Piss Call

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.One morning, I was getting ready to go to my water exercise class at the YMCA and running late. I considered making a pit stop before putting on my swimsuit and clothes, but since I didn’t want my friend who was picking me up to wait for me and didn’t feel it was an urgent need, I decided against it. After I got in the pool later, I wished I’d gone, but I managed to make it through the class.

My body is like a little kid. You ask her if she needs to go to the bathroom before a long car trip, and she says she doesn’t. Then, you’re on the open road in the middle of nowhere, and she says, “Mommy, I have to go.”

When my brother and I were kids, and our family took long road trips, my dad had a solution to this problem. Whenever he needed to go, he said, “Piss call” and pulled over. He then got out and did his business alongside the road.

My brother found this hilarious, and like his father, he wanted to do the same thing. My mother said my dad was a card. At the age of twelve, I found this fascinating. The only cards I knew about were playing cards and greeting cards. How could a person be a card?

Years later, after my mother passed away, and I was a registered music therapist working in a nursing home and with senior citizens in other facilities, Dad and I planned a trip to Los Alamos, New Mexico, to visit my brother and his family. My father had recently suffered a stroke and occasionally found it difficult to express himself or understand what was being said to him.

After driving for about an hour and a half, we stopped in Kaycee for gas. It was around eleven o’clock. I figured we would stop in Casper for lunch. Since that was only about half an hour away, I again decided I didn’t need to use the facilities. When we reached the outskirts of Casper, Dad suggested we go on to Wheatland, another ninety miles, for lunch. By this time, I had to go and didn’t think I could wait another hour and a half.

When I asked if we could pull into a gas station so I could use the restroom, Dad thought I was hungry and suggested I get a milk shake or an order of French fries at a nearby Burger King to tide me over until we reached Wheatland. We kept going back and forth, me explaining I needed to make a pit stop and him insisting I get a snack. Finally, I said “Piss call.”

That did the trick, although to my surprise and relief, he didn’t pull over. Sometimes, you have to speak a person’s language in order to be understood. We ended up going to Burger King, and I used the facilities, then bought a milk shake for the road.


What do you remember about road trips you took with your family when you were growing up? What about when you were an adult? Do you still take road trips with your family? I’d love to read your responses, either on your own blog with a link to this post or in the comments field below. Happy summer, and safe travels.


Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
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Author: abbiejohnsontaylor

I'm the author of three novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir. My work has appeared in various journals and anthologies. I'm visually impaired and live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my totally blind late husband who was paralyzed by two strokes. Please visit my website at: https://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com

8 thoughts on “Piss Call”

  1. Great post Abbie! I have done my best to carry on the “piss call” tradition with my kids, but it’s a little harder to get away with on crowded Florida highways! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Abbie, I enjoyed this post. My family never took a road trip together. There were too many of us, seven children and my parents. But my father never wanted to go anywhere, even to visit his relatives. He said he could not leave the farm. After I was grown, I drove my parents down to Florida to make the rounds of aunts and uncles. My father drove me nuts as he directed me in where and how to drive. Once we got home, I vowed I would never take him anywhere again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glenda, your experience reminded me of a time when I was driving home with my father from a book selling event in Colorado. Once we hit the Wyoming border, the road was clear of traffic, so Dad immediately increased the speed to 90 miles per hour, then swore and slowed down again. I wrote a poem about this, which appears in my collection, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. I may post it here if I haven’t already. Thank you for your comment.


  3. When I was in college in L:aramie, Wyoming, my college roommate and I took the bus back to Casper for Easter break. While waiting for the bus to arrive, we sat and drank a couple of cups of hot tea. Before boarding the bus I visited the ladies room, which was so filthy I decided to wait until I got on the bus. Once on the bus, and after it took off from the station, I went back to the bus restroom, to discover that it was out of order. I had no choice but to return to my seat with a full bladder. As we drove along, the feeling grew more and more urgent. To make matters worse, my roommate got the giggles about my plight, which quickly spread to me. Having giggles when you are about to burst your bladder isn’t a comfortable feeling, to say the least. It’s a LONG way across the Medicine Bow Cut-off under those circumstances. Before too long, I was seriously considering asking the bus driver to pull over and let me seek out a sagebrush to hide behind! After what seemed like at least twelve hours, we finally pulled into the Greyhound Bus Station in Casper. I dove off the bus and flew into the depot. I found the only restroom and threw open the door……….only to find it occupied by a man. The Continental Bus Station was just across the street, so I raced over there, only to find all the doors locked. I rushed back to the Greyhound Depot, just praying I would make it. The restroom was empty. Oh glorious relief! That was a bus trip that has been etched permanently into my mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nowadays, there’s a rest stop between Medicine Bow and Casper. Either it wasn’t there then or the bus didn’t stop there for some reason. I’m glad you made it without wetting your pants.


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