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How ‘groover’ became a nickname for camp toilet … and our youngest child

I’m sure you won’t be surprised when I preface this post by saying it is an odd tale that involves cemeteries, camp toilets and my stepsons. Now’s the time to turn back if you’re not ready for that combination.

Still here? Let’s go …

Yesterday, Sweetums tagged me in a Facebook post about the delicate balance, shall we say, involved in going potty in the woods. He did that because he teases me about the first time he took me camping in the wilderness. By wilderness, I mean the closest bathroom was five miles away. Let’s just say it was an adjustment.

But while looking at the post he was using to tease me, I noticed something odd – one illustration referred to a camp potty as a “groover.” I’d never heard that reference. To me, Groover is Sweetums’ youngest son. It’s a nickname we gave him to use when we refer to him in our writing (You know, to save him the embarrassment of having us as parents).

Now to connect that to our love of roaming through cemeteries: One of the things I love to do in addition to admiring the beautiful craftsmanship of funereal art is to make a note of quirky or fun southern names I can use in my writing. One day when we came across the grave of a man named “Wirt,” we laughed about the oddity of the name and bemoaned the fact that Sweetums had not named one of his offspring Wirt. So Eldest Son became “Wirt.” Bless his heart.

Another time we noticed the grave for someone named “Groover” and decided it fit the youngest boy who was always dancing around the house. We thought it was cute and didn’t realize we were naming him for a toilet. I swear we didn’t.

So now for how a camp toilet came to be called a groover: Back in the day, before the introduction of nice models that resembled portable house toilets, explorers and others with homes on the range used holes in the ground or, if a container were called for, whatever was handy. As it happened, metal ammo boxes were the right size to sit and go boom-boom, according to an article on Of course, the boxes were not equipped with nice smooth seats, so the pottier would have to sit atop the rough edges of the rectangular metal box, leaving – don’t get ahead of me here – grooves on their tushies.

So is there a moral to this story? Of course. Have I ever let y’all down? Plus you get a bonus moral:

  • When going potty outdoors, I’d advise learning to hover, even with modern camp toilets.
  • Don’t nickname your kid for a potty, if you happen to know in advance that’s what you’re doing. Otherwise … oh well.



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