I Wash with Victoryland

It was an afterthought. As we talked with our plumber Tim Ledbetter about what water connections we would need in the apartment, I suggested that it might be nice to have an outdoor shower. We thought there might be times when one or both of us would be so dirty that we might welcome the chance to shower outside. Good decision. Good decision.


Amanda is willing to use the outdoor shower when necessary in warm weather but prefers to shower indoors. I have not showered anywhere else since we arrived. When I first fell in love with the outdoor shower, Amanda and others thought my zeal for it would cool (no pun intended) when real winter arrived. But we’ve been through a spate of low temperatures that is for central Alabama representative of the coldest part of a typical winter, and I never missed a chance to shower outside, even when the chill factor was in the single digits while I showered.

I struggle to explain why I love showering outside as much as I do. Our pole barn is perched on the side of a hill, and the outdoor shower is on the south side of the barn, so as I shower I can see the Tallapoosa River valley arrayed below me, including the prominent lights of the Victoryland dog track. It’s a wonderful view. Not Victoryland, so much, but simply the panorama of the valley.

My enjoyment of showering outside in cold weather does not mean I like to take cold showers. Piping hot. I stand in the steam rising off the cold concrete floor as I lather up; there’s something vaguely magical about the healing power of a hot, steamy shower on a cold night.

There’s another advantage to my showering outside. We have a beautiful indoor shower with glass doors, and my bride is particular, perhaps even fastidious, about keeping it clean. She has concluded that bars of soap leave a film that would make that more difficult, so if I showered indoors I would not be permitted to use a bar of soap but would be required to use some kind of stuff that comes out of a tube. I grew up showering with a bar of soap, so that’s what feels right to me. Tubes are for chicks, you know?

Farm work is sweaty, sometimes muddy. I am often filthy at the end of a busy day, so filthy I would be a little uneasy to step into the indoor shower. That’s no problem outside. Even Amanda’s high standards for cleanliness permit the deposit of body dirt on the concrete floor of the pole barn. And the outdoor shower has its own towel bar where I can spread the towel out and let it dry in the breeze.

When the weather’s cold, I don’t tarry as I dry off, because the cold wind starts talking to you right away when you no longer have hot water falling on your body. But I find even that brief chilly process invigorating, because it makes me more relaxed when I get my pajamas on and begin preparing supper in the warmth of the apartment.

No question about it; it’s pretty pleasant to live in Lee Borden’s skin. Outdoor showers are one of the many nice things about it.

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