Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit!
(A southern saying indicating surprise or astonishment. And that, my dear Kernutties, is your lesson for today.)
Imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered there was a Toilet Seat Art Museum in San Antonio. I know!
Barney Smith, the toilet seat artist, the toilet seat museum curator, and the toilet seat tour guide, recently turned 94. He’s been creating toilet seat art for over 50 years and is still going strong. Each toilet seat has a theme: there are toilet seats for most every profession, events, and for many celebrities.
Barney is famous for his toilet seat art; he’s been featured on several talk shows, a clip of each you
get to must see when you visit the museum. He has the TV clips playing on a loop which you must see. In fact, watching the clips of Barney’s TV appearances is compulsory.
Once upon a time, Barney was a plumber. As such, he had access to excess toilet seats. It occurred to his a slightly used toilet seat makes an excellent canvas for art. Why throw them out, right? The museum, once his garage, currently displays well over 1,100 decorated toilet seats.
He knows each one by heart, and he remembers all the visitors. If you sign his guest book (and you will), he’ll remember which city and state you were from and show any other visitors you were there. When I went, I signed the book and indicated (Cow-Chicken-Oil town)… Guess what? He had toilet seat art dedicated to a place there! People I knew from far-away wee (Cow-Chicken-Oil town) had been to see Barney and signed a toilet seat.
I asked Barney which was his favorite. He thought for a split second and then pulled out a seat with a piece of paper shellacked to it. On the paper was a poem he’d written as a child in grammar school.
Even more fascinating than his museum, is Barney Smith himself. He’s gracious, funny, and quite charming. He can tell you details about each of his toilet seats. Mention a topic and he has a seat for it. Plan to spend an hour there.
Go if for no other reason than to meet Barney.
Be sure to call first – this is Barney’s home after all and viewings are by appointment only. His number, as listed on RoadsideAmerica.com, is 210-824-7791 (central time). His place is north of downtown San Antonio, not far from the airport. He will be your tour guide and wants to make sure the place is ready for your visit. Make sure to sign the guest book and sign a toilet seat (he’ll help you pick one).
And bring any extra toilet seat lids you have laying around. Barney is retired now – he doesn’t have access to them like he used to.