It was while attending Everett Community College on the G.I. Bill in the early 1970's that I noticed Kathy in my Creative Writing class. She sat in a desk in the far right center of the room, quietly and attractively, and when she spoke she did so with a shy and thoughtful voice, always seeming to focus her attention straight ahead. I focused my attention, much of the time, on her.
This was also the year I took a Career Planning class, with another gathering of students, in which we took many tests to see what careers we had an aptitude for and interest in, and then chose a career to be, at most, a possible future, and, at least, the subject of a final essay. I chose goat farmer. My mother was skilled in needlework crafts, and humored my request that she make me a coat out of one of my old Army blankets, with an embroidered picture of a goat on the back. Hence I got the college nickname of "Goat."
I also had shoulder-length hair during this time, and subscribed to the "Mother Earth News" since its first issue, back when it was more hippie than yuppie. In the current issue there was a recipe for homemade bread, claimed to be simple, and I had wanted to give it a try but never seemed to have the energy or the daring.
I loved Creative Writing in college and took every class in it that was offered. In these classes, the student would write something and the instructor would make enough copies of it to distribute to everyone for critiquing. It was wonderful to have the feedback. I lacked confidence when it came to asking a girl out, and so seldom did. But Kathy fascinated me, and I wanted to know her better. Yet I didn't have the guts to walk up and ask her directly to get together with me. So, I wrote an essay.
This essay began innocently enough, talking about myself, and it was a couple pages before the reader would find that it was an elaborate way of asking Kathy out. I knew that she usually spent her noon hour in the college library, and later in the day both she and I had separate classes in the gymnasium building. So, with composition in hand, I went and found Kathy in the library and said, "I wrote this essay for our class, but am worried about handing it in. Would you mind reading it first and letting me know what you think?" Kathy was a nice girl, and agreed to help me by critiquing my paper before anyone else, reading it right then and there in the library. I asked her to meet me outside the gym, after gym class, to tell me what she thought of the essay.
What the heck, I thought, did I say that for?! Now I had to bake a loaf of bread! So all evening I struggled over the easy recipe from "Mother Earth News." And before baking it, I enclosed in the dough a little wooden box containing a brief note that said that if ever Kathy were to leave her boyfriend, I would be there. And the next day, in Creative Writing class, I gave a surprised Kathy a nicely-wrapped loaf of homemade bread.
The following day, I asked her how she liked it, and she said, "It was good, but it was pretty embarrassing when my mom cut the loaf at the table and we found the note and my whole family read it."
None of this helped my lack of confidence in approaching a girl. But God works in mysterious ways. Micki Flowers, a young woman in town, placed a newspaper ad trying to find a good home for her dog, and I answered the ad. On the door of my apartment, I had made a sign that said, "Dale Lund abides within." And when Micki came to visit the dog she had given to me, she took this sign as meaning much more than merely stating the occupant. And nowadays our youngest son wears the Army blanket coat with the embroidered goat on the back.
For the complete contents of the Butter Rum Cartoon, click here.