Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Place it near a cornfield and they will come, or something like that July 13, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 7:09 AM
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“IF WE DON’T FIND a bathroom soon, I’m just going to go in a cornfield.”

Such prophetic words I pronounced as my husband and I recently entered the burg of Bellechester, population 172, mostly in Goodhue County, partly in Wabasha County, in southeastern Minnesota.

Honestly, it isn’t like I haven’t peed in a cornfield. I detasseled corn in the 1970s; I’ve squatted between corn rows.

But I’m not exactly a teen any more and the idea of walking into a cornfield on a scorching summer morning to pee didn’t appeal to me.

So, after asking a local where I could find a public restroom in Bellechester and being told there were none and we’d need to drive 12 miles to Lake City, the cornfield option seemed a very real possibility.

Not quite believing the man, though, my husband directed our van toward Bellechester’s one-block business district. Spotting the Bellechester Tavern and the Bellechester American Legion, I figured I’d dash inside one or the other and we’d be on our way.

This former bank is home to the Bellechester American Legion. Yes, I took time to photograph the Legion and the tavern even though I really, really had to go. I love old buildings, what can I say?

Look at the gorgeous architectural detail on the former bank. Yes, I know, I really should be moving along.

But wait, one more photo. Look at this faded signage on the side of the Legion.

Well, as long as I’m taking pictures, I may as well show you the bar I wished was open.

As luck would have it, the tavern and the Legion were closed. I considered the busy repair shop on the corner, for like two seconds. There’s something about walking into a garage full of men that left me crossing my legs (figuratively speaking) and nearly sprinting the other direction.

And that direction would be toward the porta potty which my kind, kind husband spotted way over yonder on the far end of a park, by the ball diamond and next to…the cornfield.

As close to a cornfield as it could be without being “in” the cornfield.

I started heading that way until my thoughtful spouse suggested we drive over there since it was too far to walk in the heat of the morning. That worked for me.

Around the corner and down a gravel road he drove to the edge of the cornfield. I handed my camera to him (I always have my camera out) and nearly rocketed out the door and into the porta potty next to the cornfield.

When I flung open the outhouse door while simultaneously buckling my belt (Hey, would you stay inside a porta potty any longer than you had to?), I realized I had made a major mistake.

After stepping out of the porta potty and before realizing the paparazzi was snapping pictures. I was reaching up to buckle my belt, just in case you are wondering whether I’m examining my hand.

That error would have been handing my camera over to my husband after carrying on about peeing in a cornfield. He most definitely recognized a photo op when he saw one.

And that, dear readers, is my peeing (almost) in a cornfield story and I’m sticking to it.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling