Butter Rum Cartoon

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Thursday, May 19, 2011


Last week Nan Latimer found me, via Facebook, after more than forty years! She says that when she was five (when I was in high school) I had promised to marry her when she grows up. (Whoops.) All our parents have since died, and so Nan has been enjoying me now telling her tales from when I used to visit them and when I so enjoyed the friendship of her family and especially her Dad.

I told her of the time I was giving a high school friend, David Thomas a ride on my motorcycle, and pretending to close my eyes, telling David that he had to tell me when to turn, etc. At one point he freaked out and reached up to turn for me! Miraculously missing a barbed wire fence, we were all over the road. I slid on the rocky pavement for more than fifteen feet. David didn't really get hurt because he landed on me. My pants leg was shredded, my knee was scraped to the bone, and when we managed to get the bike going again, blood was dripping from my face onto the gas tank. I had broken the mirror so I couldn't see what I looked like. Not wanting to traumatize my Mom, I was kind enough to stop by the Latimers’ place first. Nan’s caring parents brought me in and bandaged my wounds so I could go home looking halfway decent.

Nan enjoyed this memory, so I wrote, “’KFJ2044 Unit One, this is Portable calling...over.’ I once traded two .22 caliber revolvers for a walkie talkie from your Dad--a trade I've often since regretted. But anyway, I did have fun talking to your Dad on the walkie talkie, and have never forgotten the call letters to reach him.”

After responding personally, Nan put this “status” on Facebook: “Hey my brothers and sisters, this is what Dale sent me in a message: ‘KFJ2044 Unit One, this is portable calling....over.’ Wow did that bring back a powerful memory! I got goose bumps as I read those call letters. Made me cry :( It made dad’s loss so fresh. Can you imagine Dale remembering that CB call number after 40 some years? Amazing!”

She wrote to me, saying, “I had a friend from college, he was an Iranian student, I brought him over to my house one day and he saw my Dads office with all his CB radio stuff and that guy freaked out. He thought my dad was CIA or something. Funny stuff. Of course dad did nothing to calm the poor guy down and loved making him nervous as hell the whole time he was at the house!”

I told her about the time when her Dad, John Latimer, ran our Explorers group in Sultan, Washington. One wintry day we all left the school in his VW bus and were cruising down 4th Street, when suddenly John PURPOSELY spun the bus around on the ice, full-circle, giving us all a great thrill, then continued on his way. Quite a fellow!

And this story prompted the following masterpiece message from Nan--so fun that I had to share all this in the Butter Rum Cartoon! No wonder I promised to marry Nan forty-some years ago. She writes:

John Latimer
“Yes, I'm afraid that I inherited that trait from him. I've left deep scars on my brothers and sisters psyche from all the practical jokes I've done on them through the years. To this day some of them cannot enter a dark room without fear of a hand grabbing their wrist in the dark as they turn on a light switch. I once hid under a porch in the dead winter, freezing in my thin nightgown waiting for my husband to return home. It was worth the frostbite to see him jump and scream like a woman. I pulled a practical joke on my children a few years ago. I had some friends from the hospital help me. A bloody woman in a old style prom dress walking down a dark country road with a machete dripping with blood looking like Carrie from the Stephen King novel and up ahead in the roadway lay a bloody, twitching man. I stopped the van to give medical aid and my van “stalled” as the bloody lady had turned around in the road and was slowly heading back towards us. My kids were frantic with terror. It was great!!!!”

I told my sister Linda about this last wonderful prank, and she said, “Oh no!!! You warped other people on your way through life!!!!” I sure wish I could take some credit for this genius, but John Latimer was the one who inspired me, too.

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