My $5 Hat



Me and my bargain $5 hat at Oxbow Golf Course in Fargo, North Dakota, after recapturing it again from the wind while riding in a golf cart.

I first purchased this simple straw-hat from a Rip-curl outlet on an outing in Torquay, Australia.

This hat has been on quite a journey with me. I wore it on my walks through the streets of Geelong prior to a flight with my pen-pal, Liz, (Libby) and her husband, John, leaving Melbourne, going through Adelaide on the way to Darwin in the Northern Territory. It shaded my face in the Outback and along our walks throughout Darwin.
I carried the hat in my carry-on bag as we flew up to a third world island, Timor-Leste.
On my first walk, under the directions of John, I donned the hat. We were very close to the equator, especially in comparison to places I’ve lived, so the hat helped protect my skin. As we walked along the shoreline we turned towards one of the busiest three-way traffic intersections. Suddenly, a gust of wind captured my hat lifting out of my reach merging towards the chaotic traffic. Chasing after the hat, was way too dangerous! Traffic there was unregulated unlike ours, everyone crosses here at their own risk, facing UN and Timorese government and four wheel drive vehicles, overloaded pick-ups, buses, taxis, and small motorcycles maneuvered by young parents with their children and babies.
Right in a tiny triangle of unstirred dust in the middle of the intersection my $5 bargain hat came to rest, completely unscathed and oblivious to the traffic stirring crazily around it. John rescued my hat with a shake of his head, and all I could respond was, “Uff-tah!”
At that point, I purchased a dollar Timor-Leste lanyard and attached it to the hat.
Flying to Singapore and South Korea, I carried the hat in my carry-on again, continuing to my longest flight ever of 7,709 miles to Dallas, Tx. My hat looked like it belonged in Texas, yet I was determined to keep my companion. I returned home through Minneapolis, Little Canada, and finally Fargo, after a slight detour through Paul Bunyon country.
When I’m not wearing it, my hat rests proudly and peacefully in the rear window of my Impala.


In my “guest-room” in Geelong.

Wishful Thinking

Wishful Thinking
Written with a friend trading off verses.

A grasp at the air, an elusive escape
I dream of an ocean and a mountainous landscape

A wisping away dare I try grasping again?
Or should I move away to new thoughts I could blend

Like the waves washing up eroding the shore
I first see my dreams but time makes them no more

So I looked to the heavens and the mountainous peaks
And I look for the sun rise where wishful thinking speaks

Are these dreams a prison for goodness sake
Or is it the foam from my latte that keeps me awake

Too much reality steps and takes hold
Sure hope I’ve done more by the time I’ve grown old

I’m spending my time thinking the wishes are locks
But maybe its reality, I’m between hard places and rocks

So I looked to the heavens and the mountainous peaks
And I look for the sun rise where wishful thinking speaks

Others I meet bring me tid bits of their thoughts they hold true
Their messages help inspire me on what I should do

Truth peers through the darkness though I still must have faith
The truth from the rod and the staff keeps me safe

I need to seek God and let go of control
I need to stop worrying and let go…just let go

So I looked to the heavens and the mountainous peaks
And I look for the sun rise where wishful thinking speaks

But I still feel the hound of the fear dogs at night
Its breath on my heels brings terror in flight

I Awake from the night in the middle of day
O God…I scream…I grasp…I pray

The dog whimpers beside me as we step into the light
He’s now a companion like an angel from the night.

So I looked to the heavens and the mountainous peaks
And I look for the sun rise where wishful thinking speaks

My latte is getting cold should I get it warmed up?
Or should I just get another cup


I want a “Fat-boy,” nice and low and easy,
That I can ride when it’s sunny and calm or breezy.
I’m talking of a bike,
I know I would like,
Of which I can control to please me.

Poem for Kaira at age 8

To: Sweet Kaira
Here is your poem;
I just have to say—
“Have a good lunch, and have a good day!
Don’t miss your bus–as you go on your way!
Study your science–go out and play!
Say ‘hi’ to your teacher–be sure to obey!
Drink all of your milk–and secretly pray!
Eat all of your goodies–and clear off your tray!
Best Wishes, Love, Mom”
December 1, 1993


Caller, Are You There?
By Valerie J. Kolle 3/26/2013

Suicide Hotline, my name is…

“No one understands me,
No one listens, can’t you see?
I don’t understand what’s happening to me!
No, I don’t have any family.
I have too much on my plate,
I’m overwhelmed, as of late,
All I see is a world of ‘Hate!'”

211 Help Line, what city are you calling from?

“We just arrived here, on a bus,
We heard there were jobs, for all of us.
What now, where do we go?
No jobs, no shelter, no jackets, and we need warm clothes!
Where do we stay, with all of this snow?”

Suicide Hotline, my name is…

“I’m fifteen, with no friends,
I get teased and bullied,
The awful messages they send,
I just want it all to end!
I know it’s wrong to think this way,
And I try to believe it will get better, I do pray.”

211 Help Line, what city are you calling from?

“I’m old, and alone,
I have a place, a home,
But I’m lonesome, and depressed,
Looking back at my life,
Who would have guessed?
Life just doesn’t seem fair.
Do you have time?
Are you busy?
I just want to visit with someone who cares!”

Suicide Hot Line, my name is…

Yeh, it’s cold out here, I need a place to stay,
I had a job, a home, just the other day.
I’d been drinking, I stopped, I lost so much.
I’m out of touch!
And, I started again,
Help me! Please! I’m in way too much pain!
What advice can you give?
I don’t care to live!”

211 Help Line, what city are you calling from?

“I’ve been kicked out, I’m on the street,
I’m alone with my children,
And we have nothing to eat!”

After-Hours Answering Service, what agency are you calling?

“Help me, I need an advocate, and more.”

Okay, I’ll listen, I care, I can connect you, let’s explore…

Alone, disconnected from the rest of us all,
We help by connecting services to the needs of the call.

12-step Connections, Follow-up Calls…
Ensuring that a person is safe, and able to heal,
Connecting with a “Caring and Listening” Person, who is “Real.”