Click any letter for a look at my prize-winning essay from the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. You don't even have to buy a vowel.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022




I didn’t do it intentionally; I avoided it with tenacity for half a century, even when the neighbors added a creative touch. But somehow it happened without my consent, which is the sort of thing that will get your name in the news these days if you’re not careful.

I am one of those people.

Through no fault of my own and in a twisted turn of fate that makes me question my life choices, I’ve sprouted a toilet in my back yard. I've taken in many things over the years - cats, dogs, an escaped ferret, even a baby possum. But this is my first time to play host to a passing potty. The term Squatter's Rights takes on a whole new meaning.

A plain, white nonfunctional no-value-added porcelain pot is nesting by my back gate. It’s not situated in a cunning garden sunhouse that serves as the urban equivalent of a greenhouse/outhouse combination. This is a two-piece victim of a hasty removal job and a failed prayer, nestled in a bed of weeds and wild onions like an out-of-date Easter egg. A Peter Rabbit practical joke.

I can’t decide whether to plant geraniums in it or to top it with a beach-themed cushion for a jaunty seaside-inspired cabana spot. It’s sort of like a Kodak moment that you don’t want anybody to see.

I didn’t start out to be a plumbing failure. Life has a way of turning your best laid plans into sewage and before you know it – boom – you’re a casualty of a flush with death.

We are not Do-It-Yourself people. We’re lucky to open our own envelopes. My husband can build a supercomputer from the ground up with spare parts from a Waring blender, but faced with a simple flood of Biblical proportions in the bathroom, he acts like Noah had the right idea: hop a passing raft and row like crazy. This is not something you can turn off and on again to see if it rights itself.

So when the fixture in the bathroom put out enough whitewater rapids to start a rafting expedition, my team ripped the thing from its moorings and pitched it out the back door like a ninth inning fastball.

And time passed. And seasons changed.

Now it’s baseball season again. The tulips have bloomed, the dogwood has blossomed, and the crepe myrtle is fuzzy with new growth.

In the meantime, a leafy green vine awash in tiny white flowers has wound around my backyard porcelain, giving it an air of casual domestication, sort of like Mother Nature’s version of Shabby Chic.

I guess everybody celebrates Spring in their own fashion. In Augusta, the Masters has acres of azaleas, Washington is sprinkled with delicate cherry blossoms, and the Midwest is bathed in fields of sunflowers.

But in my little corner of the country--just below the Bible Belt and just above the Sweet Tea Bag--we have our pottied plants.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My sister has a ring of toilets around a tree in the middle of her circular drive. She thinks it's hysterical