To Know Me Is To Know My Family: (#18) The Septic Shoe or My Little Brother gets the Boot into the Septic Tank

The Septic Shoe


My Little Brother gets the Boot into the Septic Tank

After the war we had moved to the state of Washington. Times were hard and it was very difficult for a service man to get a job. So here is a little story about my brother and sisters on the farm.

It was a family tradition to gather together on Sundays after Church at Grandma and Grandpa Elhardt’s house where we would enjoy lunch and have fun with our cousins, Uncles and Aunts. We always looked forward to these special times. Lunch was always delicious and there was plenty for all of us. The menu usually consisted of Borsch Soup, homemade bread, cooked on a wood burning stove, churned butter from our cow and plenty of fresh vegetables from the garden. Makes my mouth water and yearn for the taste of that home cooking.

On this particular day my sister Alanna and my brother Henry were playing very close to the septic tank. It was open and being drained. In the course of play, Henry’s shoe fell off and swiftly slipped into the open septic tank. What a dilemma this would be. In our family, shoes were to be a commodity that was reverend. Each of us received one pair of brown shoes which we wore until they either got much too small or just plain worn out. We were reminded of the importance and the value of our shoes. We were taught to always know where our shoes were and to make sure we took very good care of them.

Picture shows from left to right Janice, Henry and Alanna

My siblings had one of our teachings under control. They knew where Henry’s shoe was at. But if not retrieved, obviously the later rule was sure to be a sore topic. Henry and Alanna, certainly did not want to bring this problem to my parents, so they talked it over and came to the conclusion that they had but one choice to make. The only natural course of action in their minds was to have Henry dangle over the edge of the septic tank and lowered into the side to collect the shoe. Alanna’s duty was to hold onto Henry’s ankles with all her might and not let go. With this plan in mind, Henry laid on his tummy staring over the edge. His tummy felt queasy, whether this was due to him being anxious or the mere site of what he was about to venture into was uncertain. Using his hands, Henry crept over the side of the septic tank, all the while Alanna was holding on to him for dear life.  Looking down into this vast hole of unpleasant smells, their task was not an easy one, but none the less, one that must be done with great bravery and stick-to-it-ness. After hard work and with great success they accomplished their feat.  Moral of the story……. No harm, no foul!

For the next posts I will be posting little stories about the kids on the farm and what farm life was all about for our family. They may not be in order to date as I post as I get the stories. But will consist of stories that happen up to 1951

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