-On Dogs and Dunnies-
by Edna Wrightson.

As kids we lived on a farm with a long-drop dunny, situated half a mile down the back yard. It was covered with a passionfruit vine as old as time. Mother's toffy-nosed sister Alice, and her son Cyril, were paying us one of their rare visits. It was mothers birthday. TheY came, not only bearing gifts, but they had brought along their yappy dog Peppi with them.
Our two Blue Heelers, Bluey and Bloucher, hated Peppi's guts, just on principal. So, to keep the peace, Peppi was kept inside for safe keeping. Came the time when Cyril wanted to relieve himself, but was afraid of 'the snakes in the dunny', his mother asked us to escort him to the lavatory. We kids were only too happy to oblige. It gave us another opportunity to stoke up the fires of his imagination as to what dreadful 'creepy crawlies' things lay at wait for him in the 'little house'.
Unfortunately, Peppi had followed us out. Blue and Bloucher gave chase. Peppi broke the speed limit to reach the open-door dunny before we did. The terrified dog took one leap onto the long, bench seat and promptly fell through the hole and into the cess pit below. All hell broke loose….The Blue Heelers went berserk with frustration. Peppi raised cain from below. Cyril was crying because he had pooped his pants and we were wetting ours from laughing. What to do?
Our father was away in the far corner of the farm.(He always found an urgent job to do on the back boundary when his sister-in-law paid us a visit). Brother went into action. Shouting at me to get the long handled shovel and the mattock, he raced off in the opposite direction to get the brush hook and the long, lever bar.

Meanwhile, Cyril was hanging over the hole comforting Peppi, and Blue and Boucher were doing their own excavation in an attempt to get at the little varmint. Dirt flew in all directions as we dug an escape route under the back of the dunny. I dropped the mattock to grab for a long plank for Peppi to walk up. There was so much activity at the scene of the accident that brother or I never noticed that Cyril was busily undermining the foundations of the dunny in his effort to help.
Just as we had bagged the stinking dog, the dunny started caving in. We let go of the dog to rescue the dunny from collapsing like a pack of playing cards. Peppi headed for the house, He tore through the kitchen and hid behind the heavy, iron -framed piano in the front room. Despite our pleas, Peppi refused to budge. The piano was immovable. Mother had herded Cyril into the outside wash-house to clean him up. Alice was running around lake a wet hen, with a handkerchief over her nose, crying, "Oh, my poor Peppi, my poor Peppi, come to mother, darling." Peppi stayed put behind the piano.

Mother pushed an armful of brother's clothes into Alice's arms and propelled both mother and son toward the wash room. Then she sent me to get father from his hide-hole and dispatched brother to get the old, grey blanket from the back verandah, and then she got busy with mop and bucket to ease the tell-tale trail of "pong" throughout the house. When Dad arrived on the scene, he found us two sister sitting on the front verandah, and Cyril squatting, powdered and perfumed, in borrowed clothes, on the front steps, too embarrassed to look at anyone. Dad and all of us heaved the piano forward, while brother pounced on Peppi with the cat's blanket.
Then I went into action on the dog with a hose and "lifebouy" soap.Declining a cup of tea, our guests departed in a "huff" and that was the last time the farm saw them.

It didn't surprise us when Dad went out and bought Mum the most expensive perfume he could find for her birthday. For weeks after we could hear him laughing all the way to the dunny. Oh well, that's country life for you.

Submitted by John Chandler

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