I will never forget the day that Julie and I ended up covered in human sewage. It happened over two decades ago, but I recall it as if it were yesterday.
I was 10 years old and it was a warm summer day. My four younger siblings and I were thrilled when my mom announced that we were having company over that night. Glen and Novella were coming with their four kids Jessie, Jenny, Julie, and Mike. My parents and Glen and Novella had been friends for years and enjoyed getting together on a monthly basis to drink beer and play cards. All of us kids got along great and looked forward to our times together as well!
Us kids were real good about entertaining ourselves and that day we decided it would be fun to play with the lawn tractor. We pulled out multiple wagons, triciclyes, big wheels and jump ropes from the garage. We then proceeded to connect all of them behind the lawn tractor, creating a makeshift train. We were pretty proud of ourselves! My brother David started out as the “conductor” he expertly drove us around the yard as we hooted and hollered in delight, lo and behold our train was really working! Soon, my younger brother Brian, wanted a shot at being conductor. He was pretty young at the time, maybe 5 or, so Mike, who was a couple years older then him, let him sit on his lap and do the steering.
Julie and I were riding together in the red wagon at the very back of the train, the caboose, if you will. I remember feeling concerned that my little brother Brian was now at the wheel. He was always a bit of a troublemaker. I became more concerned as he began driving in circles around the open sewage puddle that we had in our yard. For those of you who are scratching your heads, let me educate you. We grew up in a very old farmhouse in the country. This place did not have a modern sewage system in place. When we flushed our toilet it did not go to a fancy tank under the ground, oh no, instead it went through pipes that came out into the yard. Yes, totally gross, I know. Up to code? Probably not. Unsanitary..you betcha. As children, we were all taught to stay away from the sewage puddle. It was quite large, probably 15 feet long and 5 feet wide or so. When we were out playing ball, frisbee, or tag, we always made sure to keep a safe distance away from the sewage puddle. It was gross and stinky.
Anyways, Brian thought he was pretty funny as he drove closer and closer to the sewage puddle. All of us kids being pulled behind were beginning to get nervous. I began yelling at him telling him he was getting to close, that’s when it happened. He looked back at me, flashed a devilish grin, and took a sharp turn causing the little red wagon at the back of the train, you know, the one containing Julie and myself, to flip over..yep..Splash, or perhaps more like splat, or squelch. Just imagine a disgusting sound mixed with high pitched little girl screams. Julie and I were covered head to toe in sewage. Poop, pee, all the disgusting things that get flushed down the toilet all over us. It. Was. Disgusting.
We pulled ourselves from the stinky sludge and ran crying and screaming all the way to the house. Our moms came out on the deck, winecoolers in hand, to see what all the commotion was about. As soon as they saw us they burst out laughing! Not the response we were looking for! Once the laughter had subsided my mom had a disturbing realization occur to her. We wouldn’t be able to bathe, seeing as how my Dad and Glen were working on the plumbing inside the house and had turned off the water! Our sheep’s drinking trough was suggested to us as a source of water to clean our stinky selves. I telll you folks, I am a fairly good fiction writer, but one can simply not make this kind of stuff up. Julie and I headed towards the shed and proceeded to splash water tainted with sheep saliva all over our dirty bodies.
Once we were recognizable again as children, rather than poop monsters, we ambled back towards the house with revenge on our minds. Brian was going to get it. Lucky for Brian, he was smart and quick. I saw a flash of him out of the corner of my eye as he dashed into the woods to hideout until we had cooled down a bit. The poor thing, it has been over two decades and he is still hiding in those woods, to afraid to show his face. I would be too if I were him. That smell lingers a long time.
Ok, just kidding about that last part. Brian eventually came out and apologized to us for being a turd. We forgave him and I ended up going over to Julie’s house that night for a sleepover. She showered and I didn’t. I decided the sheep drinking water had been good enough for me. Yep, I was that kid. No I don’t have hepatitis and yes I am suprised that I don’t.
There are various lessons to take away from this story. First, make sure you properly deal with human sewage or your children, or someone else’s children, will find a way to become covered in it. Second, do not let a five year old drive a lawn tractor unsupervised with a slew of children behind him, nothing good can come of that. Finally, the big take away, forgiveness and humor. If you have siblings, you must learn the art of forgiveness and learn to laugh things off. If you are not able to do these two things you will be deep in doo doo and take it from me and Julie, being deep in doo doo is NOT where you want to be!