visited a friend of mine the other day and was given a tour of
her new quite-large home. Making our way through the den, the
kitchen, laundry room, and other standard parts of the house,
we ended up beside what seemed to me to be an indoor swimming
It was the bathroom and it featured another of those ever-popular
garden tubs. You know, the ones that can accommodate you, your
spouse, the children, the dog, and a few cousins, aunts, and uncles,
all at the same time.
This was one big bathtub. It was smack dab in the middle of the
room, raised up on a marble base and faced windows (bigger than
the ones in my church) that would allow you to see and be seen
by the neighbors, God, and everybody.
Why are garden tubs so popular? I just cant figure it. Now,
a tub in the garden makes more sense. Come to think of it, I knew
an old lady in Montgomery, Alabama, who actually had an old bathtub
filled with flowers at the end of her driveway. But then, she
also ate curling ribbon and talked to dead people.
My point is, I dont see the need for such a large bathing
area. I cant swim, I dont care for my neighbors to
participate in any way (covertly or overtly) when I bathe, and
when I do, I really prefer to do it alone, thank you.
I think of all the tales my grandmother told me about how, when
she was a child, everybody in the family, one after the other,
bathed in the same tin tub and in the same tub of water, usually
once a week.
The adults went first and got the clean water, the older children
next, and the poor babies, last. The water was so dirty by that
time, when it was tossed out the back door occasionally one of
the babies got tossed out with it. (Hence, the saying: Dont
toss the baby out with the bath water!)
Ill take a regular tub, minus the extras, one
just big enough to cover the essentials and small enough that
I dont have to tread water in it. And Ill have clean
Another feature I can do without is jets in my tub.
Jets are little holes along the sides of the tub that spew hot
bursts of water all over you to soothe and relax tense
muscles and give you an invigorating luxurious bath experience.
Jacuzzi, I believe, is the name given to that particular feature.
My friendly masseuse, Paula Fletcher, has one of those in her
regular size bathtub at her house and after giving
me a massage one day, she encouraged me to avail myself of the
She instructed me to get in the tub, fill it with water, and then
turn on the jets. She left the room. I sat down in the tub, turned
on the tap, stretched out my legs, and my pudgy thighs instantly
attached themselves to the jet holes like a Hoover.
Suctioned so tight to the sides of the tub, I couldnt even
reach the faucet, I knew I was in big trouble. I was going to
drown. I was going to die, naked, stuck like Tar Baby to somebody
elses bathtub in somebody elses house!
Had Paula not had good ears and strong arms (the result of lifeguard
training) I guess the Jaws of Life would have had to extricate
me from my porcelain prison. I swore then Id never get into
another Jacuzzi, whirlpool, hot tub, or garden tub as long as
The entire experience was painful and humiliating. Explaining
the pockmarks on my thighs to my sweetie was no picnic either.
Now, Im sure that garden tubs are probably signs of affluence
and give a certain ambiance to the toilet area, but you can have
them. Ill pass.
Im wondering if maybe the garden tub craze began over the
rumor that President William H. Taft, at 360 pounds, once got
stuck in the White House bathtub and had another made that would
hold four grown men. Who knows? That knowledge could have served
In cases like Tafts, maybe garden tubs are still the appliance
of choice. They are roomy and, Lord knows, in this day of fast
foods and carbohydrate mania, maybe a luxurious bath in an oversized
tub is a fat man or womans heaven on earth.
If you should have one, however, I feel I must advise you to keep
it private. Dont give tours of your homes personal
Not long ago my husband was with a group of businessmen touring
the opulent home of a Chicago executive whose wife was known to
be morbidly obese.
Leading the gentlemen into the well-appointed marble dressing
areas and customized bathrooms of the couple, the host pointed
out his wifes sunken gold-encrusted garden tub. Someone
snickered in the back of the line, then one of the men cupped
his hand over his mouth and whispered to my husband, Theres
only one thing missing here.
whats that? asked my husband.
the chain hoist to lift that cow in and out of the tub?
Like I said, Ill take my baths alone. In a standard tub.
Preferably in the dark.
McGee is a 57-year-old Southern born and bred female, raised
in a small town forty miles north of Augusta, Georgia. She has
been married to a John Deere "veteran" for thirty-eight
years and has two grown sons. Her childhood was chocked full of
exciting, sometimes traumatic, events and thus, her penchant for
writing about them. She writes a personal column,"Dear Hearts,"
in her weekly hometown paper and, at last count, had written some
340 of them. As far as she's concerned, one can only write (that
is, with any passion) of what one has experienced, and she has
experienced quite a lot in her half a century of living, and she
gets a thrill each and every time a reader gushes, "I've
been there, done that!"