by A. Lawrence Vaincourt

Mom broke the news at breakfast one day,
one morning when I was a child
Great-Aunt Henrietta, who had no other kin,
was coming to stay for a while.
When later that morning the doorbell did ring,
I ran hard to open the door
And there stood Great-Auntie with birdcage in hand
and luggage and trapping galore.

Now Aunt Henrietta was wizened and old,
with a scraggly beard on her chin;
She'd a mind of her own, read the bible each day,
had a dreadful aversion to sin.
To Aunt Henrietta many things were a sin,
many thing that our parents allowed,
Like our clothes were all wrong and our hair was too long
and our music was played MUCH too loud.
Mom's housekeeping habits were not of the best,
(she rearranged everything in the house)
And the night Father brought home a bottle of gin
she implied that our Dad was a Souse.

Old Auntie's strange conduct we tried to ignore,
Mom said t'was because of her age,
But she did have one habit that made us all sore,
in fact it drove Dad to a rage.
When not reading her bible or tending her bird
or expounding her theories on sin,
She'd retire to the bathroom and stay by the hour,
we children could never get in.

In vain, Mother hinted the family was large
and TWO bathrooms, really, were needed,
Dad grumbled aloud, he'd be late for his work,
but all hints and complaints went unheeded.
She went with her knitting, she went with her tea,
she went with her Bible in hand
And she bolted the door with a look on her face
reminiscent of Custer's last stand.

Well! One morning I and my big brother Paul,
decided to have us some fun.
For if Aunt Henrietta would not mend her ways
then something would have to be done.
So we tied a long string to the lever that flushed
and we drilled a small hole in the wall
And when Aunt Henrietta retired to her muse,
we waited outside in the hall.

We gave her a moment to get settled down,
then gave a stout pull on the string
And with bated breath, waited to see what transpired,
for a moment we heard not a thing.
Then came a loud gurgle and next a loud flush
and then a soul-shattering scream
As Aunt Henrietta's poor, wizened old stern
was bathed in an icy-cold stream.

With petticoats flapping, she burst through the door
and clattered away down the hall
While I, in my laughter, collapsed on the floor
and was dragged out by big brother Paul.
Mom shouted for Father some action to take
but our Father was not to be found
Though from the garage, whose door was locked tight,
came a strange, muffled, chortling sound.

The bathroom was clear for the rest of the day,
not once did Great Auntie go in.
Not one critical word was she heard to exclaim,
not once did she lecture on sin.
Auntie left us next day, nevermore to return,
Mom had strong words for brother and me.
Father said not a thing but was heard to remark:
"Thank goodness! The bathroom is free."

T'was several years later that Great Auntie died;
I was present when they read her will.
Left her dough to the church but she made one bequest,
it read, "to my dear nephew, Phil,"
"The cost of one bathroom, installed in his home,
for the comfort I trust it will bring."
Mom burst into tears and ran out of the room
and for once, Father said not a thing.

© 1985 A. Lawrence Vaincourt

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