An outhouse, thirty feet from the front door of Grandpa Glasenerʻs cabin at Bark Point. For a seven-year-old with an overactive imagination, 300 yards into the big bad forest.
Our summer vacation home on the southern shore of Lake Superior had running water but no indoor plumbing. In the daytime, no problem. Well, fewer problems. Sitting my bare butt down onto that dark gaping hole was always fraught with something. Especially, what if a snake crawled up onto me?
Nighttime jaunts to the potty were terrifying. The front porch lamp failed at the cabinʻs edge. Another twenty feet through the dark beyond the edge of the forest—a life-risking endeavor. The north woods were populated with wild creatures—porcupine, raccoon, skunk, and the dreaded black bear.
Bedtime necessitated one last trip to the potty house. Not just necessary, it was mandatory. Like a sprinter, I dashed into the dark, carrying a flashlight that could only reveal a wild animal but would offer no protection. Opening the outhouse door—the bravest thing I had done in my seven years.
Then the challenge of dropping drawers and sitting on that cold wood with my buppy in that gaping hole into unknown blackness. It was always a challenge to sit and relax muscles enough to initiate a stream of pee-pee. Just whisper a tiny prayer that I didn’t need to go cooey. (Weird words, but those were what we called them.)
Grandpa Glasener’s cabin never rewarded more safe haven than when a boy made it back home alive from a trip to the john at 8:30 p.m.