Snake in the Outhouse

Our “little house out back,” better known as the “Jones house,” where we would say we were “going to visit the Joneses,” had a star on the back and a little moon over the door. My oldest sister always seemed to get the calling to “visit the Joneses” right after a meal, when dishes were to be done. She still has that habit. We did find out why she stayed in there so long. She found mom’s “forbidden-for-us-to-read” true romances. We got her to do a few things for us by threatening to tell on her.

Our outhouse didn’t have a cement base. When the pit was full, dad would dig a new pit someplace else and move the outhouse. He used the dirt from the new pit to fill in the old one. This was the time the outhouse was repaired and painted.

I remember hearing my older “romance-reading” sister screaming at the top of her voice. Mother and all of us kids ran out, just sure she had fallen in the pit, only to find her standing on the seat. On the floor was a large bull snake. She had been so engrossed in the true romance that she didn’t see the snake crawl in. When it touched her bare feet, the forbidden book was dropped. Mother killed the snake with a hoe, and needless to say we couldn’t blackmail our sister with the romance magazine any more. 

Cleda Baker
Caldwell, Kansas

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.