Butter Rum Cartoon

Butter Rum Cartoon

Search the Butter Rum Cartoon

Friday, July 17, 2009


My sister Linda was five when I was born, old enough to help take care of me when I was a baby, yet young enough for us to fight when we were growing up. We were the youngest two of five children, and somehow managed to live in the same house as we watched our older siblings get married and move away.
I was Linda's obnoxious little brother. One episode lodged in both our memories was the time Linda and I were so mad at each other that I threw a pair of scissors at her. She ducked and the scissors broke the window. When our parents came running and got after me for breaking the window, I told them it was Linda's fault because she ducked.
But there were good times, too. She and I would walk downtown to see movies. We made a makeshift dollhouse and played with that together. We celebrated our dog's birthday by putting a candle on canned dog food and donning party hats. And for a Halloween costume contest at a bonfire in town, Linda made herself up to look like a black mammy, and Mom made a full-body pig costume for me, and at the contest Linda held me in her arms. We won a football.
Linda and me in 1961
But as Linda struggled her way through teen age and began doing teenage things, I constantly criticized her activities, etc., calling her a "beatnik." She did have good taste in boyfriends, though, most of the time, and I especially liked George, who gave me a secret ride on his motorcycle. But when finally Linda brought her future husband, Ron, home to meet her parents (and obnoxious little brother), while Ron was bending over looking at something Dad was showing him, I hauled off and kicked him in the rear as hard as I could. Since Ron was trying to impress, he didn't do anything about it, but of course Linda never forgot it. Ron turned out to be a great brother-in-law to me, a very good friend who put up with all my craziness.
Over the years, Linda and I have grown closer and closer. Mom and Dad have passed away. Our sister Gloria died all too suddenly. And now, several months ago, Ron died after a long bout with cancer. Besides my own wife and children, Linda is now my closest relative--close in love and closest in distance, with 324 miles between us.
Now my family and I live in the Ozarks, and sometimes I think it's a natural Ozark phenomenon for its inhabitants to become poorer and poorer. I plan to retire, finally, in less than two years, and meanwhile we were down to one, 23-year-old, unreliable car, that lately has been conking out and refusing to start. We've had to watch our money disappear into taxicabs, trying to commute to work (there's no mass transit here). And I was worried about what sort of transportation problems we'd have when I retire.
I wasn't the only one depressed. Last week Linda emailed me, saying that she's been feeling down lately and wanted to come visit us during my three-day weekend to play games with her brother, listen to our old records, etc. We were excited. When she came, I had her pick me up at work, since our car was still giving us problems, and Linda came in a 2003 Chevrolet Venture van she had just bought for herself. It was beautiful and full of modern features we had never even seen before. My wife Micki and some of our kids were with her. And on the way up the highway to pick up our son and take him to work, Linda asked me, "Do you have a two-car discount on your insurance?"
"Well, yeah," I said, "but we don't have two cars."
She said, "Yes you do."
Her being depressed was not true, but only a ploy, an excuse for her to come without us suspecting anything. Really she was very excited and delighted to be helping us. My sister Linda bought us a van and brought it to us--the nicest vehicle we've ever had. How happy I am that, long ago, Linda ducked.

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


  1. I should send this story to my brothers. Many years ago; my brother Norman got tired of his little brother (Michael) tagging along all the time. Norman had gotten a little acoustic guitar for Christmas that year. However, it was a gift to be 'short lived'. Norman had that guitar strapped to his back, as he and a friend, walked to Ben Franklin's Dime Store. As usual, Michael was following right behind. Needless to say, that guitar ended up broken over the top of Michael's head! Ahhh, the good 'ole days...

  2. Whenever I look back and think about how fun it was to surprise you, I think the best part was Julia's disbelief. She just couldn't believe I was really "giving" you the van, and thought it was terrible of me to tease you all like that. When you asked how I was going to get back to Wichita, I said, "You can either take me to Springfield, so I can take a bus back, or, since you have a dependable van, YOU can take me back!" Julia was in the far back seat of the van, and said, almost angrily, "How far would you go, for a lie?" LOL, I loved it!

  3. What a beautiful story and what a wonderful sister!