A few years ago my husband and I and two of our teenage daughters decided to take a trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Since we had been there twice before, we wanted to take a different road or trail that was scenic. We drove for many miles through valleys and gullies, amongst the beautiful pines, and it wasn’t a road that was traveled too much. As we drove along we came upon a gas station that looked as though it had seen better days, but our gas tank was getting low so we stopped to refuel. When I asked the attendant if I could use the restroom, he informed me there was none inside but there was one “up yonder” on the hill.
It seemed a long ways up there, but as nature was calling I decided it was now or never. The girls and my husband said they would wait in the car, so I reluctantly trudged up the incline to what looked like a dilapidated old shack, tipped to one side. I hesitated, but there were only two choices, either enter or take to the bushes.
The day was real sultry, and as I pushed the creaky door shut I didn’t realize it had fallen down into a crevice on the floor. The inside was as dark as a sack of black cats, and none-the-Iess hot and stuffy.
As I got ready to leave, I tugged and pulled with all my strength, but it didn’t budge an inch. By this time I was getting frantic and I imagined lizards and rattlesnakes all around me. I discovered a hole in the door where the door knob used to be, so I lowered myself and peeped through the hole and happened to see a man and his little boy walking by in the distance, evidently going to the men’s restroom “up younder.”
I yelled at the top of my voice and asked him if he would please come and help get me out of there. He didn’t hear me so I yelled twice more. He stopped and looked around, wondering where the voice came from. He finally must have gotten the drift so he came over and discovered what the problem was. He lifted the door up out of the groove and stepped back. I thanked him several times and he didn’t say a word, but just walked away smiling to himself with a big grin on his face.
I often wondered what kind of a tale he told his wife when he got back to his car about how he helped a lady out of the privy.
When I got back to our car I found them enjoying a bottle of pop and munching candy bars. Seeing this I was quite irritated, remarking that the least they could have done was to come’ looking for me since I was gone a long time before returning. My husband replied, “Oh, I thought you fell in.”
Mrs. William Urben
Worthing, South Dakota
Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.