I see that the News-Miner web page carries an ad for a calendar with outhouse photos.

Outhouses on both western New York boyhood farms of my grandparents were hardly a photographic attraction. My German grandfather stocked real toilet paper in his outhouse. My Polish grandfather made us make do with newspapers and torn-up Montgomery Ward catalogs.

Going to either of these outbuildings was uneventful unless a dive-bomber wasp shared one of the double seats with me.

Gosia Nuwer

I always wondered why some outhouses have two seats. I’d wait outside an hour for someone to finish up rather than sit alongside someone.

When I was back in school, I knew a guy named Randy. He talked a couple times about the rotten stunt his father pulled on him. Here’s what happened. His dad had dropped his wallet in an outhouse hole.

He grabbed his little boy by the ankles and lowered him down the hole until Randy could make the grab.

To this day, because of that tale, I am very careful about dropping any possession down the hole. If my wallet went downward, no amount of bills, credit cards or even pictures of grandchildren could convince me to take the plunge.

However, when I was visiting my buddy Jimmy in Independence, Missouri, years ago, there was a great deal of excitement because an old outhouse was excavated.

Local historians dug out old bottles, a revolver and automobile parts. “I’d like to take a look at the guy who could pass a carburetor,” Jimmy cracked at the time.

On assignment in Central Indiana, I interviewed a police chief who for some reason told me that he and his high school buddies ticked off a principal by pushing over his outhouse. “He interrogated us, and everyone of us lied,” the chief said.

Hank and Gosia Nuwer’s Poland cabin

Storks frequently visit

“I know about a couple of outhouses got pushed over like that,” I said. “Why did you lie?”

He paused. “Our principal was in the outhouse.”

My wife and I own a comfortable but plain cabin deep in the woods east of Warsaw in Poland. We have blueberry bushes and yellow mushrooms that make great eating with scrambled eggs. I love the visiting Eurasian hoopoes with their wondrous crown of feathers and the storks that build giant nests on neighboring roofs. Out back is a functioning outhouse but we opt to use indoor plumbing unless the indoor bathroom is occupied.

I’ve lost track how many state-owned cabins and Airbnb cabins in Alaska I’ve stayed in that had outhouses. In Delta Junction, I came too close to a bull moose chomping lily pads and hid in a concrete outhouse 45 minutes until I was sure he was gone. When I came back at 2 a.m. and told my son about the adventure, he was very sympathetic at age 16. “Well, it is Alaska, Dad,” he chirped.

My wife, Gosia, first visited Alaska from Poland to see me six years ago. She blushed when we went to an Aces hockey game and the kiss cam settled on us. We drove from Anchorage to Fairbanks and stayed in cabins in Nenana and just north of Fox. The Nenana cabin had a switch that turned on heat and light in the nearby outhouse.

“That cabin does everything but do your business for you,” I told Gosia.

The Fox outhouse had no door. Gosia came running from her “meditation” and gulped that wolves were close by.

“No, they were probably only coyotes,” I said.

“That’s no comfort,” she shouted.

With that in mind, I think I will buy an outhouse calendar. She’ll really be surprised, don’t you agree?”

Contact Managing Editor Hank Nuwer at 907-459-7562