It’s been a slow week here at Purgatory Cove. The hullabaloo surrounding the grand opening of the facilities is over and things are settling down.
To understand what all the celebration was about, we need to go back over some history. Actually, back to when Sam’s pop started the Cove, just after the War. At that time, the facilities consisted of a single seat privy, a “one holer” it were. The Cove clientele at the time, mostly returning veterans, didn’t much mind it. After all, it was out of the wind and rain and nobody was shooting at them. It was open, if somewhat “sporty” all year ‘round.
One good thing you could say about the privy was that it was just the right size for a good prank or two. Like the time Lefty and Wade pulled all but one of the nails on each corner of the “house” then tied a rope to the back wall. They waited until the facility was occupied and then jerked on the rope. On cue, all four walls fell outward, leaving thwe occupant, in this case the Judge, sitting there in all his splendor.
Another time, they gift wrapped the entire thing, complete with a bow and Willy the crabber inside. Just to make it more interesting, they did it on a Saturday and invited everyone at the Cove watch Willy busting out. That one made to front page of the local paper.
This went on, with various levels of complaints, until the county decided that outdoor privies were not to be allowed. By this time, Sam was running the show and he had to tear down the privy and install a septic tank, leach well and all the accoutrements. The wooden privy was replaced by a simple concrete block building housing; you guessed it, a single commode.
This set up also required running water for the flush option and that caused further problems. It was fine during the summer and okay during the spring and fall, but when the water started to freeze, it had to be winterized and the building padlocked. This caused more than a little consternation and crossed legs among those who visited the Cove during the winter.
None of this bothered Sam, Lefty or Wade. After all, Sam had his momma’s house and Lefty and Wade had their single-wide trailers close by, all appropriately heated or cooled.
Over time, though, the clientele became more gentrified and winter sports began to get more and more popular. Snowmobiling, cross country skiing and four wheeling increased the number of winter-time visitors to the Cove and the resulting crossed legs.
Sam reluctantly installed a water heater to keep the water flowing throughout the year. But, frugal as ever, kept the water temperature at an absolute minimum. 40 degree water is still unfrozen but it’s no fun to wash your face in. There also was no place to shower or really clean up. Wives and girlfriends started to complain when their menfolk arrived home smelling of fish bait, gas and oil or paint.
So Sam added a little lean-to on one side of the building to house a shower. It wasn’t totally in the open but it didn’t allow for much heating. There was a constant battle between Sam and those using the shower, one side cranking up the temperature of the shower water with Sam ratcheting it back down.
Up until now, the clientele was almost entirely male. Female users would band together and stand guard on the facilities while they took turn using them, which did not make them happy. As the saying goes “if Momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.” Sam finally realized that he was losing customers to fish docks with better facilities. Sam is almost immune to complaints but pays attention when it is costing him cash.
So this year, he bit the bullet and expanded the facilities. He tripled the size of the concrete block building, added multiple commodes with real stalls and doors, and showers. A larger water heater went in to keep up with the demand and an actual heater was installed to keep everything warm and toasty during the winter. Buoys and Gulls now had their own facilities and everyone was happy except for Sam having to sign the check for all this.
Other than that, it’s been a slow week here in Purgatory Cove.