When you live hours from anywhere, there are some things you just don’t forget when embarking on a road trip. If you have small children, it becomes even more important to have certain essentials, and when I say certain essentials…I mean toilet paper. When the urge comes upon a 6-year-old, it is usually an immediate concern. There often isn’t time to find a gas station or campground, and in rural Idaho, those places may be a long way off.
Recently, my wife and I went on a quick road trip to Montana. Our 6-year-old daughter, Deleya, was the only child with us. We remembered to appropriately dose her with Dramamine for the 3-hour drive on curvy roads. We remembered to pack snacks and drinks for her comfort. What could possibly go wrong? (That is actually a question I often ask myself, but am never prepared for the true answer.)
The trip started fine and continued that way until we reached the farthest point from all civilization. Deleya then began crying softly in the back seat. My wife asked her what was the matter. She said that her stomach hurt and she thought she needed to poop. I stared at my wife in a bit of a panic, it was early spring and even the campgrounds were closed. There wasn’t a restroom within 45 minutes of our location. We calmly asked her to hold it as long as she could and I drove a little faster.
About a mile further along the highway, my wife said, “Pull over NOW.” She hopped out as I slid to a stop on the gravel shoulder and helped Deleya out of the car. Now, I don’t know about your six-year-old, but ours has not yet learned the art of squatting in nature, so my wife had to crouch at the side of the road holding her suspended in the “business” position. It was quite comical, and I was tempted to video it (decency prevented me). I also noticed a brisk breeze coming in through the open car door. The temperature outside was a chilly 40 degrees.
After several agonizing minutes, and no obvious results, Deleya and my wife re-entered the car. “Boy, it’s cold!” I said. They both just stared at me as if I had come to the dinner table in my underwear. Apparently I did not get to have an opinion because I remained in the partial protection of the car. I can only imagine trying to have a “movement” exposed to traffic on the side of the road, shivering uncontrollably. Yikes!
At this time, we thought it might be prudent to check the car for napkins, toilet paper, wipes, old newspapers, or something to wipe Deleya’s dirty derriere should the situation actually occur. We didn’t find so much as a gum wrapper. I looked at my favorite jacket once, shook my head and looked at my wife’s jacket. She saw my gaze and said, “You have any gel?”…of course, it may have been “You can go to hell!”…I am a little hard of hearing.
Minutes later we were skidding to a halt in the barrow ditch again and my wife and daughter were clambering out the passenger doors. Deleya was soon suspended in what I dubbed the “samurai pooping position”. As my eyes searched for anything to occupy them other than the scene already burned into my retinas, I noticed a roadside sign. It read: Nee-Me-Poo Trail. It is the Nez Perce (a Native American people) National Historic Trail, but all my twisted mind could comprehend was “poo”. I laughed and named our journey the Dee-Le-Poo Trail, even though she had yet to produce anything. My wife snorted in disgust, and my daughter snorted in mock embarrassment, and I snorted because, apparently, it was the thing to do when traveling the Dee-Le-Poo trail.
We stopped 47 more times without success before finally coming to a gas station with a bathroom. It turned out that she only had to pee. The urgent feeling in her stomach was apparently car sickness, but it did make me realize the necessity of being properly prepared at all times, especially when you have young children.
Feeling “the urge” come suddenly upon you without proper facilities and/or equipment may suck, but Idaho does not…unless you’re in the samurai pooping position and a car comes by!