Friday, July 29, 2011

I hath drunk from thy healing waters, Princess Owatonna

My parents are relatively trustworthy people. However, when their college friends come over for the weekend and storytime rolls around after a few beers/dirty martinis, I think I have a valid reason to trust them less.  This is what went down that night, as they recounted their many visits to the guys’ hometown, Owatonna, Minnesota:

MOM’S FRIEND: Oh God, did they ever make you drink from the Owatonna Princess?

DAD: Those are some healing waters, right there!

MOM: Oh yes. I had to drink from the Princess.

DAD’S FRIEND: And she was healed of all her infirmities!

[They all laugh. I stare. The conversation shifts.]

ME: Whoa, hang on. Wait a second. What is this Princess fountain?

DAD: You’ve never drunk from the Owatonna Princess fountain?

ME: Nope.

DAD: Yes you have! Of course you’ve drunk from the Owatonna Princess! You’re my son, and Schroeder boys drink from the Princess.

DAD’S FRIEND: Healing waters!

[Smirks. Snickers.]

ME: No, I haven’t.

DAD: Are you sure?

ME: I swear by the Princess herself.


MOM’S FRIEND: Ugh. I refused to drink from the Owatonna Princess. It was too gross and I’m not that kind of lady.

DAD: Well you need to. How do you expect to ever experience the fullness of joy without drinking from the healing Owatonna Princess Fountain?

DAD’S FRIEND: [Stands, gesturing towards heaven.]

O, Princess Owatonna,
one sip of thy cool flowing waters
is all that I desire
…or need.
Bless me with thy watery beauty
that falls freely from thy willowy locks…
I need consume nothing more!

[They snicker and punch each other in the arm. A knucks bump is shared.]

I would say that I had reason to be concerned. Though they very well could have been talking about an actual fountain somewhere in Owatonna, this was beginning to sound like either a reference to some bizarre drug experience or a disgusting sexual encounter. NEITHER OF WHICH I WANTED TO HEAR ABOUT.  (I wouldn’t even include them on my other sex blog.)

Needless to say, I dropped the subject, assuming this was some sort of deranged local Owatonnean practice or rite-of-passage that I really didn’t want to hear about.

Weeks pass and I forget about the Princess. On one weekend my dad and I take a road trip to visit my grandpa, who lives in Owatonna, for his birthday. We eat angelfood cake and the conversation mysteriously shifts to, you guessed it, the Princess Owatonna Fountain.

DAD: Can you believe Brian has never drunk from the Princess?


DAD: Healing waters, right there!

ME: You know about the Princess Fountain too?

MY AUNT: Of course! It’s the very heartbeat of Owatonna history and culture! You have not LIVED until you have drunk from the Princess. 

By the smirks on their faces, I can tell that they’re putting me on. This is obviously some sort of inside joke that all Owatonneans have about some kind of frat-house initiation that they all do to outsiders which ultimately ends with the visitor embarrassed and sore, possibly dripping wet and feeling a little violated.

DAD: I’ll take you to the Princess before we leave today.

ME: Like sh** you will.

DAD: Hope you brought your camera!

ME: I’m uncomfortable.

DAD: You could blog about this!

ME: IF I live to make it back to my computer, which I’ll probably use to tell the authorities about you instead.

DAD: Can’t you trust your father?

ME: Not if he’s from Owatonna.

DAD: This is non-negotiable.

ME: I need to make some calls.

Before we left town, Dad drove me to a park with a stream running through it and he said, “There she is. Princess Owatonna.” And I saw this:

[Click to embiggen so you can read THE EPIC LEGEND.]

Princess Owatonna is REAL. And it’s an actual fountain. From mineral springs, which do have healthful and sometimes healing qualities.

I took a drink. It smelled like sulfur and tasted slightly of metal. I’ve drunk from natural mineral springs before in Bad Hamburg, Germany and I’ve had much worse—warm waters that tasted like liquid sand or human sweat, which were apparently wonderfully good for my health and well-being. This, however, was cool and refreshing, though a little mineraly, and I have no idea how it cured a dying Native American princess. Frankly, I was just happy that this experience didn’t leave me tarred and feathered.

So how about that? My parents are relatively trustworthy people.


  1. I'm surprised your parents haven't commented on this yet! Especially your dad. Well, I really enjoyed this story, even though the writer of Wikipedia totally thought Princess Owatanna was made up. I know I spelled that wrong but, meh.

  2. My sentiments exactly!

    She may have been made up. What a fun story though, huh?