... Walt Tornquist, has been gone for almost three decades. He lived on the other side of the mountain behind our farm near McCleary. We first met him in the 1960s. For some reason his dogs or livestock would frequently go missing, and we had a chance to visit with him when he showed up at our place in the course of his search. I remember Walt as a cheerful and outgoing fellow.
Apparently his "retirement" job was working as a guard up at the Crowbar
Hotel in Shelton, and while putting in those lonely hours in the guard
tower he would write poetry. In 1976 this work was collected in a
self-published book called Sunshine and Shadows. Walt wrote poems about family, friends, his job, local history, his conservative Democrat political and social views.
Anyway, here's a poem by Walt that I would love to hear recited out loud
with great gravity and seriousness by someone like John Houseman, John
Gielgud, or James Earl Jones:
Have you grown up
Since modern plumbing came to stay?
If this is the case
You have missed the dear old privy days.
The privy in the old days
Was quite awkward at its best,
But the end product and satisfaction
Took care of all the rest.
A three-holer in the old days
Was a swanky exclusive retreat
And the old Sears Roebuck catalogue
Handled its part of the job real neat.
There was a large supply of drawbacks,
In the summer when the flies were thick
And in the winter when the ice and snow
Made the trail to the outhouse slick.
But this was pioneering,
And a trip when the wind blew hard and cold
Was a record breaking performance
Whether you were young, middle-aged or old.
I miss the dear old out house
Half hidden behind the old apple tree
Where old fashioned red and white roses
Were as fragrant as they could be.
But this is what they call progress
And sanitation thrown in to boot,
I still have a soft spot for the old privy,
I guess I'm sort of a coot!
Washtucna Stopping Typhoid at the Outhouse