101: Honeymoon in the Outhouse

101: Honeymoon in the Outhouse

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Here Comes the Bride

Honeymoon in the Outhouse

A human being is an ingenious assembly of portable plumbing.

~Christopher Morley

Neither my fiancé nor I were big on lavish weddings. We’d both just graduated from college in southern Illinois, moved to Denver, Colorado, and were hard at work at our first real, better-than-minimum-wage jobs. Neither of us had vacation time coming. Neither of us had any relatives in the state of Colorado. And we certainly didn’t have the money to spend on a big wedding.

So, one day we simply said, “Let’s do it.” And we did. There were thirteen of us in the tiny chapel, and later we all went out to our favorite hangout and drank margaritas and ate popcorn to celebrate our nuptials. When I look back on it, I think the wedding and the reception thereafter may have had something to do with the state of the honeymoon.

Ah, yes, the honeymoon. We both managed to get Monday off, and since the wedding was on Friday night that gave us three days. The groom, being a geologist who loved rocks and strange, natural formations and earthly occurrences, announced Saturday morning that we were going to drive to Yellowstone National Park, more than 400 miles away. That man loved to drive, but I wasn’t too sure about spending the bulk of my three-day honeymoon cooped up in a car. But this was back in the sixties when men still got their way about almost everything.

So we drove. And drove. We’d jump out of the car, eat a fast meal, and get right back in the car. I oohed and aahed at the incredible scenery that whizzed by at seventy-five miles per hour. When we reached snowdrifts that were eight feet tall in northern Wyoming, he paused for five minutes to take my picture next to them. I stood there in my sleeveless blouse and summer-weight slacks in early June and made a snowball to throw at my groom.

Back in the car, we drove for hours, winding our way through mountainous roads toward Yellowstone. We arrived at dark and spent the night in a primitive, cold cabin. By noon Sunday, after a huge brunch loaded with “mountain man” eggs, sausage and pancakes the size of plates, I began to feel awful. I thought back to the week before the wedding and realized I’d been constipated for an entire week. The excitement of the wedding, worrying about taking a day off work from my new job, irregular meals and spending eleven hours in the car the day before had not been good for me.

As I sat on a long wooden bench with a couple dozen other Old Faithful watchers waiting for the spectacle, I felt as if I was carrying the weight of the world in my gut. Misery was my middle name as I watched my new husband pacing back and forth, waiting anxiously for his geological wonder to blow.

This was my honeymoon, for heaven’s sake! I couldn’t let this go on.

Holding my stomach in pain, I swallowed my shyness and gathered my courage. “Honey, I need some prune juice. Would you mind going to the camp store to see if they have any?”

My groom, who wasn’t too crazy about the possibility of missing the start of Old Faithful’s show, dashed into the store and returned in record time, handing me a quart of room-temperature prune juice.

As we sat there waiting for the explosion of one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, I drank my juice. We waited, and I drank. Suddenly, the geyser put on her show, spewing hot steam hundreds of feet into the air. I watched and drank my prune juice.

After the show, we climbed back into the car for a driving tour of the huge national park. When a bear cub ambled across the road and climbed up to the window of the car in front of us, I snapped a quick photo, finished off my quart of prune juice, and wished I were back home in a nice tub of hot water, easing my intestinal pain.

As we neared the park exit later that afternoon after a long drive through Yellowstone’s immensity, Mother Nature and the prune juice grabbed hold of my stopped-up digestive system and started the rumblings of a geyser in my gut that felt as if it would rival that of Old Faithful.

“Bob! You have to find a bathroom! I have to go! Now! Please, get to a bathroom! Hurry!”

My groom sped up for half a mile and then slammed on the brakes. “It’s up there.” He pointed to a dense forested area.

“Up where?” I started to panic. I didn’t see anything but a huge hill and thousands of trees.

“Right there, off to the right. See that building? It’s an outhouse.”

I shot my husband a look that would have caused flowers to wilt and slammed the car door as I bolted out. I stumbled up the steep hill and dashed toward the outhouse, noting that it was much darker up there in the forest.

“There better be lights in this place,” I mumbled to myself.

It was a two-seater outhouse. No lights. No toilet paper (except for napkins from our lunch). Nothing except spider webs all over the place. I hoped that my new husband had the car windows rolled up and couldn’t hear what I was up to there in the woodland privy. I sat there in that smelly pit, terrified that a bear or a snake would amble in.

That night, in our hotel room, the prune juice continued to do its work. My husband plopped down on the bed after adjusting the TV set that was hooked to the wall up near the ceiling. “Honey, I know you don’t feel too good, but how would it be if I adjust this TV so you can see it from in here? If you leave the door open, you can watch from in the bathroom, and I can watch it from the bed. At least you won’t be so lonely.”

I sat there on the Motel 6 toilet, watching TV, as my husband spent the night alone in the bed on the other side of the bathroom wall. Welcome to the real world of marriage, I thought to myself as I gently fondled the huge, soft roll of toilet paper before me. I actually said prayers of thanksgiving to the Almighty for that little bit of paradise… that nice, shiny white bathroom where I spent the third and final night of my honeymoon.

~Patricia Lorenz

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