A New Year’s Tale

This really happened. One year, right after Christmas, my mom decided to drive herself, my little sister and me up to North Carolina to see snow. As native Floridians, my sister and I had never seen snow before. We complained bitterly about this fact, especially during the holidays when all the TV specials featured snowmen, sleigh rides, etc.

This was a very long time ago, back when people drove ugly green station wagons with fake wood paneling. Anyhoo, we had a little dog—a poodle mix of some sort. He was a kind of goldish color, so we named him Butterscotch. But we all called him Scotch.

We couldn’t take Scotch with us since we were staying with dog-phobic relatives in North Carolina. So my mom asked her younger sister to housesit and watch after Scotch. Auntie agreed to do this for us and promised to take good care of our beloved pet:


Poor Auntie had to spend New Year’s Eve all by herself. However, my mom had generously given Auntie permission to raid the liquor cabinet. She polished off a few cocktails and then rang in the New Year watching Dick Clark on TV as she lounged in our recliner and finished an entire bottle of champagne:


As the next morning dawned, Auntie blearily awoke and immediately noticed something was missing:


She looked all over the house, but she couldn’t find him. Then she remembered that we had a doggie door in the back of the house. She thought maybe Scotch had let himself out. She looked out the window into the empty back yard. Then she noticed the hole in the fence:


Now Auntie was in a full-fledged panic. She knew how much we loved our little dog. Horrifying scenes played through her mind—finding Scotch run over in the street and having to break the news to us. She ran out into the front yard and called Scotch repeatedly at the top of her voice:


But he didn’t come. She ran into the house and grabbed his doggie dish, thinking maybe if he saw it, he would come to her. She walked up and down the streets in our neighborhood, holding out a silver dish and screaming SCOTCH!!! The neighbors were not impressed:


After an hour or so of this, with cranky, hung-over neighbors jeering at her from every window, Auntie walked back home, dejected. She wondered how on earth she was going to tell her beloved little nieces that she’d become intoxicated and misplaced their pet.

But when she got to our yard, Scotch was waiting:



[Originally posted at Rumproast on 1/1/2011]

92 replies
  1. 1
    geg6 says:

    Love it! Scotch sounds like a wonderful doggie. And Auntie sounds like a great lady.

    Happy New Year to you and yours, Betty!

  2. 2
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    HAHAHAHAHA! What a good story and absolutely great illustrations! Did you draw those pictures, Betty?

    Terrific start to 2013. Thank you!

  3. 3
    Maude says:

    That was magnificent. You can draw, I am jealous.
    It’s a great story to start off the new year.
    This is a lazy day.

  4. 4

    Love the illustrations. You are very talented. Great New Year story as well. Cheers!

  5. 5
    RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    I once misplaced my wife’s wild rescue bunny while drinking Chivas and watching a Frank Sinatra movie. I was minding the orphan while she was away on a trip. She was not amused when she got home. Imagine trying to catch a scared 4 Oz rabbit indoors with a skull full of Scottish ethanol.

  6. 6
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    So….. If I walk around my hills and hollers with an empty glass, repeatedly yelling “SCOTCH!”, when I return home I will find a bottle of Glenmorangie waiting for me? Really?

    SEE YA LATER!!!!!!!!!

  7. 7
    NotMax says:

    Reminds me of a short tale from the early 70s.

    A small group of us were living in very, very rural Pennsylvania (Poconos) and had inherited (more or less by default) a doofus pup who was promptly christened Bummer.

    One day he was nowhere to be found. We lived on a lake, surrounded by miles and miles of woods, but there were a handful other year-rounders who also lived on or very near the lake.

    To cut to the chase, we always wondered what they thought a band of long-haired hippies were up to, tromping through the woods and up and down the dirt road, screaming “Bummer! Bummer!” for several hours.

    Of course, when we got back to the place we were staying, there was Bummer, sound asleep. On top of the stove.

  8. 8
    Betty Cracker says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Yep, that is my “artwork.” Thanks!

    @NotMax: Haha! You should meet my aunt…

  9. 9
    RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    I figure if you’re up at 8:00 am on New Year’s Day you pretty much have the internets to yourself. What kind of mischief should I get up to while everyone else is sleeping it off?

    I already posted this tasteless picture on Facebook for all of the hangover sufferers.

  10. 10
    Donut says:


    Nope, doesn’t work. I was just outside yelling “MacAllan 25!” for about 15 minutes. But nothing happened.

  11. 11
    Donut says:

    I suppose since the Expensive Scotch Fairy didn’t show up, it’s bong hits and Huber Bock for me today. Now I know how John Boehner must feel.

    Go Badgers. Onward Orange Julius.

  12. 12
    shortstop says:

    Love it, Bets and NotMax.

    I seriously love early NYD, when it’s quiet and peaceful and full of promise and I haven’t fucked nothin’ up yet.

  13. 13
    Birthmarker says:

    We had a big green station wagon with fake wood paneling!! God, I loved that car…

    I once lost my friend’s cat while her husband was extremely ill in the hospital. Talk about panic. Fortunately we did find the cat.

  14. 14
    JPL says:

    Betty, Did you enjoy playing in the snow?

  15. 15
    Punchy says:

    Bring on da football games

  16. 16
    Narya says:

    We also had a huge green station wagon with fake wood paneling! Actually, we had two HGSWs; only the second, larger one had the wood paneling.

  17. 17
    different-church-lady says:

    Good thing you guys hadn’t named the dog tro…. oh, never mind.

  18. 18
    shortstop says:

    @Narya: did you have them at the same time? That’d be weird but strangely cool.

  19. 19
    Gindy51 says:

    Did you fix the fence?

  20. 20
    RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:


    I have 5 brothers and sisters, so our family always had 2 station wagons. This was the ’70s, before civilians drove vans.
    Ford Country Squires, Chrysler Town and Countrys with 3-row seating, and the king of them all: the ’73 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser. An Olds 98 chassis with a full wagon body and a 454 Big Block engine. It was sage green with a cream interior. This is the only car that we’re still nostalgic about as we pass into our 40s and 50s.

  21. 21
    donnah says:

    Great story, Betty. I’m so glad your aunt didn’t find Scotch on the rocks.

  22. 22
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Donut: Just got back. (pant, pant) Had a bottle (pant, pant) of (pant, pant) Old MacDuogall’s (pant, pant) waiting for me…. Oh well. At least now I can strip the old paint off the front door.

  23. 23
    Schlemizel says:

    I remember on New Years Eve when I polished off a whole lot of hooch.

    I never had a pet but I did spend a large part of New Years Day in the bathroom calling out for RALPH! RALPH! RALPH~

    But I have grown up a lot since then

  24. 24
    Raven says:

    Like NotMax, mine is a early 70’s story. As we often did, we went to Carbondale from Champaign to party for a weekend. It was summer and this was a huge party at a couple of adjoining houses in town. We had just gotten Ralph (his original name was Ralph Von Winkle because he slept so much) the dog, and he suddenly was missing! There were about 30 people scurrying all over the area whistling and yelling Ralphy, Ralphy. Of course he was a puppy and had no idea what his name was but that’s the only thing people could do. After a couple of hours without luck people gravitated back to the party. Someone went to the head and noticed that there he was, curled up behind the toilet pressed against the cool porcelain. Why do you think they call it dope?

  25. 25
    Raven says:

    @Schlemizel: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Great minds. . .

  26. 26
    Raven says:

    @RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist: I had one of those Buicks or Olds wagons with weird skylights.

  27. 27
    patrick II says:

    My family had a Samoyed named Shoubei (little white). One day I bought some furniture and as I unloaded the van I left the gate to the yard open. After finishing the unload I closed the gate and the truck and only then noticed Shoubei was missing from the back yard. I walked around the neighborhood calling her name — but no response. I got in the van and drove around the farther neighborhood calling her name through the open driver’s window. I did that until one in the morning. I got up early before work, about 5 a.m., to put in a couple of more hours looking for her. I drove around for an hour calling for her until finally, at about 6, felt something on my thigh. I looked down and their was Shobei’s muzzle lying on my thigh and her beautiful white face looking up at me.
    The entire time I had been driving around looking and calling for her she had been about five feet behind me hiding under the couch and riding around with me in the back of the van. She had saw me unpacking the new chair and though I was packing for a trip to grandma’s house and she snuck in the open back door of the van as I carried the new chair into the house. She hid underneath the couch until she thought it was safe to come out and that I would no longer turn around and take her home. Shoubei liked to go to Grandma’s and hated to be left alone, so she had snuck in the van and hid away.
    So I had spent the entire prior evening and early morning driving around calling for a dog that was hiding five feet behind me. And I wasn’t even mad. I was just glad to see her and we went home and I gave her a biscuit. She was a wonderful dog.

  28. 28
    Raven says:

    @patrick II: Too sweet.

  29. 29
    RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:


    I had one of those Buicks or Olds wagons with weird skylights.

    The last weird skylights ‘wagon was the Buick Roadmaster. A friend has one of the last ones made. White with ‘woodie’ sides. magnificent vehicle. The last production body-on-frame car that GM made. With a 350 small block that purred like a tiger.

  30. 30
    Raven says:

    Another Ralphy story. It was a huge blizzard in Champaign Urbana and somehow he vanished. We tried our best to find him but after three days we suspected the worst. One morning we woke up and he was on the porch with a big gash on his snout. We were so happy but wondered what the hell had happened to him. Months later we were walking with him and ran into a woman that said “Oh, is that your dog? My female was in heat and he parked himself in front of our house and fought off every male that wandered up. He also was a perfect gentleman, they only “hooked up” once!

  31. 31
    Emma says:

    The first car we had when we moved to the US was one of those gigantic brown four door station wagons with the wood paneling. Good times.

    Our runaway pet is always our old (17 years and counting) cat that, as we always say, came with the house, since we found him sitting on the doorstep. He must have spent several months in the streets because he wanted in so badly he could taste it. But once in a while he got the wanderlust and would disappear for a few hours. And since he doesn’t answer to any name, well… Searching through the neighbor’s bushes always makes for interesting conversation. Thank God they’re all good folks.

  32. 32
    Raven says:

    @RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist: Yea, it was solid. I had to patch the skylight seams with epoxy but it ran like a top. Buddy in high school had a 64 poncho wagon and that thing hauled ass.

  33. 33
    Raven says:

    @Emma: I had friends who loved cats but the woman was allergic so the mounted a catquarium in their window and it was sort of like having the critter in the house.

  34. 34
    cathyx says:

    I wish John Cole would illustrate his late night stream of consciousness posts like this one.

  35. 35
    RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    My first wife wouldn’t let her kitten outdoors on his own until she taught him to come when called for his own safety. Seriously, she trained a cat to stop what he was doing and come barreling home when he heard his name. He was bribed with small pieces of cheese. Until his last days he was 100% compliant in returning on command, because there would be cheese.
    This taught me the power of positive reinforcement when training animals.

  36. 36
  37. 37
    Elizabelle says:

    May all Scotch have a happy landing.

    RE dogs: we had a miniature poodle that bit every child in sight.

    Not a good ambassador for the breed, but I did love that dog.

  38. 38
    Schlemizel says:



  39. 39
    Heidi says:

    Ahhh inspiring. True story. Wealthy english inlaw telling my husband they had lost their dog (black lab) in a similar fashion and had to stand outside calling “Pitch! Pitch!”.

    I snickered and said “you didn’t stand yell Pitch did you?”

    Wealthy mum looked startled. “What do you mean?”


  40. 40
    debit says:

    When my daughter was three we gave in to her desire to have a pet hamster. She named it Bizzer, no idea why.

    Anyway, one day Bizzer somehow clambered out of his cage and when I noticed it was empty, I went into full panic mode, looking under furniture calling, “Bizzer! Bizzer!” until logic settled back in and it occurred to me: the hamster does not know his name. The hamster will never respond to my calls. And no, I never found the little guy.

  41. 41
    bemused says:

    @patrick II:

    Of course you couldn’t be mad. Those Sammy faces are so damn adorable. We are on our third Sammy now, two previous have passed on, and probably will be looking for a puppy this spring.

  42. 42
    quannlace says:

    I didn’t want to click on this post cause I knew where it was gonna go….(“Lassie, come home!”) So so glad it had a happy ending.

  43. 43
    RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:


    Every one of our ‘wagons had a trailer hitch to pull a boat. In the summer we’d load up 8 people, 2 weeks worth of camping gear, the salmon fishing boat and equipment and head up north for a vacation in a state park on lake Michigan. Other people got to go to Disney World. We got sun burns, Petoskey stones, poison ivy, swimming and all the fresh salmon we could eat.

  44. 44
    Betty Cracker says:

    @JPL: It was awesome! But it was a heavy, wet snow, so bone-chilling to those who weren’t used to it. (This was in the mountains near Asheville.)

    Ultimately, I prefer the kind of New Year’s Day activity I’ll be engaged in shortly, walking my dogs on the beach, which I can comfortably do wearing shorts, flip flops, a sweatshirt and a light jacket.

    @Gindy51: My aunt did. No way was she going through that trauma again!

    @Raven: I’d mistake you for my uncle, but he loves the Gators, so you can’t be…

    @patrick II: Great story!

  45. 45
    quannlace says:

    Forget to add…Betty, did you finally get to see some of the white stuff?. North Carolina isn’t exactly in the snow belt.
    Oops, see you just answered tHat. ;-)

  46. 46
    Raven says:

    @RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist: God I loved to salmon fish in Muskegon Bay!

  47. 47
    Raven says:

    @Betty Cracker: I’m a Petty fan, that’s as close as I can get!

  48. 48
  49. 49
    ericblair says:


    Anyway, one day Bizzer somehow clambered out of his cage and when I noticed it was empty, I went into full panic mode, looking under furniture calling, “Bizzer! Bizzer!” until logic settled back in and it occurred to me: the hamster does not know his name.

    Get a guinea pig, or preferably two to keep each other company. Totally docile, won’t bite, actually diurnal (more or less), and have no desire to do anything but get back in their nice safe cage if they’re out. We left the door open on their cage most of the time. We introduced our cat to them, and our cat would play-chase them and then sniff their butts, so apparently cats consider them more peers than prey. The guinea pigs had no fear of a rather large predator chasing them around the room, so I guess they’re not the smartest creatures in the world.

  50. 50
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Raven: That’s so cool! I may have to give my ukulele a similar paint job. When I was at UF, I went to a party once at a house that was allegedly where Petty grew up. He was long gone by the time I got to Gatorville.

  51. 51
    HRA says:

    Great story Betty! Loved the illustrations.

    We had a black station wagon with the wood that was totaled by the eldest daughter when she took into a bad storm after I warned her about going out.

    I also have a similar story about my MIL and I almost losing my BIL and Sil’s adored dog when we babysat it.

    Happy New Year everyone

  52. 52
    RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:


    My dad’s been fishing salmon, lake trout, etc. in Lake Michigan since they stocked it for sport fishermen 45 years ago. He was born in Muskegon and has fished there all his life. He recently announced at age 76 that he’s quitting and selling 2 of his boats after this year. This took everyone by surprise, as he’s showed no signs of slowing down. I suspect my step mother, who is a bit frail, had some influence on this. It’ll be weird not to see dad Facebooking his catches and fishing derby trophies, but I guess it’s inevitable with age 80 coming up.

  53. 53
    Betty Cracker says:

    @ericblair: We had a guinea pig once. I still miss that little guy, and they do make good pets as far as rodents go. But man, can they crap! We called ours “Pez” because he dispensed little pellets constantly.

  54. 54
    Punchy says:

    My uncle lost his dog on Xmas eve, when it was about 10F outside. Somehow that dog survived all nite and was rescued by neighbors the next morn. First (and only) time I saw him cry.

  55. 55
    debit says:

    @ericblair: We are currently at full pet capacity and (thankfully) the urge to have rodents as pets seems to have passed. I like rodents, and had a guinea pig as a child, but would never subject one to our current pack of sociopaths otherwise know as our cats.

  56. 56
    JPL says:

    @Betty Cracker: Let me be first to mention, that was a shitty comment.

  57. 57
    nancydarling says:

    @debit: We found our errant hamster inside the washing machine once. If you are buying your kids a small cage animal, I recommend rats. They are smart and can be taught stuff. Ours were like little tiny dogs. Also, too, hamsters will bite. Our ratties never did.

    Sometime in the 1950’s, friends of ours were moving to California. They were in two vehicles. At a rest stop in Arizona, their black and tan mutt named Snooper was left behind as each driver thought the other one had him. They were two hours down the road before they realized the situation. The husband turned around and drove back. There he sat, waiting patiently. The guy opened the door and Snooper jumped in. No words of welcome, no happy talk at finding him safe. Fifteen minutes down the road, Snooper couldn’t stand the silence and threw back his head and emitted a long mournful howl.

  58. 58
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist: Behold,,, the power of cheese.

  59. 59
    Maude says:

    WE had two cats and two hamsters when I was a kid. The hamsters would get out and it was a dead run to find them. We did, every time. They could flatten themselves out and go under doors.
    In the news a year or so ago, a hamster saved a family when the house caught on fire in the middle of the night. The hamster ran on the wheel and woke up the young boy. He opened the cage and the family made it out of the house in time.
    The house burned to the ground. They went back the next day and the hamster was sitting on the front lawn waiting for them. They figure the hamster went down the drain pipe.

  60. 60
    dan says:

    We had a cat adopt us who soon after had a litter. Due to a lack of imagination, we named her Mother. My father had set up a basketball backboard off the back porch that the cat could climb up on and jump onto the roof of the split level house. We worried about her on the roof, but she liked laying up there in the sun.

    We were out at dinner one night and my mom said, nonchalantly, “Mother climbed up on the roof again today.” The family took it in stride, but the waiter’s jaw dropped.

  61. 61
    Raven says:

    @RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist: I’m sure he knows my buddies family. He was a receiver at Illinois in the 70’s and went back up there after. He’d take us to the Bear Lake Tavern to party and we’d fish the jetty from boats. Jiggin “loco’s” on the bottom.

  62. 62
    RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:


    Certain of it. Dad keeps a summer home (and another boat…) on Bear Lake and knows a lot of the locals.

  63. 63
    Raven says:

    @Betty Cracker: You should get the Bogdanavich film about the band. Runnin Down a Dream

  64. 64
    Raven says:

    @RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist: The BLT! Looks like my pal lives in Portage now.

  65. 65
  66. 66
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Raven: Damn, fine looking fish…and fisherman!

  67. 67
    maya says:

    We also, too, had a green woody station wagon. A 1951 Pontiac. We went cross country to a dude ranch in Tucson AZ with it and collected state decals to paste on the back window.. I smuggled a few bananas in through their agriculture check point. Do they still do that? Screw you Arizona!

  68. 68
    Raven says:

    @Betty Cracker: Ha! Few more miles on the odometer these days.

  69. 69
    Raven says:

    @maya: I smuggled a lot more than bananas through there! Had a buddy that brought truck loads of cacti from Tucson to Illinois and would “load” the front of the box with dakine. No one wanted to unload that shit to inspect!

  70. 70
    c u n d gulag says:

    NICE! ! !

    I’m a sucker for a story with a happy ending!

    Happy New Year, Betty, and all of you ‘Juicer’s’ out there !

  71. 71
    Svensker says:

    Love the story, love the illustrations, and love the Juicer stories, too. Yay!

  72. 72
    maya says:

    @Raven: Yeah, well, I was 6 years old when I did my crime.

  73. 73
    Suzanne says:

    When I was married to my ex and we lived in a little apartment downtown, we adopted a kitten that we ended up naming PJ. She was tiny. We got her home, introduced her to the grande dame, Nico, and then later on went to bed. The next morning, we woke up, and Nico came over, but PJ was absolutely nowhere to be found. Didn’t worry at first, but over the course of the day, we got more desperate, eventually taking apart an antique chair of my great-grandfather’s to see if she was inside. No luck. And the apartment was SMALL. At about 6pm, I looked over, and she was nonchalantly drinking water from the bowl and was totally fine. This happened a few more times until later that week, when I finally saw where she was going. She found some tiny opening underneath the toe kick of the kitchen cabinets where they met at a corner, so she had this big open space all to herself. Smart bastard. We had that hole closed up. PJ died two summers ago. We lost Nico about five years ago. I still miss them both.

  74. 74
    JoyceH says:

    I knew there was something great about Balloon Juice people – there are Sammy people here!


  75. 75
    Jay C says:


    Nope, doesn’t work. I was just outside yelling “MacAllan 25!” for about 15 minutes. But nothing happened.

    Not surprising: MacAllen 25 almost always has a good home already….

  76. 76
    rikyrah says:

    this was HILARIOUS

    good way to begin the new year

  77. 77
    Ruckus says:

    @Betty Cracker:





    Yeah that’s a bourbon drinker for you.

  78. 78
    Death Panel Truck says:

    @RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist: You mean 455. A 454 is a Chevy engine. Buicks, Pontiacs and Oldsmobiles had a 455 big block option. They’re all different engines though, as my cousin found out one day when he tried to stick a Pontiac 455 cam into an Olds block.

  79. 79
    Maude says:

    @Death Panel Truck:
    A friend’s family had a brown Chevy wagon with a very powerful engine. After one ride with her, I refused to go with her in that car. That Chevy really moved.

    ETA was early 1970s. Chevy could have been late 60s.

  80. 80
    JustAnotherBob says:

    Great post Betty.

    Wish I could share some snow with you. I’ve been snowed in for the last three weeks. My Christmas presents are waiting for me at the Post Office.

    But I’ll take this over Florida. Lived there, done that.

  81. 81

    Got snow here.
    Ross, I’m about 4 miles SE of Petoskey. The Harley now has a boat to keep it company in the snowy winter.

  82. 82
    Pococurante says:

    All the best stories involve Scotch.


  83. 83
    Rosie Outlook says:

    Can’t figure out what I did wrong. I went outside yelling “Glenlivet!” for 10 minutes. Nothing happened.

    Pez would also be a great name for a goldfish. They’re little poop machines.

  84. 84
    Steeplejack says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    Man, you’re way up there. Looks like the middle of nowhere on Google Maps. Hope it’s scenic.

  85. 85
    Annamal says:

    I have a similar story involving pet-sitting for a cat with 3 week old kittens (and the cat’s mother) both of whom picked the same night to go missing (much to the distress of the kittens).

    Standing out on the stoop at 23:30 yelling for two cats respectively call Darling and Midnight…might lead the neighbours to think you’re a little strange…

  86. 86
    Jebediah says:

    @Death Panel Truck:

    They’re all different engines though, as my cousin found out one day when he tried to stick a Pontiac 455 cam into an Olds block.

    Did the top end survive?

  87. 87
    LT says:

    Needs more nunchucks.

  88. 88
    JoyceH says:


    Standing out on the stoop at 23:30 yelling for two cats respectively call Darling and Midnight…might lead the neighbours to think you’re a little strange…

    They say you should never name a pet anything you wouldn’t want the neighbors to hear you hollering.

    People who live behind me used to have an enormous Doberman. Named Precious.

  89. 89
    ABL says:


  90. 90
    seaboogie says:

    @dan: Dan, I am still chuckling – and your droll delivery is perfect!

  91. 91
    Narcissus says:

    Love this.

  92. 92
    Ellyn says:

    Wonderful illustrations of a cute story.

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