it was clear to everyone that Lush’s outhouse was parked in front of the Spanish American War memorial, and Sleets’ doniker was decorating the Garden Club’s WWI Veterans Memorial Rose Garden. If that cannon had been loaded, sitting on Sleet’s throne would have been hazardous to your health.

You could probably have heard the laughter past Okie City and all the way to Topeka. Even the Garden Club ladies were too busy laughing to be mad.

Joe and Sleets didn’t have a clue about who transplanted t
he privys – except that the Cooter twins were in on it. The two of them stomped around breathing fire for a few days, threatening the twins with life in prison as soon as they could figure out what they could charge them with, but Judge Ross persuaded them there is no law against using your own outhouse as a decoy – particularly when you are decoying a couple of loons.

Now, there were other and better ways to cool down the kids. The next year ‘Ol Hardman, who was all gimped up, decided he was getting too old to turn his privy back rightside up every year.

Hardman had a quarter section in the sand hills, and the house backed up to a wash that was chock full of willows. ‘Course, the privy was between the house and the wash.

About dark Halloween, Hardman cranked his tractor up, dropped a lass rope around the doniker and moved it about ten feet closer to the house. Then he parked the tractor, and went up in the barn loft to wait for developments.

Along about midnight he saw six dark shapes come running out of the wash toward his outhouse! One fell down about twenty feet or so short of the privy, and the other five kinda dropped out of sight about ten feet short of the backhouse’ new parking place.

Next day, Hardman had some business up by the Cooter place.
The Davis’ told him that they heard about his little trick. And they told him that the Cooter boys had picked cotton to get money to buy new boots, and they got brand new twenty dollar hand stitched El Paso boots out of Railway Express yesterday – and they had had to burn their new boots this morning!

Since the twins were into about every bit of meanness that went on, the Davis’ thought that luring them into a cesspit was about the best thing that could have happened to them! The Cooter boys vowed revenge – but before they got around to doing anything the Japs hit Pearl Harbor and the draft hit the Cooters.

You know, this computer can’t spell at all well – and the spell checker will do a lovely job of guessing at what you intended to say and putting exactly the wrong thing down for you.

Now, what brought on all this rumination about proofreading was Teddy Blue, because that is not her name but close, asking me for some hot recipes, when the spell checker changed to recopies. Hot as in gut singeing! Some of the recipes I have put in here should be about hot enough for any reasonable person.

Of course, some folks aren’t nearly reasonable. My Dad had one when he had the restaurant. This brakeman used to get off the train every night and order hot fried oysters. And gripe that they weren’t hot enough. Dad tried everything he could think of. He waited to start cooking them until the fellow got to the door. Served them on a scorching hot plate. Heated the ketchup, which used to be catsup and the spell checker changed to cat suit, till it steamed. Every night they weren’t hot enough.

Finally my Dad took a catsup bottle and filled it with his hot sauce. Boiled down extra hot chiles, red coloring, and a spoonful of vinegar. That night he served the guy oysters as usual. The guy slopped “catsup” in his plate, speared an oyster and rolled it in hot hot “catsup” and then threw it in his mouth, all as usual.

This night the guy rolled that hot oyster around in his mouth for a few seconds, his eyes got real big, and then he spat the oyster back in his plate.

“Blaze, damn you, Blaze.”, he says! As he grabs the water glass, which did not good at all. Butter finally put the fire out, but the dude never complained about “cold food” after that.

Well, lets see if Dads gut warmer is hot enough for you. Take one firmly packed cup of small, fresh, Cayenne t peppers. (Or a cup and a half of canned jalapenos if you can’t find fresh Cayennes ) 3 small cans of tomato sauce, a #2 (medium) can of drained tomatoes, 1 rounded tablespoon pickle spice, 1 rounded tablespoon cayenne pepper, 1 pint of vinegar, 3 medium onions, 1 large clove of garlic.

Put everything but the tomato sauce and vinegar in your blender and blend WELL!!!. Add the sauce, stir well, simmer for 45 minutes in a tightly covered pot, adding 50/50 vinegar and water if you need more fluid.

This is a pretty hot sauce for meat, fish, or fowl, or anything else you want hotted up. Iportant note!!!! use discretion in the amount you use, and to whom. It is somewhat potent!

Dad said that taken regularly it will grow hair on your chest and that would be inconvenient for those among us who need a top on their “bathers”.

Remembering just how hot that sauce was reminds me of Magde, who loved it. Madge was the most accident prone woman I ever saw, so much so her husband took everything sharp away from her.

Now, about ten o’clock one night a tough mug broke out of prison over at McAllister prison, got into town, and found a house with a car in the drive and nobody home. This mug broke in and stole the car keys, two pistols, a five dollar bill the missus kept for emergencies (In the freezer compartment by the ice cube trays – first place a crook will look for cold cash.) and the car keys. Next morning, the car was found near Mountain View, out of gas.

Naturally, the radio station was warning people every breath to stay in, this Con was armed and dangerous, and so on. And naturally, that morning Madge’s husband U – fore Euless but nobody could spell Euless so it came out Ules, had to take some seed to the Cooter place, and left Madge in the kitchen listening to the radio and washing eggs to take to town, when she happened to see a stranger in a striped shirt slip into her outhouse.

She knew it was “armed and dangerous” so what to do?

Home alone. Husband gone for at least an hour, maybe two or even three. No phone, no way to call for help. Well, U kept a can of gas under the kitchen steps. Madge slipped out of the house, real quiet, got the gas, and sneaked up to the privy.

Like most, this one had a door that opened in, so you could open the door and lever the privy up if you were trapped in it and it turned over. And like most privy’s in that country, the latch on the outside to keep the door from banging in the wind.

Madge started pouring gas on the ground in front of the outhouse, and in just a minute she heard boards creak as the convict shifted his weight. She real quick snapped the latch and then she hollered “You in there.”

“I poured gas all around the outhouse, and I latched the door. I know you can smell gas strong as I can. As long as you stay quiet in there nothing will happen. If you try to get out I am going to light this match and set the gas afire.”
W
hat a pickle! If he tried to shoot through the door, he would probably miss and he would be afire in a flash! He might bust the door down, but if he missed her or Madge was standing out of reach, behind the John for instance, he’d be a cinder.

He shifted around and every time a board creaked Madge threatened the match. He finally sat quiet and waited for developments. After more than an hour, with him inside with
his guns, and a woman with a can of gas and a match outside, he could hear a truck pulling up.

He couldn’t see Madge making frantic gestures at U – making like shooting something and pointing at the privy. U knew Madge had something treed – he just didn’t know what!

U pulled his old hogleg out from under the seat and ran to Madge, who explained in whispers that she had “armed and dangerous” latched in the can.

U cocked the old Colt, and hollered “We are going to take the latch off the door. Crack the door and throw your guns out, and then throw all your clothes out after them. Then when we tell you to, you come out backwards, real slow.”

The ‘scapee protested about losing his pants, but a threat of setting the backhouse on fire was enough to persuade him to behave. They searched his pants, then let him come out, buck naked, and then let him put his pants back on. They got him hogtied with baling wire and Madge held the gun on him while U went to town to call the State Troopers to come and get him. Talk about a man glad to go back to prison!

After the Trooper, it was LeRoi LaRue, came out and picked the prisoner up U turned to Madge and said, “Honey, you know I don’t let you keep matches at the house.”

Madge said “Yes, but the man in that privy didn’t know that!”

Well, it is time to get some more work done, and I will never get through if I don’t start.

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