Butter Rum Cartoon

Butter Rum Cartoon

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Saturday, May 17, 2008


It was a blue Falcon station wagon found at a used car dealership on Evergreen Way in Everett, Washington. After some talking over a desk and some paper signing, I drove it off the lot and home to Sultan, about twenty-five miles away, where I parked it in our garage, where I began to make it "my car."

It was 1971, the year I finally got out of the Army, and I was using crutches--not from being wounded in the war, but from being stupid on a rope swing. So happy to be free of the military machine, I celebrated with my nephews earlier that year on Burlington Hill, where there was a long rope swing. I wouldn't have hit the tree, it dawned on me afterwards, but thinking I would, I let go of the rope while swinging sideways before getting to the tree. It wasn't far to the ground, so I planned simply to drop and roll, but it didn't work that way. I sensed a tremendous crunch in my left ankle, and felt what was like a train carrying a confused bundle of nerves up my leg, up my body, all the way to my brain--giving me an instant headache--then back down again to my ankle. The pain exploded when the train arrived at my ankle, and was so severe that I fell in slow motion to the ground. When I landed, my body rolled over in agony, and my limp foot flopped over after it. I had broken three bones, and my foot was completely severed, seemingly held on only by screaming nerves.

By the time I got my Falcon station wagon, I had suffered through surgery reattaching my foot to my leg with two long screws, had become adept at using crutches, and still had a cast on. And for two months I hopped about in the garage, painting 631 daisies on the sides of my car, while my hair and beard grew longer. By the time the work was finished, I no longer wore a cast, and was limping about using only a cane, and the car battery was dead from my listening to its radio.

But after the battery was recharged and I backed the station wagon out into the sunlight, it was "my car." It's color was already sky blue, so I had spray painted a green field along the bottom of each side. Then I had painted a total of 631 daisies on the green fields, large daisies at the bottom and smaller and smaller ones above them, giving the impression of a field of daisies. On the hood I had painted a large sunburst. On the top of the car was a luggage rack, with two gas cans fastened to it, one at each rear corner. On the back of the car I had intended on removing the metal letters which read "FORD FALCON" and rearranging them to say "DORF FANLOC," but the plugs on the back of the letters weren't uniform, so wouldn't fit into the holes that way; so instead I left the letters off, covered all the holes, painted the back tail gate green, and painted on it the quote by Philip James Bailey, "Art is man's nature; nature is God's art."

Inside the station wagon, my Mom had humored me by creating another masterpiece. She had made a mattress for a car bed, cutting thick foam to fit, and covering it with blue material with white stars. And completely around the "bedroom" she had made curtains out of red-and-white striped material, providing total privacy, so it was possible to park even in the middle of a town and sleep through the night.

After installing a "wolf-whistle" horn, my car was complete, and my old high school friend Calvin and I started making plans to drive to New Mexico.

When the day came for us to leave, Calvin came over, along with his friend, Don, a short American Indian fellow, younger than both of us, whose behavior matched his mischievous smile. Sultan was a small town of only 960 people, so I knew Don, but didn't really like him, and was not happy when Calvin asked if he could go with us. Yet not wanting to put a damper on Calvin's hopes, I reluctantly agreed. And with a rugged tarp tied down over our stuff in the luggage rack on the top of the car, off we drove.

Don proved his mischievousness right away by pulling out a half-filled bottle of wine, and we passed it around. Afterwards Calvin and I discovered that Don had added LSD to the wine. It's effects were over by the time we got to the middle of eastern Washington, but you never would have known it by me. Fascinated by the fact that the only difference between the prairie and the highway was pavement, and seeing a hill a ways off the road, with tracks on it showing where some vehicles had attempted climbing straight up its side, I suddenly drove off the road and plowed through the small sagebrush toward the hill. Calvin and Don looked at me in disbelief, as I sped up when reaching the hill and began driving straight up it. Three-quarters of the way to the top, the car floundered and the wheels spun as we stopped and began sliding backwards. It was all I could do to keep the car straight, rather than slide sideways and roll over, and finally we were safely on flat land again. Saying little about what had just happened, we continued our journey.

Somewhere and somehow along the way to New Mexico, we had obtained a lid of "Acapulco gold" marijuana. Perhaps we purchased it from a hitchhiker; I don't remember. We gave rides to many hitchhikers, even though there was no back seat so they had to lie on the bed. And we had this grass in the car when suddenly a cop pulled us over in Albuquerque. I was afraid of being busted and managed to kick the lid of grass under the car as we got out. As it turned out, unbeknownst to us, Don had pretended to shoot the cop with his finger as we passed him, and the cop had seen it. He stopped us just to chew us out for having no respect for the law. I really didn't like that Don. After the scare, we managed to retrieve our marijuana, and off we went.

We had fun in New Mexico, spending most our time around Santa Fe and Taos. We went to a dog pound and I picked out a dog--a scruffy, nervous, little fellow. I chose him because the other dogs weren't letting him get to the food, and later the younger sister of my brother-in-law suggested a name for him that stuck: Omega. We also visited a pet shop and Calvin came out with a pet skunk. So now there were three guys, a dog and a skunk living and sleeping in a station wagon. It was cramped.

On the way across country, we had slept nights right on the main streets of little towns, except in the deserts, where I'd simply drive off the highway and over the rise, out of sight, and we'd camp out around a fire. One night I drove around in the desert with Calvin and Don sitting on the hood of the car with bows and arrows, shooting at game that would freeze before the headlights. Calvin, a farmer's son, was skilled at butchering and cooking the game over the fire. We ate at least one chicken and two rabbits that way. Our first impression of New Mexico is that everyone was friendly. While sitting openly on a bluff beside the highway, gnawing on campfire-cooked rabbit, everyone who drove by waved--unlike many hippie-haters across the nation.

Near Taos we picked up a hitchhiker who lived at the Morningstar Ranch commune, and ended up driving him home, up a mountain road so rugged that I lost a muffler. It was getting dark when we arrived, and they let us spend the night on the dirt floor of a half-underground, one-room, adobe house. It was so dark inside that I didn't know who else was in there, but I could sense from sniffles and breathing, etc. that there were several others. The next morning I used one of the outhouses, and was surprised to find that it was not a private place to sit, having large screen windows. But as hospitable as the people there were to let us sleep and defecate there, they were very standoffish and obviously distrustful. I didn't feel all that welcome, until we let it be known that we had Acapulco gold. Suddenly we were the most popular people there. Until then, they had no way of knowing we weren't undercover narcs.

A few days later, we visited another famous commune in the Taos area--the Lama Foundation. This commune was based on spirituality of sorts and no drugs or alcohol were allowed. Here the people were readily and openly friendly and welcoming. They fed us and we enjoyed watching one of their circle dances, etc.

It's interesting to note that the Morningstar Ranch commune, although famous (or infamous to some), did not last long. But the Lama Foundation is thriving to this day.

It came time that it was necessary to wash our clothes. Calvin and Don and I didn't want to fork out money for a Laundromat, and we had washboards and Fels-Naptha soap, so we drove off onto a barren side road until we came upon a creek downhill to the right. No one was anywhere to be seen, so the three of us undressed entirely to wash all our clothes at the creek. And there we sat, stark naked, when a car passed by. There was no place to hide, and the passengers gawked at the naked men scrubbing clothes on washboards. Then another car came by, and another one, and we found that we had not picked a private place at all.

Black Rock Hot Springs, near Arroyo Hondo
Afterwards we stopped at a nearby store, and someone there mentioned in laughing that they saw us washing our clothes in the creek. But instead of being upset, they told us about a nearby hot springs beside a river to the north where many people go nude. So off we went to find it, and it was as nice as described. It was like a very large hot tub, separated from the much colder river by a stone wall, and in it were several naked hippies. Calvin and Don and I thought we'd take advantage of the natural hot tub by finally bathing, but when we came to the springs with a bar of soap, the people instructed us to bathe in the river rather than get soap in the hot springs water. So we suffered with the cold for a bit, and then enjoyed the warm water with good company.

There in northern New Mexico we came upon a huge piece of land for sale, over a hundred acres, with a boarded up house in the middle. The price was good, and we envisioned buying the place when we could afford it. Instead of a commune, we would make it a community, and we each picked out the corner of the property that we wanted. In the center would be a common building(s) for all to use. The whole place we would name Bullbucker Farm (named after Bullbucker Creek in the Cascade Mountains back home), and my chosen section I would call the Butter Rum Cartoon (named after a poem I once wrote) and I would live in a tipi. The place had been long deserted, and so we unboarded the back door of the house and moved in for a couple days, sleeping on the mattress of an old bed there. It was fun to pretend we already owned it. But at one point we took a trip to the nearest town, meanwhile tying up Calvin's skunk beside the house, and when we returned, the collar lay there empty. The skunk had managed to slip out of it and run away.

Don Hausauer, 2012
It was there, at "Bullbucker Farm," that we finally figured out that we wouldn't be able to save up enough to buy the land for some time, and Calvin and Don became antsy to go back to Washington. My journeying wasn't over, and so it was there we separated. The two of them left to hitchhike home, and I ended up driving on, to Wichita, Kansas, to visit my sister, Linda.

So into their driveway came a station wagon sporting 631 daisies, and out of it came a long-haired, bearded character wearing Levis and an old, olive-drab, Army shirt. When I sat down at their kitchen table to visit, my brother-in-law, Ron, kept staring at me. Finally he said, "You look terrible!" That struck me funny.

Calvin Vos, circa 1980
I began attending the Wichita Drafting College on the G.I. Bill, and rented an apartment. On the way to school each day, I would cross some train tracks that were set about five feet above the road level, and I found that if I got to the tracks going exactly 45 mph, the car would literally fly from the upgrade to the downgrade and miss touching the train tracks at all. This jumping the tracks from ramp to ramp was smoother than if I were to thump slowly over the tracks, and so I jumped them every day. One day there were several boys playing ball in the yard just before the tracks, and I was tickled that I would surely impress them by jumping the tracks. I was so caught up in the thought of impressing them that I didn't leave room to think of my speed, and just as I got to the tracks I glanced down and saw that I was going 60 mph! Well, I jumped the tracks all right, and the downgrade on the other side, and smacked down onto the level pavement! The bottom of the station wagon hit the street, the two gas cans wired to the luggage rack flipped over into the rack, and both my dog Omega and I hit the ceiling of the car. I kept on driving, and looked in the rear view mirror to see a bunch of boys running to peer over the tracks to see what sort of idiot would drive a car like that.

Afterwards, everything that could leak in a car, did. Ron's dad, Jake, had a hobby of buying and fixing up and selling used cars, and so I ended up selling my Falcon station wagon to him. And while Jake carefully repainted my car, I bought a one-speed bicycle for my commuting to school. I named the bicycle "Gideon."

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


  1. I can NOTTTTTTTTTTTTTT believe NO PICTURE of the station wagon,uggghhhhhh, darn it!!! Don Hausaer (sp) and yes, he was trouble...Long haired indian missing a few front teeth!! What wonderful travels and memories, and NO CAMERA.. I carry one with me at all times now...On to read more of your adventures!! S.B.

  2. Don is my dad! He sounds pretty much the same, but without the LSD. :)

  3. You're kidding! That's great! Has your Dad read this story. I don't give him much of a break here, but he may get a kick out of it anyway. It'd be neat to hear from him, and/or for you to send me a current picture of him. My email is butterrumcartoon@gmail.com .
    So, Don actually found a wife and had a daughter! That's so cool.

  4. OH MY! Don and I had our daughter in 1975 spent time living by those same hot springs in NM when she was a baby and we also have two sons who were born in 1978 and in 1983. I was the red haired girl who rode her quarter horse all over Sultan in the 70's! they used to call me 'Hippy Holly' What a great story! Don and I also traveled all over like gypsies and still continue to live like hippy's. lol I remember hearing your name recently while speaking with a cousin of Calvin's.

  5. I'm guessing he read it because he told me today to come read the story (and a couple others), not sure how he found it though, he doesn't have a computer. The world works in mysterious ways!

  6. This is just really so neat!! I've added Don's picture in the story, and also a blurry 1980 picture of Calvin. Hippy Holly, I'm so sorry I don't remember you, and can't understand why I don't! Would have loved to see you on horseback chasing Don! So you even lived at or near Arroyo Hondo! What a great place that is! Please keep in touch, and tell Don to get a computer. Never mind, I can't picture Don with a computer.

  7. I had no idea that you had an accident and bone fracture. Everytime I read one of your stories I discover something new. You tried to do everything, even if it caused a bone fracture. The Legend of Dale Lund grows and of course I don't have to say who wrote this message. You know the answer already.