Butter Rum Cartoon

Butter Rum Cartoon

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Friday, December 1, 2017


When I was a teenager, my big brother Paul had me design my own airplane in a notebook of pages of graph paper, and then he built it for me! Paul is an airplane genius and an expert model builder, as you can see by these pictures of me holding the end result. Then we went to the school field to see if "Old Elephant Wings" could fly.

Paul preferred free flight models rather than controlled, because of the adventure and the freedom of watching your creation control itself and go where it will. I had watched Paul fly several model planes (incidentally he became a pilot and actually flew me in real planes, too) and they all flew great. Old Elephant Wings was different. Oh, it flew! It made big spirals as it flew higher and higher with it's little engine, and I dreamed of being that little pilot Paul had fashioned, sitting out in front with nothing to obstruct his view and feeling the wind in his face. I gazed in wonder at my design, climbing ever higher, until finally the fuel ran out.

But then it's course suddenly changed from spiral to straight, and as it glided off making us have to chase it, my design proved to be a little faulty, for the plane began to make tremendous stalls -- diving straight down, then arcing and ascending upward until stopping, turning downward, and diving again -- over and over, while traveling in an otherwise straight direction. Now being the little pilot, this would have been fun, except inevitably as it finally reached the ground some distance away, Old Elephant Wings would make one last giant stall, then turn down and nosedive hard onto the dirt, bending the wheel and wreaking havoc with the pilot's styrofoam feet.

Nevertheless Paul would repair the damage, and we'd fly the plane again and again, always letting it take it's crazy course. Old Elephant Wings is gone now, and I don't know where. Today Paul sent me these pictures that I didn't even know existed, from that happy time; and so I share them with you.

For the complete contents of the Butter Rum Cartoon, click here.

Monday, October 30, 2017


I now post on a Facebook page each day's Mass readings in the beautiful and accurate Douay-Rheims version. Click HERE to read them. As my grandfather, Peter Haugland, wrote in my mother's Bible in 1922, "In this book is answer to the deepest hungering of your heart. God bless you in the reading of it."

For the complete contents of the Butter Rum Cartoon, click here.

Saturday, August 19, 2017


Imagine you moved into a large house and were told that you have free run of the whole place--except for the room on the left at the top of the stairs. That door would be always locked. What room would then occupy your thoughts more than any other?

I was seventeen. It was 1966. We had moved to Sultan, Washington the previous summer, my Dad, a minister, being assigned to that parish. I heard rumors that there was a nudist camp near Sultan, but I didn't yet know where. Then came an article in the "Everett Herald" about nudism. It mentioned the Lake Associates nudist camp on the Sultan Basin Road, and also Fraternity Snoqualmie, a large nudist camp "four miles south of Issaquah." That's all I knew, but it was enough. I had never been to Issaquah, a town 43 miles south of Sultan, on Highway 90. I would find it.

I told my parents I was going camping for the weekend, loaded up my bicycle saddlebags with camping gear, and pedaled off. I rode my bike out of Sultan, then ditched it and the supplies deep in the underbrush, out of sight, and walked out to the shoulder of the highway and, carrying only a coat, stuck out my thumb.

Fortunately I've always looked younger than my age, and it's not difficult for a boy to hitch rides. It was Friday evening, though, when I was dropped off in Issaquah--too late to try to find Fraternity Snoqualmie--but I walked around the town until finding that only one main highway headed south, and so assumed that was to be my route the next morning.

Night came on. I went into the entranceway of the Issaquah High School and lay down on the concrete porch, with only my coat for warmth. Although it was summer, the nights were cool, but it was the hard concrete that finally got to me. With all my joints aching, I got up sometime in the night and went looking for a better place to sleep. I came upon a parsonage, and being a preacher's kid and knowing about a minister's kindness and charity, if I were caught, I stepped into the back yard and lay on the lawn. The hard ground was a lot softer than the concrete, and I slept.

At dawn I was wet with dew, and cold. Before the parsonage household woke up, I was eating a cheap breakfast purchased at a local market. And dried out by the morning sun and with a full stomach, I hitchhiked south out of town.

I couldn't very well tell the driver who picked me up to take me to the nearest nudist camp, nor was I even sure it was the right way. I just said that I was going to a friend's house a few miles down the highway, and then stared at the roadside to see any sign of Fraternity Snoqualmie. To my excited delight, there it was, right out there in plain view--a sign on the left of the highway with the camp's name on it, next to a long driveway going up the hill. Not wanting to be obvious, I waited about a half-mile farther before saying, "Here it is. Here's his house. Thank you." He dropped me off, and I acted like I was walking to a house. When he drove out of sight, I came back out to the highway and walked north to the road leading to what was described as the largest nudist camp in the Northwest.

It turned out to be a long, long driveway--quite a hike on foot. I stepped quietly in order to hear any approaching car, and when hearing one, I quickly slipped into the underbrush and hid as it went by, peering out and imagining that soon that family in the car will all be naked. It seemed unreal--too good to be true. Further up, I came to a stretch in the road that had a cliff on one side and a dirt wall on the other, and dreaded anyone coming then. To my horror, I heard footsteps! A man was walking down the road and coming toward me, around the bend still out of sight. I had nowhere to go. I hated the thought of running back down the hill, and besides, he was now too close to avoid. He would see me running down the hill when he rounded the bend. There was only a small, scraggly bush growing out of the dirt wall, and I hid behind it hopelessly. Not only could someone see me through the bush, but when even with me I wouldn't even be behind it, but beside it, in plain view. I hid as best I could, and stayed perfectly still. Miraculously, the man walked by focusing on the road several feet in front of him, and never saw me! As I continued my hike, I wondered why a man was walking down that road anyway. Perhaps he had sneaked in, like me, and was leaving. Or perhaps he was hiking and would have enjoyed throwing a trespasser off the cliff.

Eventually I could hear people. Adults and children were both laughing and shouting, and it sounded like many of them. The road took a turn to the left and I glimpsed a gatehouse and jumped back, then left the road and made my way through the woods. Western Washington State woods are full of heavy underbrush, which is wonderful for someone trying not to be seen. But for some reason, when I sneak, I get a nervous stomach; and often when I get a nervous stomach, I have to poop. It came on strong, and there was nothing I could do about it but squat down and go. No toilet paper. I picked large leaves from a tree and did my best to wipe. The leaves were thin. It was not a good experience.

I continued through the woods, following the sounds of the people, and finally came to the open grounds of Fraternity Snoqualmie. There was a broken-down school bus at the edge of the clearing, with no one in the immediate vicinity, and behind this bus I took off all my clothes except for my shoes and hid my clothes beneath a big board. I then, for the first time in my life, walked out into the view of men, women and children, stark naked.

As I walked down a driveway toward the crowds, I saw a woman coming toward me, walking up the same driveway. Moments later, I passed the first nude woman I'd ever really seen. She was probably in her forties, slightly heavy-set, but not unattractive. Her breasts swayed gracefully as she walked. She ignored me as though passing me on a city sidewalk, but I ogled her as much as I subtly could, and suddenly a problem arose. I knew by then, somehow, that an erection is not quite proper in a nudist camp, and was horrified to see a man now walking up the driveway. Suddenly I had a great idea. Nudists sunbathe! I could pretend I was sunbathing. So I scurried over and lay belly down on the grass beside the driveway, with my cheek resting on my hands and my eyes watching the man. As he passed by, he gave me an odd look. Later I figured out why: Never having been nude in the sun before, I was almost sickeningly white, except for my hands and face (I even wore long-sleeve shirts as a rule), and on my feet I wore, not only shoes, but black leather dress shoes, the ones I wore to church! And to top it off, leaves do not toilet paper make. It was in a restroom there, that I discovered I had poop smeared on my butt. That man was very kind only to give me an odd look. Oh, yes, one more thing: They have an area for sunbathing. I was lying in the parking lot.

When my problem went down, I got up and walked closer to the crowds, only to have the problem arise again. This time I just sat on the ground and blocked the problem with my legs. I was near the restroom then. Naked men and woman and children were going in and out, and during a pause in people I slipped into the restroom and into a stall to rest (and use real toilet paper). Some wet paper towels later, I walked out into virtual public in only my shoes. (I've heard many people have nightmares about being suddenly naked in public. Curiously, I've had these dreams, too, but they have always been good dreams.)

As it turned out, this was the weekend of Fraternity Snoqualmie's annual Seafair celebration, and the park was packed! There were hundreds of people there--naked people! In less than twenty minutes I overcame my problem, and I began to meander through the many visitors--a very white boy with tan hands and face, wearing black dress shoes, trying to fit in.

And somehow I did. It was as if I were invisible. I sat around among the people, waited in line at the snack bar, having returned to my clothes to get some money from my pants pocket, and no one even spoke to me.

I remembered how traumatic it was the first time I had to undress in front of others. Only I had seen myself since puberty, and I thought I looked funny. People would surely laugh if they saw me, right? Then came P.E. in junior high, and I was required to shower after class with two dozen other boys. This was a dreadful experience for a sheltered, preacher's kid. Other boys seemed to take it in stride, laughing and joking and talking about teachers and school and sports and TV shows. Of course they looked okay. I looked funny. But then no one laughed at me. Most of them were circumcised, many weren't, it was just one or the other, no big deal. Some had smaller genitals than I, some larger. There were varying degrees and areas of tan, some different colors of skin. A lot of boys were fatter than I and jiggled when they walked. Some were really skinny. Really, I didn't look that funny after all. And pretty soon I, too, was laughing and joking and talking about teachers and school and sports and TV shows. Taking showers in school became easy for me, although having other boys snap me with towels was hard to get used to.

Now I was having some of those old feelings. Maybe women would laugh at me, maybe children would. For sure, this time, I did look funny, with my odd tan and dress shoes. But no one laughed. I was as accepted as anyone.

And I saw that TV commercials and magazines had been very narrow in portraying the human body. It turns out that bodies are as varied as faces. Here it was like someone took a city block of people and stripped them all. But no one was embarrassed. No one ridiculed. All were accepted, even the obese people whose fat hung down enough to cover their genitals. These people would have had fun with the fig leaf idea in the Garden of Eden.

There was a volleyball game going on, so I went over to watch it, sitting down on a wooden bench right next to a very extroverted girl about eighteen or nineteen who was shouting out advice to the players. She leaned back and rested her arms on the back of the bench, almost touching me, with her large, firm breasts poking right out there only two feet from my wandering eyes. But my problem didn't arise. I was relaxed. I was having a good time.

Later I went over finally to take a dip in the large swimming pool. I took off my shoes and set them on the grass, and enjoyed the water. Meanwhile I noticed a couple men sitting nearby watching me. They looked like they might suspect me. Their dark glasses made them look like some kind of agents. When I got out to dry in the sun, they beckoned me to come over to them. I did, and one of them asked me, "What club do you belong to?"

"The Lake Associates at Sultan," I said.

"You're pretty white," he said.

"Yeah," I said. "We don't really get up there that often."

"How do you like it there?" the other asked me.

"Oh, it's okay," I said. "It's just a lake mainly."

He nodded slightly, and the two seemed fairly satisfied. Either they were checking me out, or just simply curious why I was such a white guy with tan hands and face. I got up and walked away, then my tender feet reminded me. I came back, looking over at the two men and said, "I forgot my shoes," picked them up, and walked off with them in my hand.

I continued to enjoy the warm, sunny day. It wasn't long before the novelty of nudity wore off, and I simply felt, for lack of a better word, released. Curiosity turned into appreciation. Trespassing, amidst hundreds of strangers, I felt incredibly free. I was now completely relaxed about my body. These beautiful people accepted themselves, and me. That distracted tightness seen so commonly in the faces of people on the street was not seen here. People seemed real, open, relaxed, happy. Even that first day, that first real nudist experience, I eventually disregarded the fact that we were naked, and was just encouraged by a joyful presence of humanity I had never seen before.

Later in the day, I took a walk around the grounds, walking back up the parking lot and around the vacation trailers. A nude mother stepped out of one and asked me, "Have you seen my kids? Lunch is ready and they're off somewhere." She assumed I somehow knew her kids. I acted like I did, but told her I hadn't seen them, and walked on while she peered from her doorway down the hill and over the crowds. I had lived a life full of inhibitions and embarrassment, was now lying and trespassing in order to overcome it, and this lady's worry was that her kids were having so much fun that they'd be late for lunch. This was a beautiful and wonderful place to be.

Later that afternoon, I glanced at my shoulders and saw they were reddening. I had never thought to bring sun block lotion, and my pale skin was sensitive. I had exposed it to the sun for seven hours! So, it was, sadly, time for me to leave. Perhaps some people noticed the red boy with tan hands and face walking in his black leather oxfords up toward the broken-down school bus. My clothes were thankfully still under the board behind the bus. It felt constricting and lousy putting them on, my sunburn of course not helping, and I crackled my way back through the underbrush. As I walked down the long road toward the highway, I dashed into the brush a couple times to hide from passing cars. But this time, peering out, instead of thinking that the people in each car would soon all be naked, I thought only how fortunate they are. They had the key to that room on the left at the top of the stairs, and it was a good room.

I hitchhiked back to Sultan, arriving that evening, retrieved my bicycle from the underbrush, and rode home. It was hard to hide my sunburn and it bothered me terribly for days. Telling Mom I had gone without a shirt while camping, she rubbed lotion on my burned back, too polite to comment about the burn extending down into my pants.

For the complete contents of the Butter Rum Cartoon, click here.

Friday, August 4, 2017


On our recent cross-country trip, my wife Micki and I stopped at Dodge City, Kansas, and after some adventures finally found the Boot Hill Museum, including the famous and accurate Front Street reproduction. While perusing the Indian exhibit, I came upon the buffalo room. At center front stands a complete, stuffed buffalo. On the wall to the right hangs a buffalo hide, for you to feel what a buffalo actually feels like. And above the stuffed buffalo is a row of video screens telling about the great beast and its past. Then it shows a buffalo stampede. It's tremendous!  On all screens the animals are running, and Indians are shown riding horses among them and shooting arrows. Speakers rumble with the sound, and the floor literally shakes! Thanks to some motor in the floor, it feels like you're really standing in the midst of a huge, buffalo stampede! It's awesome!

I ran and got Micki and practically pulled her to the buffalo room, where we waited for the next simulated stampede. Then it came, and Micki was indeed impressed, and we stood there sharing the experience.

While we stood there, a family approached, looking at other exhibits. They could of course hear the rumbling of the stampede, but they didn't know about the great effect of the shaking floor. I didn't want them to miss it; in a couple minutes it would stop. Only their young son noticed me looking at them, and so I motioned for him to come and then pointed at the floor beside me. Under the circumstances it seemed a perfectly normal thing for me to do, but the boy gave me a very strange look. Nevertheless I did it again, beckoned him to come stand next to me. Then it dawned on me how, without knowing about the floor shaking, this must have looked to him! Some strange man was trying to get a little boy to come stand beside him. Fortunately his father didn't notice.

Before the stampede effects stopped, the family did wander into the buffalo room and felt the floor and got excited and the boy (hopefully) realized I wasn't a pervert.

Later when I told Micki what I did, she said, "It's good you didn't also say, 'Feel this.'"

For the complete contents of the Butter Rum Cartoon, click here.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017