by A. Lawrence Vaincourt

It stood beyond the garden, underneath a shading pine

A tiny little outhouse, which I always felt was mine

It has served its function nobly, I am sure, for many a year

'Till my granddad built a bathroom and abandoned it, back here

Where the pine tree helped support it and disguise its many leaks

And my granddad stored, inside it, bits of junk he called antiques

When I was a little shaver I complained, quite sad, one day

That my best friend had a tree house, while I had no place to play

So my granddad moved the junk out, patched some knot-holes in the floor

Put a little paint upon it and wrote "CLUBHOUSE" on the door

Very soon a club was meeting in my outhouse 'neath the tree

And of course I was the leader, since the place belonged to me

Then as spring moved into summer, we discovered one warm day

That the outhouse had, as tenants, some fat spiders, big and gray

Who built their nests in corners to ensnare the buzzing flies

Or sometimes 'cross the doorway, just to catch us by surprise

Now, me and my companions of our Clubhouse were quite proud

And as one, were in agreement, that no girls should be allowed

To profane these sacred quarters, where we boys most days did meet,

To do the things that boys do, for this was our one retreat

Still there was no need to worry, once the news was noised around

That the place was full of spiders, huge and hairy, gray and brown

Why, no girl would venture near it! Yes, of this we were quite sure

And I guess this was the reason why we never locked the door

'Til the day that great-aunt Carey came to stay a week or two

And visit with her kin folk, as old aunts are wont to do

She went strolling through the garden, in a reminiscent way

And she happened on the outhouse, while we children were away

Well she knew its ancient purpose, and her eyesight was quite poor

So she failed to see the "Clubhouse" sign we'd written on the door

There was no one to observe her and the door was open wide

And she felt the call of nature, so great-auntie stepped inside

She sat her down in comfort and behind her latched the door

To perform a private function, as she'd done oft times before.

But just then two fat gray spiders dropped down from overhead

One landed upon auntie's thigh, the other on her head

It's hard to think that someone, at the age of eighty-three

Could scream so loud, or run as fast, or jump as high as she

I am told she cleared the garden hedge with nigh an inch to spare

And wound up in the kitchen, with a spider in her hair

It was thus I gained the knowledge (which I never had been told)

That things that creep and things that crawl are feared by young and old

Of the feminine persuasion; and this fact has served me well

In spots and situations far too numerous to tell

There were incidents in childhood, one or two of which I'll name

When the odds were stacked in favor of some pushy little dame

When a beatle or an earthworm, the argument did sway

And ended all discussion in a full and final way

Today, the modern woman is a wondrous thing to see

She has a black belt in karate and, perhaps, a PHD

And she's sure to win an argument opposed by any guy.

Still, I wonder if those lessons, learned in childhood, still apply?

Are they still afraid of spiders and of things that crawl or squirm?

Will they turn away and shudder at the wriggling of a worm?

And when the dew is heavy on the lushness of your lawn

Will they help you pick up dew worms in the hours preceding dawn?

In the battle of the sexes, with its constant pull and tug,

Does man have a secret weapon in the common little bug?

© 1991 A. Lawrence Vaincourt

web site at: www.vaincourt.homestead.com

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