The place where we stayed on Lake Temagami had an outhouse. That’s right — a real, old-fashioned, wooden framed outhouse that had everything you could want in an outhouse except a crescent moon carved in the door.
What does a city boy do when he goes to a place with an outhouse? Well . . . try it, of course! The temptation was irresistible. If you’ve never used an outhouse, how can you pass up the chance to add it to your list of enriching life experiences? It might not be on your bucket list, but it’s an obvious character builder.
I admit I approached the prospect with some trepidation. My grandmother had scared UJ and me with tales of the outhouse at the family homestead when she was growing up, including one incident where she looked up while using the facilities, saw a huge, hissing black snake above the door frame, and bolted out of there before her business had been completed. So, naturally, my first step was to check the surroundings for any signs of poisonous or carnivorous creatures. The fact that it was about 20 degrees gave me some confidence in that regard. The icy temperatures also meant I didn’t have to worry about swatting a swarm of flies while answering nature’s call.
Of course, the cold was a double-edged sword; it also made me reluctant to fully commit to the process. I was afraid of losing some skin to a frozen plastic seat. Fortunately, the throne was made of some spongy material that didn’t pose a risk of frozen cheeks. So, with a deep breath, I forged ahead. The frigid temperatures were a terrific incentive to stay focused on the task ahead and finish the job as quickly as possible and not linger, admiring the view, pretty as it was.
As I left, I felt both lighter and more seasoned.