Let 4th of July Begin!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur 4th of July (aka 4oJ) gathering of the Moynahan clan and associated friends is not a one or two day event. It normally lasts for well over a week, with some members coming early, then all 30 or so come in for main 2-4 days in the middle, and some stay a few days later. But the official beginning and end of 4oJ are designated, at least by me, with the arrival and departure of the “porta-potty”.

I call and arrange for its delivery several weeks ahead. Western Maryland Septic calls its porta-potty by a more dignified name, a Portable Toilet, (and I love that the English call it a Porta Loo). The woman who answers the phone greets me like an old friend. “Shall we put it in the same spot?” she asks.

“Sure, that’ll be just fine.” I cross one more thing off my list.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe porta-potty is delivered. The driver backs it into its familiar location and lowers it to the ground. Once placed, he levels it, gives it a final spray inside and puts in two or three rolls of toilet paper. I wave to him from the upper deck.

Let the 4th of July begin! The porta-potty waits proudly and patiently, or so it seems, for the families to arrive.  One by one they do.

We have no funny tales to tell about the porta-potty—-no one ever came out screaming because of a snake, nor did it ever tip over, nor did anyone ever drop their Rolex into it. It just served its intended purpose.

However, one 4oJ back in ’09 we had a potato gun contest (thanks to Bill Wallace who came up with the idea and forwarded the plans to us all a year in advance). Several families built guns out of PVC pipe, and the kids’ decorated them with my paints and magic markers. We had bags of potatoes and extra cans of hair spray. The kids were given instructions and went out to practice. BOOM, the potatoes were on their way over the hill.

Then the rains came pouring down. We all ran for cover to the upper deck, lugging potatoes and potato guns. Turns out that the dome struts provided a perfect place to balance the guns. But where to aim them? Ah, the porta-potty! It was in the perfect location. Someone propped an old air mattress up against it. Then it was “spuds away”! One shot after the other. The field was full of potatoes, and some even managed to hit the air mattress. It was probably an unusual day in the life of a porta-potty. Maybe it will have tales to tell when it gets back to its friends.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADays later we wave good-bye to the last car. Now that the guests have all gone no one goes down to the porta-potty anymore. It stands all alone shrouded in the fog, looking somewhat forlorn and lonely waiting to be picked up by the truck. The truck was in no hurry and it’s several days later before it shows up. The driver backs up and lowers the lift. He pumps out the porta-potty, sprays and wipes it. Then he slides it onto the lift. Slowly he raises the lift and places the porta-potty on the truck. He secures it with chains and starts to drive.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce again I wave from the upper deck. The driver waves back and calls out, “I’ll see you next year!”

“You sure will!” I call back down to him.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe truck pulls out onto the dirt road with the porta-potty standing dignified and tall in the back. I’m sure it felt good to be going back home, but hopefully pleased that it had been of service and reunited once again with the Moynahan clan. Off it goes down the mountain.

The 4th of July is now officially over for another year.

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Mom, only you could come up with a blog about a porta-potty! LOL! Yes, it is the first to arrive and the last to leave – and probably grateful it didn’t get pelted with potatoes this year!

What a great opening paragraph, Denny! And then it rolls right through to the end–so funny and so original! Thanks for the laugh! Great story!

I am glad to hear the “honey pot” (as we call them in the Northwest) was considered a member of the family….first to arrive, last to leave. Thanks Denny.

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