Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Loud Brilliance

There are a few sounds that will make a guy stop and take notice, one being a Harley as its rider throttles up. Another example is the sound of a siren or maybe the report from a weapon. The one that always makes me stop and take notice is the rumble of a DC-6 aircraft as it taxis down the runway. It may have just arrived or is preparing to take off. The four powerful radial engines that move this beautiful bird will put any Harley to shame. The rumble vibrates your chest with every turn of the blades.
Working in Alaska has provided me with many opportunities to view these 50’s vintage workhorses. No where else in the United States are aircraft of such a proud heritage flown. They are still used in Alaska although the company which once boasted a large number of DC-6 aircraft, Northern Air Cargo, retired its last DC-6 in September of 2008. It will be on display at the flight museum in Anchorage next year. The building of the Trans Alaska Pipeline was accomplished with the help of the DC-6.
One company in Alaska that still widely uses this aircraft is, Everts Air Fuel Service. They are used to haul fuel to the remote sites in Alaska.
Deadhorse Alaska Airport, which doesn’t sound like much, but it is the hub of the Prudhoe Bay Oil Field complex. A small airport by most standards, but also a busy one. Air traffic comes and goes on a regular basis. Alaska Airlines has a terminal here which accommodates about eight thousand tourist a year, most of which are members of the Princess and Holland America Tours. They either fly in and take a bus down the famous Hall road or come by bus, and leave by Alaska Airlines.
I recently was at the Deadhorse Airport when I recognized the sound of a DC-6 landing and shortly there after taxing to a small fuel dock area next to the Northern Air Cargo terminal. She was the most beautiful DC-6 I had ever seen. Grey and blue color scheme adorned her fuselage. Extremely clean and there was something else about her that was different. She belonged to Everts Air Fuel but there was an extra marking on the nose that I had not seen before. I got a little closer and was thrilled to see the likeness of Howard Hughes, on the nose with the familiar Fedora hat.
I had heard about this DC-6 back in 2001 while I was a Police Officer with the North Slope Borough. I was told that one of the DC-6 aircraft then owned by Northern Air Cargo, was purchased from the Howard Hughes estate back in the early seventies. When they went to pick it up in Nevada, it was stored in a hanger in like new condition. It was like new because it had only 9.5 hours and this plane was built in the mid to late fifties.
I called Everts Air Fuel to get some more info on the aircraft. The gentleman that answered was more then happy to talk about the plane that he affectionately referred to as Bravo-80. I was told that the aircraft was bought by Hughes who wanted it basically as a base line to help him design his own aircraft that was to be used by “Trans Word Airlines,” or TWA. He wanted to make sure that the design for the Constellation exceeded that of the DC-6 which was flown by the competition Pan Am. The original 9.5 hours on this DC-6 had been flown by one of America’s most interesting figures and is a true piece of aviation history.

Randy J. Cole

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Brenden Foster, Rest In Peace 1997-2008

I am miserable as I write this. I do not do a lot of posting anymore because of many reasons. But I am compelled to spell out my feelings tonight after learning that the young boy, Brenden Foster, from the town where I served as a police officer for a number of years, passed away on Friday. If you had been following the story about this incredible human being you will feel the loss as I do. I never met him in person, but I wish I had. If you have no idea who I am talking about, just simply google his name. This 11 year old boy was perhaps one of the bravest souls I have ever seen. Pure of heart and soul. In the final days of his life he made a wish, To feed the hungry. Unable to do so himself, those who surrounded him made his wish come true. Thousand have began to feed the hungry and homeless in the name of Brenden Foster. He had one other wish. That he could help save the bees which for unknown reasons are on decline. Packages of wild flower seeds will be handed out at his funeral in an effort to help the cause. What a great kid he was and a shining example he will always be.
I wrote the poem below, “Undaunted” for no apparent reason. I somehow feel now that it is a connection to Brenden and his undaunted spirit. Rest in peace little man!

Randy J Cole

Friday, November 7, 2008


Tundra grass gone to seed, drifting in the wind like a long lost lover,
roots buried deep in the arctic soil, holds them steadfast, no need for cover.

They hold on tight to the soil, even as the cold snaps to 60 below,
wind bends them to the breaking point, frozen and covered in snow.

Spring comes in June; the seeds that stayed dormant will spread,
creation of a green homeland, for the feathered ones that nature has led.

What lessons can we find in the tundra grass that grows in a hostile land unwanted,
from this simple plant that overcomes the harsh, and continues life, undaunted.

Words and Images by Randy J. Cole (Dedicated to the Palin Family of Alaska)
Photo location: Sand dunes near arctic ocean, Prudhoe Bay Oil Field

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Soon I Will Fall

Fall of 2003,

One of the reasons I love fall. It is a time to shed the old and make room for the new. Mother Natures house cleaning if you will.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Winter Comes

Winter arrived on the North Slope today. It arrived on the wings of 30+ mph winds. If this is any indication, it will be a long tough winter. It was as though someone turned on a light switch. Sadly, I know that many of the young tundra swans were not ready for the change. The parents will follow there instincts and head south, leaving their young to the mercy of Mother Nature. How painful that must be. You know they must feel the pain as they are a loving creature. They mate for life and will not take on another mate if death should separate them. The loss of their young would be unbearable. Next year, we will look up toward the vast Alaska sky; we will see the pairs of swans return to continue the cycle. It is truly an amazing story in the book of life.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Images by Randy J. Cole / Random Stone Productions 3/2003

Some of you might wonder what I am referring to when I mention the camp that I live in on the North Slope. This is the BOC (Base Operations Camp) on the west side of the Prudhoe Bay oil field complex. It is more like living in a cruise ship than a camp. The rooms are comfortable warm and nice. This camp has around four hundred or so beds and most of them are private rooms but you share a bathroom with the room next to you as well as the shower. There are three main camps on this field but more are being built. The BOC actually has a swimming pool that doubles as a source of water for fire protection. The workout areas are pretty nice as well. This camp has an upper level work out area that includes volley ball court and top of the line tread mill, rowing, free weights and so on. It also has an indoor running track. The food is remarkable as well. Sunday is prime rib night, and Tuesday is steak night. It gets pretty easy to become used to working in this kind of environment. Of course if you have a job that takes you outside you quickly find that the companies have to provide nice services to compensate for the 70 below weather that we will be having soon.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Karate Swan Meets Arctic Fox

Mama doesn’t want any part of the young arctic fox who is courting the young swan at the left. The fox knows well the damage that can be inflicted by those giant wings. He gave up and left after some thought.

Image by Randy J. Cole
Prudhoe Bay, Alaska
Sept 9, 2004

Friday, September 26, 2008


Image by Randy J. Cole Sept. 29th 2003,
Random Stone Productions

People ask me often, "so what do you think about drilling?" My answer is always the same, "why not?" It is clear that we need to find away to create newer and cleaner energy but, until we do, we need to still be tapping into our natural resources.Unless politicians get off their asses, and say yes to more drilling, this country will have more than just financial failure to worry about. You cannot simply shut off our oil supply and expect everyone to go out and buy a new bike or hybrid auto. People who work for a living cannot afford that, it is just that simple. Nor can we all afford to run out and buy new heating systems for our homes.
As far as the animals go, They will do just fine if we drill in ANWAR. I was watching the History channel the other day and they had a show about Alaska. They mentioned ANWAR and the potential damage that could be done while showing video of mountains and beautiful mountain lakes and even Eagles. Excuse me, I said excuse me, but that is not the ANWAR that the drilling will take place in. Imagine if you will the ugliest part of North Dakota, no offense ND but it is just for comparisons. There are no mountains, there is most likely small bodies of water but certainly no mountain lakes. I am also sure that there are no Eagles in the area where drilling will take place.
I love animals especially the ones up here. There are a large number of them to see on the North Slope most of which take refuge on the Prudhoe Bay Oil Field. They are protected here, there is no hunting allowed and no weapons except by the security officers and North Slope police officers as well as other law enforcement officers.
It is time to start working toward the new energy sources all right but if you think the current economic problems are bad your gonna love whats coming unless we fill the gap between petroleum and new energy in a responsible manner.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Boys Will Be Boys

This week has been interesting. A small herd of mule deer decided to move into the neighborhood. They have been eating the apples at the neighbors house and bedding down for naps. As you can see they also use the time to practice their skills. This is in town I might add and not out in the country. Goofy deer!


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

September 29, 1998, Last Entry

The days grow shorter and colder. The date 9/29/2008 approaches and will mark the 10th anniversary of my fathers death. Wilbur Gillian Cole. A house painter and a good father. He worked all of his life harder than most. Providing things for his family that many of the wealthier families could never acquire. A skating rink in our front yard where we could skate into the night while polka music played on the outside speakers. Wonderful memories that make me feel lost as I look at the modern world of video games and skate boards. We were lucky in so many ways.
My father worked until 1986 and had just begun to enjoy his retirement. A few issues came to be, like the cancer that paid him a visit in his colon. He thought he had won that round. Cancer is a stubborn foe, it would return later in his life.
My wonderful mother Celina, started to fade from our lives as well. Alzheimer disease started her down the long road to childhood and finally darkness. My dad struggled to care for this wonderful woman the best he could but when he no longer had the strength, due to the cancer which had returned, my mother was placed into a home in Spokane, Washington. My sisters and I made regular visits to her and she received the finest care possible.
At some point in time, during my dads struggle with cancer, one of my sisters left a message to dad on the chalk board in the basement. Uplifting messages to help him fight and remember that we cared. The messages were written with every visit.
The last entry read, “Dad passed away 9/29/98 3:15 p.m.” We all can look at an event that occurs right before or after the death of a loved one and relate to it as a sign that all is well. The passing of my father was no different in a number of ways. I will never forget the nurse who came into the room seconds after dad took his last breath and in a loud strong voice while throwing open the curtains said, “Oh Wilbur, you did such a wonderful job!” It really lifted the gloom that had filled the room and we started to heal. One of the signs witnessed by someone other than a family member occurred at the care center where my mother Celina, unable to speak for sometime prior to my father’s death, very clearly yelled my father’s name, “Wilbur” at or very close to the time of my fathers death before retreating back into herself until her death in 2003.
The chalk board and messages still exists but I covered the original with another board in an attempt to protect some family history.

Monday, September 8, 2008


While waiting for my then girl friend to receive clearance to come to the states, we went through a lot of lonely moments. Chaniya had a very sad conversation with me one day and I responded with this design. Soon I will be taking her to the airport in Spokane and she will return home for three months. Loneliness is a great inventor of inspiration but i would prefer to be with her.
The photo was taken on the island of Phuket and that is Chaniya enjoying the beach on a lovely evening.

Image and words by Randy J. Cole

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Heart Songs

"Day dreams are but the silent songs of ones heart and soul"

This is one of the first photos I used for a poster and is one of the first posters I sold. One of them hangs in the hallway next to the window where it was taken. The girl remains unidentified today. She was with a group of health professionals that were on the slope for a health fair. She managed to squeeze herself onto this little window ledge that is in a hall way that leads to my office. I asked her if she would mind if I snapped her photo and she agreed. She seemed a bit put out when I asked her not to look at the camera. The photo was taken 11/05/2004.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Story Behind Random Stone

The Random Stone concept came about in early 2005. I was working on the North Slope and I was feeling different. I was losing my balance, getting very dizzy while tying my shoes. I was worried about the situation and made an appointment to see my Doctor when I arrive back in my home town of Libby, Montana.
The Prudhoe Bay Oil Field is a vast complex covering about two hundred square miles. Just outside the controlled access to the field is an area called Deadhorse. It houses a large number of companies that support the oil field operations. You cannot call it a town as there is no permanent residence. Everyone who works on the slope lives elsewhere and commutes to and from the oil field either by one of two private charter jets, or an Alaska Airlines jet. Like me a number of workers live in the lower forty-eight and travel back and forth while working a two on and two off schedule. We pay for our own tickets to Anchorage but the charter flights to the Deadhorse airport is covered by BP or Conoco Phillips. The planes are co-owned by these two companies.
On this particular day I was standing at the counter in the airport awaiting the boarding process. I suddenly found myself watching an internal movie. The title was “Random Stone.” Now when I say an internal movie I am not talking about a projector or video. I am talking a hallucination if you will, being played out in my head. I was unable to stop it. I was conscious of what was going on and acknowledged people walking by and saying hello and yet the story still played. The colors and characters flashed before my eyes were so real and included such detail including names and even a particularly interesting automobile driven by the main character. I really thought to myself that I had an active brain tumor playing havoc in my head. I was convinced that that is what was going on.
The event stopped as fast as it had started. I was left bewildered and stunned, and planning my own funeral.
When I arrived home in Libby I wasted no time getting to my doctors office. He performed some simple test and determined that I had nothing more than an internal ear infection. Wow, I was so relieved and yet still without an answer as to what had caused the event at the airport. Could the infection had triggered some crazy thespian tricks within the sanctum of cranium?
The event never left my memory. I have two very close friends in Troy, Montana that I visit on a regular basis. Dave and Sandy, and they have provided me with numerous glimpses of what it is like to work with the Hollywood types. They have worked with some of the best, Robert Redford, Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, and that is just the directors. They are also the people mentioned in my story about John Stamos. While visiting my friends, I told them of the unusual events that took place in Deadhorse. They liked the story that came from nowhere and told me to write it down as a story treatment. A story treatment is a synopsis of a complete story. Dave and Sandy then presented it to a dear friend of theirs by the name of Marie Cantin. Marie is a movie producer with some impressive credentials. Marie gave me some good input on the story and not much has been done with it since except Dave did have a chance to talk to a VP of development at FOX studios about the concept and she liked it. I have taken a number of avenues on this story, but I have yet to complete any of them.
I would really like to write a novel and have started that process. I would also like to continue to pursue getting into the hands of someone interested in making it into a movie. Not an easy task. What I do know for sure is that the concept is different and I am supposed to pursue it. The universe gave it to me as a gift and I need to follow-up on it before I die. It is important to me. The above poem is one of the by products of the event. I made a trip to the very Tahoma, Washington National Cemetery where my story took place. The flag is the one that covered my father’s coffin during his military honors burial in Libby Montana. It was very odd because the cemetery was much like the one that I had seen and to be honest, I had never heard of Tahoma National Cemetery until I saw it in my daydream like state. I was shocked to find out it really existed. I won’t disclose much about the story but I will tell you that this happened long before I had the chance to meet John Stamos, and he was the one that popped into my head as the lead. The story is about a very successful photographer, Jack Dillon, in the L.A. scene who gets involved in an amazing situation with his actress girl friend, Holly. We will just have to see what happens with the project. Many of the things I do including my vehicle license, RANDOM 1 include the name. And now you know the story behind Random Stone.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Today was a good day! The elusive Muskox were pretty close to the road and didn't seem to mind having a photo taken. This small heard was between the Prudhoe Oil Field and the Kuparuk Oil Field. This summer the bears were pretty hard on the herds. These ones are pretty healthy and content.

Images by Randy j. Cole

Tuesday, September 2, 2008



There is one thing we all know,
when its time, we must go.

Friends, lovers, sisters and brothers,
hardest of all, our fathers and mothers.

May we pass with no struggle or strife,
leaving fond memories of our life.

When the time to leave is mine,
raise a glass of fine red wine.

As I travel through the unknown,
smile and drink to me, for this bird has flown.

Words and image by Randy J. Cole,


The structure of life can be compared to atmospheric conditions that surround us daily. Seldom do days pass without a breeze or fog, or perhaps a slight rain to obscure a clear reflection of our lives as well as the landscape. When it does happen, it should be coveted like a newborn child, with the time taken to inventory what we have and what we are missing.

Image and words by Randy J. Cole
Photo 08/26/2006 North Slope of Alaska

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Temple close up

The hand work that went into the creation of this temple in Bangkok amazes me to no end. I really loved that place!


Friday, August 29, 2008


This is a creation from my second trip to Thailand. We were at a resort at Hue Hin on the Gulf of Thailand. You may have to click it to read it. It was a poster I sold through random Stone Productions.
The colors are real and untouched. The back ground was a cement wall. The flower is a Bird of Paradise.


Vermont Color

A bit of contrast from the last. This photo is from 2004 on one of my trips to the east coast. It was a great trip and this photo is one of my favorites.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Iron Horse Series

Speaking of black and white photos. These are a few I took in Snoqualmie WA a few years back. Makes you wonder what people will be photographing 100 years from now.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Crapper in a Wrapper

About four years ago I snapped this shot of a porta-potty that had been delivered to the Central Check Point on Prudhoe Bay. The toilet inside the check point was in-op at the time. So, the mystery is solved about where one might do a nature call in 60 below zero weather in the Arctic.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ignite The Nites

Ignite the Nites is a great way to spend the hot summer nights in Libby, if you are at all a person who enjoys automobiles. This celebration is sponsored by a local car club called the Igniters. Friday afternoon the fun begins at 5 p.m. when Mineral Ave. is shut down and turned over to the 130 some collector cars and their owners. They spend a few hours driving back and fourth displaying their machines. The ones that can do so are allowed to burn off the tires. It was interesting and provided a glimpse into a world in which $4.00 a gallon gas has got to take some of the fun out of celebration. The celebration goes through the weekend and includes numerous activities.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Reach

I have been so busy while at home. Not a lot of time to do much with the blog. I thought I would throw some of my past photo work at you for now. This is one of my sons. This photo was untouched. Hey launched into his rendition of Some Where Over The Rainbow.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I Don't Like Travel Days

Ted Stevens Airport, Anchorage, Alaska 10:09 p.m.

I have grown to dislike my travel day or should I say day and a half and sometimes two days. I work 7 days a week 12 hours a day and normally for six weeks straight. I then have to deal with this day. Travel day. I work until 5 p.m. and at about 7p.m. fly from Deadhorse on a charter 737. I arrive in Anchorage at 8:30 p.m. My flight today leaves Anchorage at 12:30 a.m. and I arrive in Seattle 3.5 hours later. At 7 a.m. I board a puddle jumper, (small) prop driven aircraft and fly to Spokane. Time to get my car out of the parking area, which as of late cost me $200.00. Ah yes, I fill my gas tank up and drive 3 hours to Libby Montana. I spend the next two days trying to rest up. The only good thing of course is being with my lovely wife. Not a very happy post. I look around at the gate and I can tell the flight is going to be full. Tourist, fisherman, oil workers. I should count my blessings. My flight was not one of the ones that got canceled because of the ash in the air from the volcano eruption. Ok maybe it isn’t so bad. Oh wait, she just announced that the plane was late. Refer back to first sentence.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Pooh (Annie) Update

I received this wonderful photo of Pooh today. As you can see she looks great and happy. Also a note from her owner Tess. I have also included a note of thanks from Lindy.

From Tess,

Pooh is doing great! She is almost back to herself. I am going to talk to her doctor tomorrow and see if I can start giving her more food. She is so hungry. She ran to the road to get the paper this morning. Her bark is getting better. When I brought her home, her right ear stayed down a lot. It is usually up now. Her eyes are bright and happy. Her tail is constantly wagging. She isn't losing her balance like she did Friday. We had a quiet day yesterday, just us. I think that helped. She got to rest. I am attaching a new picture from Saturday. Have a great day!Tess

From Lindy,

Thanks to all of those people posting comments on the blog and the thoughts and prayers that you were sending this way. I read them everyday and appreciated every last one of them!

I also want to thank Wandermere Animal Hospital so much for there amazing compassion for the patients they see on a day to day basis. I visited Pooh on a daily basis and often more than once and they welcomed me with open arms each time. The entire team there deserve so much credit and I will continue to be a loyal customer to them with my dog Keeley. Thank you Wandermere Animal Hospital for everything you did for Pooh!!

Also, to the couple of people that donated money to help with the vet bill that was acquiring. My mother in law and parent's best friend (you know who you are) your generosity is amazing.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Just a photo

Thought I would throw this photo up for you. I was going through one of my desk top folders and located this. I took this photo exactly four years ago today. The facility in the back ground is Gathering Center 1 on the Prudhoe Bay Oil Feild.

Friday, August 8, 2008

I Love it When a Plan Comes Together

Well, if you are reading this blog for the first time, I suggest that you scroll down to the beginning of Pooh's (Annie's) story. You find that first post under Annie's Saviors. It is interesting and has a great conclusion. It would not have been so great if not for the efforts of a number of people.

Lindy Terry, who started the rescue effort by risking her safety while trying to latch on to a dog she had never met and one that was seriously injured as well. That is dedication to other living things.

The anonymous people from the two mystery cars that got out and helped catch Pooh before she could enter a busy roadway.

The wonderful staff at the Wandermere Animal Hospital who performed as a team to save Pooh's life. Should I come back as a dog or heaven forbid, a cat, please let them be the ones to neuter me. They are good and I trust them.

The lady that drug Tess into her home to see the news report, thank you!

Tess, Poohs owner, You demonstrated a great love for this dog through your neighborhood door to door searches and the dog knows it as well as the ones that were there to witness the reunion. They say that Pooh was on the verge of speech.
This is an example of how your good thoughts and prayers can be answered.

Do not be afraid to stop and help another living animal. Two legs or four. At some point in time you will be rewarded.

I received an e-mail from Tesses sister Melodie. She had some well deserved concerns about my first post about Pooh, (Annie.)I asked for her permission to post her comments and she agreed. I will also post my response.

Dear Randy,

I just read your blog entries about Pooh and felt I needed to respond. First of all, I would like to thank your niece Lindy, for pulling over to resue Pooh, my sister's baby. Not everyone would do that, not knowing how an injured dog will react. It upset me to read some of your comments, however, and I would like to set the record straight. If you knew Tess and Pooh you would know that many of your descriptions are way off base:

I look at my unkempt fur and feel this thing around my neck that once held my identity. The tags long since gone as are the praising words of the child who once fed me.
Could her fur have been unkempt due to escaping from an attacking coyote? She had been attacked at the house and was found approximately a half-mile away.

I, once loved, now encouraged to keep my distance from humans. Tormented by thrown rocks and stinging words.
Pooh has never experienced thrown rocks or stinging words. She is naturally shy around everyone except Tess, even family.

I cannot help but to lay on my side preparing to be struck,... Pooh had been on the run from a coyote for who knows how long. She may have lain on her side from exhaustion, not waiting to be struck. Maybe she was relieved someone saw her and was helping her . Maybe she could not fight any more.

The little girl that had looked as though she been on the streets for sometime ... Pooh stayed outside on guard-duty during the day while Tess was at work. After Tess got home Pooh was in the house, lying on the end of the couch. She was not a street dog.

It makes you wonder if maybe she was left behind by her owners by accident or maybe on purpose. If Pooh were truly the unloved, abused dog your blog seems to portray she would not have been looking for her owner. Pooh is very attached to Tess and would not have left her willingly.

I will miss "Annie" very much but deep down I knew that she would not be ours for long.Once Annie saw her owner she transformed into a completely different dog!! Once they made contact Annie jumped into her owner, Tess's lap and kissed her on the face and cuddled as close as she could to her.
I think this says it all. This reaction lets you know that Pooh is loved. I call every night and know how many places Tess went and how many people she talked to. She never gave up on her and always talked about when Pooh came home, not if she came home. Again, thank you to Lindy for rescuing Pooh and to you for contacting KREM2 and getting her on tv so Tess could find her. The two you put events in motion so Pooh could return home where she belongs. We need more people willing to do this. Melodie(Tess's sister)

Thank you for your response Melodie, I hope I cleared up any doubt that Pooh is loved by your wonderful sister with the final post. You have to understand that when I was told about the events on the phone I was and still am in the Arctic. I am a writer but not always of facts. I had not seen any photos of Pooh when the initial post was written. I without a doubt took a great deal of creative liberties while writing the story. It is clear that Pooh is well cared for because she is 15 years old. At the time the vet thought she was about 8 years old. this is a testament to the care she received from Tess. It is very impressive.If you like I can post your comment on the blog site but only with your permission.

Randy J. Cole

Melodie, I should also mention that when I wrote the first entry, it was really a depiction of the plight of all dogs in general that find them selves alone and almost reads like a poem. Most of the stuff I write for my blog and other projects are from first hand experience except my historical references such as Lincolns Rain. I really had no idea at that moment that I would contact KREM News but it was something that occurred to me after the fact. Anyway I am glad that it turned out the way it did.

Randy J. Cole

Annie to Pooh

E-mail I received from Lindy today August 8th Friday:

Ok, so here is the story and the pictures. I called the vet tech at home last night to get some ideas on how to get Annie to eat it was then that she told me that a woman had come to the clinic after the news report and said that Annie was her dog. The clinic told her that she was in a safe spot for the night and to come back tomorrow when I was already scheduled to bring her in for a check up at 10:00 She showed up at 7:00 and brought in the flyer that she had circulating around all the local vet's clinics but Wandermere becasue of the location she didn't realize it was there. So the vet called this morning saying that she was indeed the owner and that they told her to come back at 10:00 when I was scheduled to bring her in. I new that she would be there early so I decided to show up a little earlier as well. I new as soon as I parked that she was the one waiting in the clinics waiting room. SHe looked anxiously as I opened the car door and as soon as I got Annie out her eyes perked up and started to cry. Once Annie saw her owner she transformed into a completely different dog!! Once they made contact Annie jumped into her owner, Tess's lap and kissed her on the face and cuddled as close as she could to her. It was then that we found out her story. Her real name is Pooh and I think that Tess said her granddaughter named her. She is 15 years old and has been with Tess since she was born (in her house). She is always at Tess's feet except for the Monday that I found her. She couldn't find her and she immediately began looking and sending out flyers in desperate search of her. Tess belives that a pack of coyotees plucked her from her yard becasue it is not in her nature to go far from her at all. Tess thanked me over and over and we hugged and cried together and then she offered for me to stay for the vet's visit but I just couldn't I left at that point closing this small little chapeter in my life. I will miss "Annie" very much but deep down I knew that she would not be ours for long. She had an owner that she was desperatly looking for and we all could sense that. When she was at my parents for the night she was always on a mad search for something so now that she has found it I can rest easily and be happy that she is where she needs to be and healing in loving arms. My parents tried deperately to connect with her but she had other plans. Just so everyone knows her eyes are no longer sad!! They are full of life! I am trying to scan the flyer so look for that in a couple of minutes. Thanks again for all the work you have done in getting Pooh back to her owner.

Photo: Tess and Pooh (Annie)after being reunited at the Wandermere Animal Hospital, Friday morning August 8th.

E-mail received from Tess and Pooh, today August 8th Friday:

My name is Tess and I am the friend Pooh (Annie) has lived with the whole 15 years of her life. She is a faithful, happy, loving friend who I have been missing since Monday. I have been searching for her every day with the help of my friend Kim. I had flyers out, but I missed the Wandermere Animal Hospital. I now know it is there. I was going door-to-door with flyers when the Krem 2 story aired. I was invited into one of the houses I went to and they told me they had just seen my Pooh on the news! I cannot even describe what I felt when I heard that. I drove to the Wandermere Animal Hospital immediately, but I arrived after 6:00 p.m. I had to wait until the next morning to bring my baby home. I was unable to watch the story on the internet because I needed to update my flashplayer. That website was down. My friend Kim tried playing it for me over the phone. Another friend, Donna, told me the lady who had rescued my baby had taken her home. I was devastated. I did not know when I would see her again. The wait was long and painful, as I know hers was too. We are very close. She is always at my side. There has been such a void since she has been gone. I owe so much to all who helped my baby. There is no way to thank everyone enough. That void in my heart has been filled again. I truly believe in the power of prayer. I have been praying for God to please lead me to Pooh. My prayer was answered when some wonderful people saw the story on Krem 2.

As a result of this experience, my friend Kim and I are going to start a website for lost and found animals. We need a place that links everything together and makes it easier to find lost friends. Also as a result of this experience, Pooh will be getting a chip. She is forever losing her tags...

I am attaching a few pictures (I could fill pages and pages...). Please feel free to use any or all on your blog. And thank you so much for your part in bringing my baby home.

Pooh's friend,

Annie's saga continues

Check back soon! An unbelievable end to the Annie saga is at hand. I am just waiting for the photos to arrive. My faith in the Universe and the powers that be, grow stronger with every moment!
The rest of the story is coming soon.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Annie Update / Krem 2 News

Things are looking up for Annie but everyone who sees her says she looks like she is looking for someone. It makes you wonder if maybe she was left behind by her owners by accident or maybe on purpose. We will see how it all turns out in the end. Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers.
Below is the link to the KREM News report that was aired today.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Annie's Saviors

The escape came at a cost, but I am alive.
The taste of my blood sours my stomach and reminds me of where I came from.
Oh how I wish to be back nuzzling close to my brood with mother licking these wounds that run so deep.
It was so long ago, but at this moment it brings me comfort to think of her loving breath as she cleaned my face.
Oh I hurt, but if only to make it to the side of the road. Perhaps a human will grant me my wish for survival.
I want to live but I am not sure why. I look at my unkempt fur and feel this thing around my neck that once held my identity.
The tags long since gone as are the praising words of the child who once fed me.
As the pain grips my body, the pain centered in my heart is the worst.
I, once loved, now encouraged to keep my distance from humans. Tormented by thrown rocks and stinging words.
Where are the saviors, as these cars pass by?
If I rest, the coyote will surly find me.
Please, I do not wish to become food for the wild animals. I should not be a part of that equation.
I wish to be praised and touched by a loving hand once again.
Have mercy or I shall perish.
My legs shake as she approached. Reaching out telling me it was going to be OK.
I cannot help but to lay on my side preparing to be struck, but the stroke to my head and the words told me I was wrong. A savior, a savior at last!!!!

August 4th, 11:00 a.m. Lindy Terry, of Spokane, WA noticed a small red haired animal stumbling near a busy roadway on the north side of Spokane. The first impression was that it was a coyote which are known to frequent the wooded areas that surround Spokane. As she got closer it became clear that the animal was in fact a small dog, bleeding from several wounds. The dog was disoriented and obviously in a great deal of pain. Lindy pulled her car to the side of the road and attempted to make a rescue. The animal after surviving the attack of what is believed to have been a coyote, was not yet ready to surrender to helping hands and eluded Lindy’s attempts to catch her. Two other vehicles joined the rescue attempt and thanks to the fast actions of an unidentified young man with good intentions, the little dog was safely placed into Lindy’s vehicle. The animal laid on the front seat of the car bleeding and confused and so exhausted, unable to enact any more fight or flight response. The air conditioner surrounded her with cool comfort while being driven to the Wandermere Animal Hospital, in North Spokane. As soon as Lindy arrived with her patient, the staff of Wandermere took immediate action and the process of saving this little strangers life began. According to Lindy, the staff treated Annie with the utmost respect and care. The little girl that had looked as though she been on the streets for sometime was now receiving medical treatment mixed with real love. Oddly the staff started to call her Grandma Annie because of her advanced age for a dog, believed to be about eight years, before Lindy decided that Annie was an appropriate name because of her status in life as well as the red hair. Strange how those things work out. Staff members were surprised when Lindy told them of her choice for a name.

I called Wandermere Animal Hospital a short time ago, Wednesday at about 12:15 p.m. Spokane time to check on Annie’s status. A very kind young lady answered and said that Annie appeared to be perking up a bit. This was after a tough night and morning. I will keep you informed on Annie’s status as things develop.

If you are a religious person, then a prayer would be nice. If you are just nice person then happy thoughts would suffice. I am sure in any event that donations would be accepted to help offset the cost of Annie’s care. Supplied is the web site address for, Wandermere Animal Hospital.

If you would like to contact me with comments but do not belong to the Blogger community please do so by writing me at

Randy J. Cole

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Wrapped Around Your Finger

I had been out of the hospital for a short time and the pain was still significant in the upper abdomen. It was the first body part that I had lost since the removal of my foreskin shortly after my birth. Thinking about it, if at my age I was to have a choice of having my foreskin removed or my gallbladder I would go with the gallbladder. I hated the removal of my gallbladder, but just the thought of the other one really gets to me.
My wonderful girlfriend spent the night in the hospital with me; this was big because she has a very strong dislike of hospitals. It was comforting knowing that she had made the sacrifice on my behalf.
Chaniya’s stay had been really wonderful and we decided that we got along very well as a couple. The hospital stay was the closing deal. I loved her and she loved me. The only thing that gave us both a worry was our financial situation. I had a huge mortgage, child support, and cost of everyday living and some bad investments on my part. Not a great start but we were convinced that we would overcome. Now looking at the mystery of hospital bills that may not be covered by my insurance, it was worth the risk and we decided to take it.
The darkness of the place consumed the would be shadows of a couple seated near the fireplace. The sound of others immersed in their own conversations about life in Libby, Montana. The place is called The MK Steakhouse just out of town. It has been a fixture in our community for many years and is what you would expect from an upper crust steakhouse in a small town. Blue jeans and no ties, well once and a while, maybe a tie. This is a place that means a lot to me. Built by the guy, Ed Lewis, or better known as, The Montana Kid, who was the original trainer for the television horses, Flicka and Fury. It is also the place where I was seated enjoying a fillet minion with my ex-wife. As I shoved a big tender piece of meat into my face, a beautiful blond with the lowest cut blue jeans I have ever seen stopped and looked at the cut of beef on my plate and said, “My gosh, that looks really good.” I answered, but I am sure she did not understand what I had said, how embarrassing. The blond was Hollywood party girl, Tara Reid. She was in town filming a independent film at one of our local lakes.
But on the night that I sat with Chaniya, I forgot about the other times I spent in the MK. I was focused on the black haired Asian beauty that sat across from me. A small basket of dark bread had been served to our table. The bread had been accompanied by little blocks of butter, wrapped in gold foil. Before the dinner course could be served I made my move. In the darkness I dropped to one of my knees before this woman that I loved. The words came out clear, “Chaniya, I love you and I would very much like you to be my wife.” I took her long beautiful fingers and singled out the ring finger on her left hand. As she smiled and said yes, I carefully guided the gold ring fashioned out of the foil from a Medowgold butter chunk smoothly over the first joint and the second as if it had been made for her finger. It also could have been the butter. We laughed about it at the time as she made adjustments to its imperfect shape.
I can only speak for myself, although I am sure that Chaniya would agree, when I say that the silly little foil ring fashioned from a cover for a stick of butter, means more to us then any other material possession that we hold. It is a true symbol of a love that is real and the day by day struggles we need to overcome and even more importantly the ones behind us.
I am sure in my heart, that one day; I will leave her alone on this earth. I have an image of Chaniya many years after I am gone preparing for her own journey. She will reach into a special place and remove the yellowed little box. She will explain to her daughter the importance of the gold foil ring. Her daughter will understand and Chaniya will carry it with her on her journey. In that respect, Chaniya and I are the richest people on this earth.

Honey I love you!

Images by Chaniya Ninbanphot Cole


I love candid shots. This one, taken back in 2005, means a great deal to me. My grandson looks on as a video plays in the visitor’s area, under the Lincoln Memorial. The video that was playing was Martin Luther Kings great speech, “I have a Dream,” which took place on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, just above where we were standing. My Grandson has experienced the dislike and contempt from ignorant people that pass judgment on others because of the color of their skin. What a shame!

Randy J. Cole

The Blind

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Somebody's Mama Died Last Night

If you are reading this blog for the first time, may I suggest that you read parts I,II,and III of the Sand Box series first. Enjoy and come back.

Randy J. Cole

Prior to the days of 911-enhanced emergency phone systems, law enforcement and other emergency services had to rely on the abilities of call takers to pry basic information from those in need. Not an easy task considering it is damn near impossible to remember what your address, and at times, even your name is when the shit is hitting the fan. I know, because as an officer, I have experienced it myself. Prior to my becoming an officer, before radio communication was common place, many small communities throughout the country used a simple light on a pole located somewhere in the city. The officer would notice when the light was on and stop by the office where the call taker had written down the information given by the caller. That would make Mayberry a pretty darn modern department in the early sixties considering they had radio communications.

This story takes place in a time when Stevens County had radios, but 911 had not made it to our corner of the world yet. It was important that the call taker/dispatcher could dispatch officers, as well as other emergency services, to the location where they were needed. On this cool summer night, I was the only officer on duty for the City of Colville. It was shaping up to be a rather dull night of door shaking and an occasional barking dog type of shift. You’re bored out of your mind, but when the night is over you are relieved that nothing requiring paperwork had happened.

The call came into the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office dispatch center at about three a.m. An elderly woman told the call taker/dispatcher that she was having pains caused from a hernia for which she was being treated. She was able to tell the dispatcher her address and only wanted him to call her son. She could not say what her son’s name was and seemed to be disorientated. Unable to get more information from the caller, the dispatcher asked me to respond to the address and see if I could make contact with the caller. I found the address to be that of a modest, small, neat one-story house located about two blocks from the sheriff’s office. It was also located the same distance from the ambulance parking facility across the street from the sheriff’s office. The ambulance personnel were and still are dedicated volunteers, the same as most small communities throughout the country. The ambulance facility had sleeping quarters, but those on-call could stay at their own homes provided they lived within the city limits of Colville. They would be notified of an ambulance run by a paging system which in no way resembles the pagers of today. As I recall, they were very large boxes that would be placed in one’s home when they were on-call.
The dispatcher kept the caller on the phone and told her that I was at her residence. She responded with, “All I want is for you to call my son”, but yet could not or would not give any information as to who her son might be. She did tell the dispatcher that she was not able to get to the door to unlock it and this information was passed on to me. I walked around to the side of the house and found a light on in what appeared to be a bedroom. The bottom of the window was about five feet from the ground and open about three inches and was also covered with a screen. There she sat on her bed talking to the dispatcher and I made my presence known. At this point, it was not clear that a major medical problem existed, however based on the fact that she could not get off the bed, it was best that we page out the ambulance crew. At about this point, I observed the woman fall back on her bed and passed this information on to the dispatcher. I was able to pry the screen from the window. Fortunately, the window was not locked in place and I quickly slid it open as far as I could. I pulled myself into the open window, a task which would be impossible today. As I slithered my top half into the room, the window, without warning, slammed down on my waist and managed to key my portable radio which was attached to my side. Panic ruled the moment as the unresponsive woman lay on the bed to my left. It was obvious she was not breathing. I was forced to become a circus performer, all the while cussing a blue streak which, unfortunately, could be heard by other law enforcement units throughout the county. I am sure that many of the local citizens who had police scanners sat straight up in bed wondering if they had heard the nice policeman correctly. Somehow I managed to get my right elbow to the window and slid it open to the point where I could roll onto the floor. If the woman was having an out-of-body experience looking down at the scene, I am sure I looked like a monkey humping a football. Everything fell out of my pockets and my gun belt also popped off as if spring-loaded. I jumped to my feet with my radio and advised dispatch that the woman had no pulse and no respiration. I began CPR, as I had been trained, knowing that the ambulance would soon be arriving.
A police officer doing any type of emergency first aid in those days of the early eighties, usually did them without the benefit of any type of protection. Mouth-to-mouth meant just that. People need to be thankful for the developments that have taken place within the last five years such as the advent of the Automatic External Defibrillator or AED. Most small law enforcement agencies carry these in their patrol vehicles. Thousands of lives have been saved with this technology. God how I wish it would have been around back then.
In an effort to keep me informed, the dispatcher advised me that the paging system appeared to be down and that he was attempting to place phone calls to the ambulance crew on-call. These were not the words that I wanted to hear. All I wanted was the sound of the wailing sirens and the flash of red lights bouncing off the light-colored walls and more strength. I provided CPR for seventeen minutes before the ambulance rolled to the front of the house. The crew rushed in and took over the responsibilities of pumping this stranger’s heart and providing the necessary air to her lungs. I collapsed in the corner as if I had just gone fourteen rounds with a heavy- weight boxer. Death is a foe that does not give in to defeat easily. This woman, who had been struck down by what appeared to be a massive heart attack, was loaded into the ambulance and transported to the hospital. I was a total mess and because of the amount of sweat that had drenched my uniform, I went home and changed clothes.
It was about six in the morning before I made my way to the hospital to check on the status of the patient. I was met at the emergency ward entrance by one of the ambulance attendants, who also happened to be my sergeant at the police department. He was very calm as he told me that the lady had passed away and that I had done everything possible. The sun was coming up and it looked as though it would be a beautiful day. My Sergeant looked at me and said, “I need you to do something now. I need you to deliver a death message”. I responded with, “I think I can handle that boss, just tell me where”. He looked a bit surprised as I said that. He removed the pipe from his mouth and said, “You need to tell the chief that his mother just passed away”. I was stunned. I had no idea that the woman who was asking for her son was referring to the chief, my boss. When I arrived at his house, he was in good spirits and family was there as well, visiting from out of town. I broke the news to him and his response was as to be expected by a son who loses the mother who gave him life.
This story doesn’t have a happy ending, but then again, life itself can be painful and all of us experience this type of loss. Police officers are no different and many of those we serve think that we shouldn’t have the right to a bad day. This is a good time to remind the reader that law enforcement officers bleed on the outside as well as the inside, just like everyone else.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Some Color for the Page

I decided that maybe a little color from the slope might be nice. This little batch of flowers are loctated in the parking lot area of the Alaska Airlines termanal in Deadhorse. This is the airport that serves passengers traveling to the North Slope of Alaska. These are known as, "River Beauty."

Little closer view for you flower lovers.

Anytime Now

While going through some older photos, 2003 , I found this one of a goofy little dog we once had. Peter Parker was his name and he was a character. He would get up on the sofa 15 minutes before the kids would arrive home from school and stand watch. One of his flaws was that he thought he was flawless. He found out he wasn't when he was ran over in front of some of my kids, by a big truck. I was of course on the slope at the time, so my then wife, Julie, had to deal with the aftermath.
I still miss him!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Somebody Slap Me

In Sandbox one and two, I gave you an idea about my life when I was just a kid, playing my life out in a sandbox. The continuing stories will be about some of the unusual true life events that took place long after the sandbox was gone and after the badge became a part of my life. I hope you enjoy reading them.

A good dream, as well as a bad one, can leave an impression on you like a song that you just can’t clear from your mind. Early on in my career, I had one of those dreams, actually, more of a nightmare. It was so realistic that I sat straight up in bed and realized that I was soaked with sweat. At least I hope it was sweat.

The dream put me behind the wheel of my patrol car while I was working the graveyard shift. I can still see it like it was yesterday. In this dream, I was driving slowly on Colville’s main street and as I went past a sporting goods store on my right, I heard the tell-tale sound of my tires rolling over broken glass. I could even see small shards reflecting the light from my headlights like an early morning layer of snow. I aimed my spotlight at the front of the sporting goods store and saw large, jagged holes in the picture windows that lined the front of the building. The sidewalk was covered with glass as well and it was apparent that the holes had been created by a large caliber weapon from the inside out. I bent my right arm at the elbow and my hand wrapped around the pistol grip of the jet black, Hi Standard Model 10 semi-auto shotgun, which was stored in an upright, locked position just to my right. Once the release button was pushed, it fell into my arm like an old friend. It was my favorite weapon while I was with the Colville Police Department. I pulled my patrol car past the end of the building, stepped out of my car and took a position at the front corner of the store. Things slowed down to a movie dream sequence as I looked across the street toward a restaurant that was located about a half-block away. Standing in the doorway was a man yelling, “He’s in here, he’s in here”, all the while beckoning me with his arm. I left my position and walked in slow motion across the street. The man who had beckoned me was no where to be found. I entered the doorway and pulled the door open. A white flash, an explosion, and I was wide awake fighting to get the sheets off. My wife turned on the light, looked at me, and wondered if she should run. I was bothered by the realism of this dream and was unable to sleep the rest of the day.

When I went to work that afternoon, I shared the dream with another officer, who had been my trusted field training officer and always a good person to talk to. He listened patiently, but being a man of few words I don’t recall him commenting on my experience.
It was the middle of the week and I was well into my graveyard shift. It was a cool, summer night and the town appeared to be quiet. It was about one-thirty in the morning when dispatch told me that they had received a strange phone call from an unidentified man. He had said that he was involved in a minor car accident in an alley behind some businesses located on Colville’s main street. I responded from the other side of town. A Stevens County deputy called me on the radio. He said he was in the area and would assist me. The deputy arrived moments before me and I turned into the alley about a half-block behind him. I could see him moving forward checking the buildings to his left with his spotlight. He was adjacent to the sporting goods store when his brake lights briefly came on and then his backup lights. I looked on curiously as his big green and white cruiser accelerated so fast that the rear end began to bounce as it tried to keep up with the command of the deputy’s right foot. I slapped my transmission into reverse and did the same thing, but other than trying to avoid being hit, I wasn’t sure why. The deputy was yelling on his radio, but since we were so close, I wasn’t able to understand him until I cleared the alley and slid sideways into the street. The deputy stopped in the alley after turning his car sideways. “There’s a man with a shotgun at the back of the sports shop and he aimed it at my head. Take the front!” I heard that loud and clear and it wasn’t until I was turning the last corner and traveling up the main street of Colville that I started to recall the dream of a few nights before. I turned off my headlights, but in the dull light of the surrounding street lights, I could see the glimmer of shattered glass on the roadway. The sound of it being crushed under my tires as I drove past was unmistakable and I began to sweat.

I pulled my car to the curb and hit the release on my 12-gauge friend. It fell into my right arm just as it had in my dream. I took my position and waited for off-duty officers to arrive. Jim, the officer I had shared my unusual dream with just a few nights before, arrived and surveyed the numerous holes in the front window of the sporting goods shop. He and another senior officer went inside the building to search for suspects. Moments after they completed the building search, the sound of someone yelling caught my attention. It was a man standing in the doorway of the restaurant located down the street, just as it had played out in my dream. I was scared at this point and really, who wouldn’t be? The other two officers came out and looked at the man who was still beckoning us to the front door of the establishment. The three of us walked to the entrance. Jim, looking a bit spooked, instructed me not to go through the doorway, so I covered the entrance from the corner near the alley. This allowed me to watch the front door as well as the exit to the alley. The other two officers went through the front door and a short time later exited to the alley. The suspect had left the back way before our arrival. I was relieved that he had left the building and that the grip of the dream had been released.

The moments of relief were short-lived as the dispatcher advised that a woman had called in a panic stating that a man had just broken down the back door of her house. The specific address of the incident was given as the 700 block of Pine Street. I did say specific, but to me it didn’t matter as my house was located at 710 Pine Street, but I was so full of fear that I had forgotten my own address. All I could envision was that the person who had killed me in my dream would fulfill his obligation by harming my family instead. I drove like a mad man to get to my house, rules no longer applied. I turned my patrol car onto Pine Street to find the two senior officers standing in the middle of the road with the suspect. He had given up without a fight after being chased out of my next door neighbor’s house at gun point. Thank God it wasn’t my house and that no one was hurt.

The caller who had reported the accident earlier in the evening had been identified and was taken to the police department for questioning. He said that he had been riding around with the suspect all night and they had indulged in alcohol as well as other stimulants. The suspect, who was the driver of the 1970 green Ford Maverick, became paranoid and felt he needed to acquire a weapon. Although he couldn’t see straight, he somehow managed to travel down the alley behind the sporting good store at a high rate of speed. He almost made a ninety-degree left turn, crashing through two double freight doors at the back of the building. The doors simply closed behind the vehicle and without close examination you never would have known it was inside. The amazing thing was that the Maverick had less than a half-inch clearance on either side. The passenger ran from the scene not knowing what his buddy was going to do and decided to report a minor traffic accident. The only reason the deputy had not been shot that night was because the cocking mechanism on the shotgun had been damaged by the suspect while he was blowing holes in the front of the building.

Needless to say, that night proved to be one of the most exciting nights I had ever had during my 19 years as a cop – and also one of the strangest.

Sunday, July 20, 2008



I thought I would share some more things about the North Slope that might interest you. The North Slope is the largest borough, or county, in size (not population) in the United States with an area mass of just under 90,000 square miles. The population is somewhere between 7000 and 9000 people. This does not count the oil field workers in Prudhoe Bay, which is within the North Slope jurisdiction. The borough has a camp in Deadhorse, which houses the government agencies. One such agency is the NSB Police Department. I worked for this agency for 10.5 months back in 2001 but left for employment with a private company after 9/11. Here are a few photos which depicts the NSB’s standard patrol vehicle. The thing that set the vehicle aside is the very unique emblem of the department. It really does capture the soul of the North Slope. I look forward to sharing more unusual things found in this part of Alaska.

This graphic has got to be one of the most interesting ever to be placed on a law enforcement vehicle.

All images by Randy J. Cole