Back in the good old days an outhouse, with a Sears and Roebuck catalog inside, was just part of the landscape of the typical Ozark homeplace. Most of the time, the outhouse was a modest little building located not too far from, and not too close to, the main house.
The morning after a fun-filled Halloween often found a "loaner" outhouse sitting on the courthouse lawn or on the roof of the local high school. And, on occasion, enterprising young men would flip the outhouse over with an unsuspecting victim inside.
Today, we're much too dignified for these type of pranks and we don't keep the toliet in the yard anymore. Right?
Recently, Thayer residents have been waking up and finding a blue toliet sitting in their front yard.
Is this the work of a deranged individual? Nope. It's just a unique way to raise money for the St. Paul United Methodist Church American Cancer Society Relay for Life Team. Their theme - Flush Cancer Down the Drain.
The traveling toliet can be found anywhere, anytime, with a ransom note attached that reads: "One of your friends has selected you to receive this beautiful commode! To have it removed, make out a check to the American Cancer Society for $25. Then, call Bob or Kathy at 264-2862 and tell them whose yard to put it in next!"
Bob and Kathy Cicigoi, Relay for Life team members are the guardians of the toliet.
The toliet first appeared at the home of Peggy Underwood after strong winds damaged the roof of the family home last August.
"Because of the storm, we had to remodel the complete upstairs and I decided to go with new white fixtures in the upstairs bathroom instead of the blue ones that had been there for years," Underwood said. "The (old) bathroom was done in blue -- blue tub, blue sink and a blue toliet."
Underwood said when the old fixtures were removed they were deposited in her yard.
Underwood works at radio station K-Kountry 95. Coworker and morning DJ Mark Martin drives past the Underwood's house everyday on his way to and from work.
"Just every couple days, Mark would say, 'Peggy, what are you going to do with that blue toliet in your yard?' I finally told him he could have it, but he said he didn't want it," Underwood said.
A few weeks ago, a man stopped by Underwood's house and asked if she would like to sell the blue toliet. "I was sure Mark had sent this fellow to complete his 'what are you going to do with the blue toliet' joke," Underwood said.
The man was Bob Cicigoi and assured Underwood that Mark Martin had not sent him to her home. "I wanted the toliet as a fund raiser for our Relay for Life Team," Cicigoi said. "After I explained this to Peggy, she said she would let the team have the toliet on one condition - it had to go to Mark Martin's house first."
The traveling toilet had found its first hostage.
"Monica and the boys and I were coming home from church about three Sundays ago and I could see something in our driveway from quite a distance away," Martin said. "I couldn't believe my eyes when we got close enough for me to realize it was Peggy's old blue toliet."
He said at first he was sure Underwood had someone bring it to his house as a joke.
"But then I read the note attached to the thing," Martin said. Martin paid the ransom and had the toliet moved to Dan Nessling's home on EE Highway. From there, the toliet has travelled to many front yards including the yards of Garrett Poulette, Ron and Darlene Combs, Bill and Carlene Williams, Merle and Clara Williams, the Ed Stahlam family, the Country Cottage and Dr. Kersey's dental office. And, it hasn't stopped its journey yet.
Cicigoi said he tries to move the blue toliet twice a day.
The Relay for Life team has a goal to earn $3,000 with the toilet. They are over halfway there.
Anyone who would like to have the toliet delivered to a friend's yard (or your own yard) can call Cicigoi at 417-264-2862.