Mourning the Lost…Porta Potti Cap


Our campground at Banff

We had just finished a fantastic day in the Canadian Rockies. Dusk was fast approaching, and my wife was busily cooking our evening meal while I tried to make heads or tails out of the thousands of receipts I had in my pocket.

Ladies, please be aware that most of us men have been constructed with just one attention span. Yes, we really are from Mars! Venusians can concentrate on many tasks at once-I believe "multitasking" is the current buzz word!-but not Martians. That's why women are the mothers of the family and not us men! I'm sure now that my family must have come into the tent trailer several times, but because the pile of expenses was taller than my laptop (Good thing that laptops are not as high as home computers!), I didn't even notice them. It wasn't until I had finally finished the task and was waiting for our dinosaur laptop (It is old, quite old!) To shut down, that I noticed that almost an hour had gone by. Preparing dinner generally takes less than half an hour. Where was my family?

I heard some voices outside the trailer and went out to inspect. I found two sad-faced boys and a worried wife staring down our site's wide-open sewer hole. Why???

"What happened?" I inquired innocently. "Did someone fall into our sewer?"

"Worse!" Was their collective reply.

What could be worse than having someone fall down a sewer, especially if it was a sewer at our tent site? As I looked around, my marvelous observations skills began to kick in. There, on the grass beside the sewer intake, sat our Portapotti.

At our previous campsite (see "The Cost of Your Stay will be Your Wallet), we had been forced to learn that we didn't have to haul our Portapotti all over the campground to empty it, we could simply empty it into the sewer intake at most of our campsites. Yes, this must have been what they'd done. But why the long faces? "You emptied the Portapotti," I observed, totally oblivious to the rolling eyes. "And now, you can't get the cover back on the intake!"

But their expressions went even graver: "No, worse!"

I was beginning to get really worried, worried enough to join in looking down that tiny hole. But there really wasn't much to see. Just black sewer water, and was that a tiny twig floating on the top?

"Did you loose your ring?" I asked my younger son, who loves wearing mood rings.

My wife nervously bit her lip. "We lost the cap to the Portapotti," she said with a sigh.

So THAT was the only problem! "Hey," I said, "we'll look for it after dinner. There's four of us, surely it didn't go THAT far!"

"You're not getting this!" Insisted my wife. "The cap is gone. Gone!"

"Don't worry so much!" I started to exclaim, but my observations skills were beginning to sharpen. My wife never gets worked up about misplacing things. My eyes quickly shifted back to the hole . . . "It's . . ."

"Yup!" Was the unwelcome reply. "When we were rinsing out the Portapotti, the force of the water pushed it into the hole. We tried to pull it out with a branch, but all we managed to do was to make it sink."

I looked at their sad eyes and then at the hole and started to laugh. "Don't worry guys, we will find another one on our way back home!"

"But how will we keep it from leaking?" Wondered my boys.

"I guess we'll just have to empty it before we move camp," responded my wife, her usual self-assurance starting to return.

"And if we can't," I continued, "We'll use electrical tape over the opening. It should be strong enough to keep the … you know . . . The… the liquids together-INside."

And the matter was settled.

But not really. We were reminded daily that we needed a Portapotti cap, as there was nothing to stop the portable toilet from spreading its delicious aroma around our lovely tent trailer. Windows were kept open at all times! We never did find a cap, and now that I'm back home writing about this notorious event, I am reminded that I still need to go to the store to find one. But why? After all, we won't need it until next year, anyway! But will I remember it on time for our next trip? Remember, once a Martian always a Martian!

Life has enough unpleasant surprises. Why add to it? The Bible is clear on that: "Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matt 6:34 NIV)

This is why Jesus advices: "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself." (Matt 6:34 NIV) Instead let's take the time to rejoice: "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" (Phil 4:4 NIV) Instead of numbering the worried-some tasks ahead, let's count our blessings.

Have you noticed how much God lavishes us with His love and with His presence? He is amazing, and I relish the times when I can be alone with Him and savor His presence. He loves me and He loves you as well. Take the time to notice the multitude of gifts He bestows on you. Go out early in the morning and walk with Jesus. You will notice nature from a different perspective and your problems will start to seem less gigantic. You have a forever friend. Get to know him. He loves you!

By the way, does anyone know where I can find a replacement Portapotti cap?

Rob Chaffart

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