Friday, June 3, 2011

Sweat, Handsome, and the Poo-Hole

So today, I started to sweat! Just a little, while I was cutting the grass after work, and I had to wear a sweatshirt and a hat to do it, but I started. Not dripping or anything, just getting damp in places, but those have been some pretty dry places for a lot of months, let me tell you! Huzzah for steroids! Not only did they not break my netbook, but they seem to have fixed me again! Yeah baby!

So, since that sums up the best thing that happened to me today, I'll have to throw in a story about Handsome.
Last year, I took Handsome on his first real camping trip. He'd been 'camping' before with Mom; in a cabin at the edge of a small lake, one with a bathroom, electricity, a stove, a shower... you know, camping.
I took him out on the local river in the canoe, loaded with stuff. Tent, camp stove, sleeping bags, food and water. We went out to an island owned by the Audubon Society, of which I am a member, where they have three camp sites. You can only get there by canoe, and you only have what you bring in with you. In other words, don't forget the shovel and the toilet paper.
That was one of Handsome's first questions when I proposed the trip.
"Where will we go to the bathroom? I mean, like... you know..."
"We'll dig a latrine."
"A what?"
"A latrine. Basically a latrine is a hole, or trench, that you use as a bathroom when one is not available. You dig a hole, and then as you use it you bury what you leave behind."
He just stared at me for a second.
"So... we're going to dig a hole. For poo."
"Yes. Yes we are."
He was an 8 year old boy who was all smiles at that.
So, we made the trip. Drove out to the landing, packed up the canoe, and paddled a couple of miles upstream to the island. When we got there, Handsome set up his tent while I unpacked the canoe and set up the rest of camp. I was still situating the food stores when he finished with the tent, grabbed the collapsible shovel and started into the woods. I watched him walk by me, shovel on shoulder and smile on face, and I just had to ask.
"Hey Handsome! Where are you going?"
He stopped and turned back to me, striking what for an 8 year old would count as a 'heroic pose', and answered proudly.
"I'm going to dig the poo-hole!"
Laughing, I went with him to make sure he was doing it right, explaining the need for a tree to rest your back upon, and a log to hang your nether-works off of.  Then I stood and watched as this boy, whom I can not get to clean his room, nor pick up his clothes, happily digging away, making his first latrine. He did a pretty good job, and we spiked a roll of toilet paper to the tree and left it at that. We played and romped and ate and generally had a good time for the rest of the day. We had our fire, toasted marshmallows, and went to bed.
We were up early for a camp breakfast of pancakes and bacon, and started playing again. Suddenly, though, in the middle of a little soccer game, Handsome spun away from me and trotted off into the woods in the direction of the latrine.
I let him have his privacy.
A short time later he came strolling back down the trail, looking much more relaxed.
"Dad, can we go home now?"
I blinked.
"Really? We have this place for the rest of the day, and we could stay until tomorrow if you like..."
"No, I'm kinda bored. Last night was fun, but there's nothing to do now. Can we go?"
"Sure, I guess. You gonna help me strike camp?"
I had figured it out by then. Handsome had done everything he had set out to do that weekend. A canoe trip, sleeping out in the woods in a tent...
...and most importantly, he used the poo-hole!
Oh, the stories he must have told when school started, the bragging he must have done.
Kids are fun!


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