Sunday, March 30, 2008

Reflections


I took this photo while on the Gulf of Thailand. I myself need to pay more attention to the messages I have tried to provide in these motivational art pieces. We all get lost at sometime or another.


Randy

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Old Man With The Big Hat



Above, you will see the aircraft that was flown by Yeager as it looks today at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.






The Old Man with the Big Hat



The small Arlington Airport, located on the west side of Washington State, hosts one of the best little air shows in the northwest. It takes place during the summer and although it is considered to be a small airport, it still accommodates larger aircraft as well as small jets. For two years, 1997 through 1998, we lived about three blocks away from this airport. At times, driving on one of the main roads, which cut across the flight path of some of the unique aircraft taking off and landing, could be thrilling as well as breathtaking. I remember one afternoon, just days before the air show was to begin. We were driving home from a friend’s house, the kids entertaining themselves in the rear seats and my wife and I engaged in a conversation. My eye caught the unmistakable shape of a B-17 bomber approaching for a landing. I was able to pull over on the shoulder of the road as the big bird lowered its wheels. My kids got out of the truck and stood next to me and waved as this enormous veteran passed overhead. For me, it was the same feeling I get watching the American flag being raised, patriotic goose bumps. To my kids it was just a big, cool airplane. My little boy, who was about six at the time, was more impressed than his sisters and asked me if we could go to the air show. It was a great opportunity for me to bond with the little man and I said yes. I had to work that following weekend, but I made plans to go on Sunday, the final day. My son was very excited, but as luck would have it, I got off work later then anticipated. By the time I made it home, the show was almost over and we were both disappointed. I made an effort to consol him and decided to take him anyway to at least walk around and look at the static displays. Once inside, looking at these parked planes was not as interesting to this 6-year old as it would have been with them in the air. I felt as though I had let him down, but in police work, you as well as your family have to get used to that kind of thing. As we walked the grounds, I noticed a booth that sold hats, t-shirts and even model planes. I thought that perhaps buying my son a hat would be a good way to smooth things over. I found a colorful one with a yellow P51 Mustang embroidered on the front. My son liked it as well and I took it off the rack and handed it to one of the men in the booth. As he rang it up, he asked if we would like Bob to sign the hat. My thought was, if this will make Bob happy, go ahead. Bob stood up and took a black permanent marker and scrawled his full name across the hat next to the yellow Mustang. I shook his hand and said thank you and walked away. Bob was a very descript man and was wearing the largest straw hat I had ever seen. He also had a rather large nose which caught my attention.
As we walked through the rest of the displays, we came upon a guy sitting in a lawn chair at the back of a pickup. Behind the truck was a very small helicopter with a bubble nose. What better way to end an otherwise boring afternoon visit than taking my son for a helicopter ride. It was expensive and to tell you the truth, it scared the hell out of me. Based on the death grip that my son had on my leg, he wasn’t feeling too secure either. I flew in helicopters while I was in the Air Force, but those were Huey’s, a much larger chopper. The problem with this little fellow was the fact that my ass hung over the edge of the entrance which had no door. The pilot wasn’t a happy man either and based on the visible scars on his arms and face, he had most likely earned the right. We left the show grounds with shaky legs, but on a happy note. My son had been airborne for the first time and survived. On the way out, we passed the booth where we had seen this man named Bob. He tipped that huge hat as we walked by. It wasn’t until four years later that I asked myself just who in the hell is Bob. My son still had the hat that I had bought that day and I asked him to bring it to me. I was online and decided to see what I could find. I typed in the name on the hat, Bob Hoover, and I was surprised to see page after page pop up. I started to read about Mr. Hoover. This man, who I had regarded only as the old man with the big hat, was suddenly much more than that. Bob Hoover was perhaps one of the most interesting men I have ever shaken hands with. Mr. Hoover, by all accounts, including that of General Jimmy Doolittle, is considered to be one of the greatest pilots in U.S. history. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroic exploits in World War II and also flew combat missions in Korea. On October 14th, 1947, Bob Hoover piloted the chase plane when Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier and he was the designated back-up pilot for Yeager. He went on to become one of the greatest acrobat pilots to ever dance in the sky. If I had only known, Mr. Hoover, if I had only known.
My son keeps his hat safe from destruction and every once in a while, I will look at it and remember the old man in the funny hat. I wish I would have taken the time to say thanks for more then just him signing that hat.

Please enjoy this video from the BBC that shows this mans skill.

Friday, March 28, 2008




Invisible Artist

I took this photo October of 2006 in the window of the camp that I call home, while working on the North Slope in Alaska. I took the photo hoping to catch the orange glow in the frost from the setting sun, which during this time of year is not visible for very long. It was not until I downloaded the photos onto my laptop, that I discovered the images of two hummingbirds in the frost. The images appeared on the inside pane of a double pane window. Very strange indeed. I would love to receive some comments on this one.


Randy J. Cole

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Song of Farewell
(Taps)

The sound carries gently to distant hills,
for some it means tears, for others, perhaps chills.

The music that is played is a haunting sound,
another veteran lost, another to the ground.

Some lost in battle, from an enemy’s rage,
some raise their families, and pass from old age.

Those to be escorted by this haunting sound,
are those who stood firmly, for this country’s ground.

It matters not if we are black, red, or white,
rich or poor, we have all earned the right.

Loved ones say goodbye, to our body, our shell,
but we stand next to you, as you play Taps,
our last song of farewell.


Image and words by
Randy James Cole

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Simple Lesson


A Simple Lesson


A few years ago I took three of my kids for a hike to the Kootenai Falls, outside of Libby Montana, our home. The hike is an easy one and only takes about ten to fifteen minutes to reach the falls and swinging bridge that stretches across the Kootenai. To any movie buff, this is a key location for the movie “River Wild.” It is downhill most of the way so the return trip is not as easy but still doable. My daughter decided that collecting a keepsake on this trip was a good idea. The rock she holds in this photo is the one she selected. Granted it was a pretty colored rock but as you can see it was also a little large. As we progressed up the trail I noticed that she would stop and set the rock down replacing it with one bit smaller. This exchange of keepsakes continued all the way up the trail until we reached the top. In the end she had a small pebble in her hand that could easily be carried in her pocket. There is a lesson here to be learned. In order to reach our goals in life, we must learn to shed our burdens!

I hope everyone had a great Easter.

Randy

"Life Tide"


Another random thought to share with you.

RJ

Friday, March 21, 2008

"I'm Tired But I Love You"




I created this one for all pet owners who have experienced that painful drive to the Vets office.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

North Slope of Alaska, Prudhoe Bay


video

Here is a little video for you. Some of my photos from the North Slope in Alaska. Keep in mind that these were taken smack dab in the middle of the Prudhoe Bay Oil Field.

Being Fifty Plus


By Randy J. Cole

If you are fifty plus such as I, first you are to be congratulated. It wasn’t easy getting here but we did it. Pat yourself on the back. No matter how you feel about your accomplishments during those past five decades or so, you should acknowledge to yourself that you are now a wealth of information for the young, provided that they take the time to ask. It is clear that many of the things that we experienced during the fifties, sixties, seventies and eighties cannot be recreated on a hard drive of some computer. Sure the images are there but not the smell, taste and emotion of what we saw and heard. I smile when I ask my children what they did in school and they answer, “In history we are studying about the president that got shot in Texas.” My reply is always, “Oh really, let me tell you what it was like on that day," because like every other fifty plus person out there I was old enough to remember where I was and what I was doing when it happened. The same goes for the other major events of our time. Other assassinations, space exploration including the landing of man on the moon and so much more. I don’t know if my children recognize that what I have to say is important, or maybe they are just being polite. But they do listen to me and with luck they will remember what I have to say.
I listened to my father when he talked, but the problem was I didn’t ask enough questions. I missed the chance of finding out what it was like when he served in World War II. I missed my chance; he was buried with military honors in 98. I still smell the gun powder from the twenty one gun salute and I still remember the faces of the old veterans who fired those rounds. Most
of these gentlemen would soon take the role of my father as recipients of this time honored salute. They knew it and you could see it in their faces. As fifty plus Americans, we should understand the sacrifice that was made by our fathers, mothers, aunts and uncles and share it with our children and grandchildren. If you are lucky enough to have a living relative or friend that served in WWII, take your children and grandchildren to them. Encourage the kids to ask questions and the veterans to answer. There are still a number of World War II veterans alive to answer questions for the young but you can’t waste anytime asking them. Time runs short. One event coming within our lifetime my friends will be the passing of the last piece of living history from the war that had to be fought, and had to be won. I thought about it as I walked around the beautiful memorial to the veterans who served in World War II in our capitol a few years back. It is my favorite of all the memorials and I wish my father would have been able to see it. I wish that every living veteran from WWII could see it. I would gladly give up a portion of my tax return if it were to be put into a plan that would provide an opportunity for remaining veterans to go there and experience the thoughtfulness that was put into its design. It would also be a good reminder for younger people that we would have nothing as a nation if those honored by this monument had not made the sacrifices that they had made. In closing let me remind you that being close to someone who served or was a spouse or girlfriend or boyfriend to one that had served and not asking them to reflect is like walking into a library with blinders. Take the time to ask.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Our Fog

A young Officer R.J. Cole Coliville Police Department
Our Fog




Ladies and gentlemen, once again we have passed into a new year, when most of us spend time looking at the reflection of our lives. We become more emotional and see things in a different light. We remember family members who have passed and welcome the smiling faces of new children born who will take their place at the holiday tables. It is a time when we as Americans should look at our future and ask questions and seek answers.
There is a fog that has descended upon this country obscuring clear direction and free choices that we as Americans once took for granted.
I recall an incident from my early days, 1982, as a police officer in the city of Colville, Washington, which at the time seemed very humorous. Today I see it as a metaphor of what we are now experiencing in this country.
I would like to start this story by admitting to you that I am not a religious person. I do not attend services in any house of worship other than weddings, including my own, and funerals. I also do not consider myself an atheist because I have had enough amazing experiences in my life to know that we do receive gifts of thanks for doing the right things in life. These gifts just don’t happen; they have to come from somewhere or something that is bigger then us mortals.
The Colville valley in Northeast Washington is one of those undiscovered treasures. Truly beautiful to those who live and visit there. The Colville River flows nearby and within a short distance the Columbia rest in the reservoir known as Lake Roosevelt. In the fall and early winter when the air cools these bodies of water create a very dense fog.
It was a cool early December night and I was the only Colville officer on duty. The fog was so thick that the powerful street lights were but a glow, as if someone had laid a thick blanket over them. It was almost impossible to tell where on Main Street you were, unable to recognize any of the features of the buildings. As I slowly drove my patrol vehicle up the street, something to the right caught my eye. I tried to focus and make sense of what I was seeing. A rather bright light is shining low to the ground and I just barely make out the silhouettes of people some standing some appear to be kneeling. I radioed to the dispatcher that I was going to be making contact with a group of unidentified people at an unidentified location somewhere on the main city street. I left the warmth comfort of my car and using my best officer voice I said, “Colville Police, is everything OK?” I received no reply and the only sound that could now be heard was the sound of the snap on my holster being released and the sound of my heart pounding within my own head. I once again announced my presence in a clear loud voice with no response and no visible movement. I walked within feet of the forms only to be confronted by three wise men and numerous barn animals and in the center, a man named Joseph and his wife Mary. They looked fondly down at the face of there new born son Jesus. The snap of my holster being secured and a sigh of relief were the only sounds to be heard. Although the temperature was cold I felt warmth in knowing that even though shrouded in fog, the nativity scene, the symbol of faith for millions was present. It was impressive and means even more now then ever before. The fog descends on us all, believers and non believers as well as others like me who are somewhere in between. People like me are looked down upon by many who say you must make a decision and commit to a specific church or religion. I openly disagree, with the understanding that I will stand with you and protect the doors of your place of worship from attack by those who disagree with you’re beliefs.
I will stand with those who are willing to knock the chisel from the hands of those who would see the symbols of religions removed from the stones which mark the graves of our beloved veterans. I grieve with the mother of the fallen soldier who chooses protest as a way of stating her feelings. Although I am not in total agreement, she has earned the right. I stand with and support those who are willing to take on and destroy others who will see us all dead in the name of a religion they have perverted and soiled by killing innocent men women and children. What is responsible for the fog that blinds these people? What is responsible for the fog that blinds the leaders of nations and prevents them from making the best possible decisions and choices?
If you are inclined to pray, perhaps I could persuade you to ask for the lifting of the fog that seems to have blinded us all. God bless!


Randy J. Cole

Friday, March 14, 2008

Brothers Two


Brothers Two

By Randy J Cole http://www.randomstoneproductions.com/

This was written before a trip my sons and I took in 2005. Everything took place as described.

As I write this I am listening to the sound track to the movie “Gods and Generals,” beautiful music and for me thought provoking. This December I shall take my two youngest sons to this nation’s capitol. They will see things that I saw for the first time last year. I hope that although young, 8 and 11, they will understand and embrace the importance of what they will see. It will be for these two boys of vastly different heritage, a lesson in life as well as history. We shall visit the resting place of heroes from all walks of life; No matter how high or how low in military rank they are all represented at Arlington. Visible from the entrance is the massive American flag that flutters on a hill in front of Arlington House, the former residence of General Robert E. Lee. We will walk up that hill and on the way; stop at the eternal flame that burns at President Kennedy’s final resting place.
We shall talk about the Cuban missile crisis that represents the closest this nation has come to annihilation and how he made the right choices to stop it. We will talk about November 22, 1963 and how America watched as this president’s term came to an abrupt end and how he was laid to rest here before us.
We will walk further to the Tomb of the Unknown Solder. I will watch as my sons count the twenty one steps, the twenty one seconds and hear the snap of the metal on the shoes of the Old Guard as they honor the fallen. We will stand before memorials to fallen astronauts, and honor the simple grave of a small man by the name of Audy Murphy.
We shall enter Arlington House and admire the grandeur of this beautiful place. At the back of this home I will take my boys by the hand and lead them into the slave quarters which are vastly different from the pillared mansion that shadows this dark place. I will study the faces of these brothers carefully and ask them to share their thoughts. These young men are insightful and will have important questions to ask as well as things to say.
We shall go to the city of D.C. and stand at the feet of Lincoln sheltered from the falling snow seated on his marble chair. Although this man is long gone and made but of cold stone, his presence is strong and I know my boys will feel it as I do. We shall visit Fords Theater and look up to the box seat where an angry actor destroyed this great man but not his ideals. As we view the capitol building and the white house we will walk on a tree lined trail next to the reflection pond that stretches from the Lincoln Memorial to the World War II monument. Along the way we will not avoid the homeless who sleep under these trees, I want my boys to see them so that they know and understand that purchasing the newest video game isn’t really all that important in the big picture of things.
We shall walk to the massive building that houses America’s most important documents. These brothers will stand side by side and view the Constitution. They will look in the dim light through the thick glass at the Declaration of Independence, my youngest son, who is eight, will smile, for he is a descendant of one of the signers of this document and has read it from start to finish. One day I hope my other son will have a chance to view the Proclamation of Emancipation which rest in the New York State Library, he being the descendant of black slaves. These two brothers although different in appearance and of blood are still brothers just the same. They love each other and at times hate each other as most siblings do.
The last stop shall be at the nations Christmas tree. There in glow of it’s many lights we shall bow our heads and ask that all brothers and sisters in this world find the ability to live under one sky like the brothers two. Even though different, these two boys will learn to grow into young men under one roof. As we return to our Montana home, I hope that my boys will be thinking about what they have seen. I hope that they realize and appreciate the sacrifices made by so many over the last 230 years so Americans may all celebrate Christmas as well as other holidays that many Americans take for granted. From the brothers two and I, may you all have a safe and peaceful holiday season.