Flora Cash's Cole Randall confesses, apologizes for defacing Pompeys Pillar
A quick listen to Plymouth-based Flora Cash's sepia-toned folk makes them seem like passionate souls. Unfortunately, that passion led to an ill-informed decision on singer/guitarist Cole Randall's part. According to the lengthy confession and apology he posted in letter form Monday, his choice to etch "Cole + Shpresa Pompeys Pillar in Montana was motivated by "love and fear of loss."
On October 10, the pair were caught on the national monument's grounds. The carving that Randall's wife and bandmate Shpresa Lleshaj had advised against was later discovered by investigators. Randall says he regrets the decision to go against her wishes and is ready to face the consequences. The text of his letter is below.
In it, Randall explains that he and his bride had cut their California honeymoon short after she discovered a suspicious lump in her breast. He was terrified on their trip home, and their trip to the monument was colored by worry for his wife. His apology is lengthy and heartfelt.
To everyone affected by my signing the sandstone near the great William Clark's signature,
First, I humbly apologize. It was never my intention to harm the archaeological site, which contains Clark's signature. It was also not my intention to proclaim that I am somehow in the same "league" as that great explorer. The fact is: there is no excuse for my etching our names onto that rock... but I owe you an explanation and with that: a context in which my actions can be better understood.
My new wife and I had just finished our honeymoon, which consisted of a road trip to California. Sadly, our honeymoon was cut short when my wife discovered a suspicious lump on her breast. Because she had no insurance at the time, we were forced to make the trip back to Minnesota before we could even attempt to work out a screening. During the entire trip home, I was scared... Terrified, actually. Worst-case scenarios raced through my mind.
Eventually, we happened across the historical site known as Pompey's Pillar. I read the sign that explained why this place was significant and was utterly inspired by the last part of the description, which read, "for generations, Americans passing by this place have left their marks upon the rocks." Despite my better judgment, I was taken with the idea that by putting our names on that stone, we would be adding to a tradition started by the Native Americans, renewed by William Clark and carried forward by the average folk who have passed by and "left their marks" for over 200 years. On top of that, I was motivated by the fact that maybe if something were to happen to my wife, I could come back to this place years from now and see her and my names together. Stupid? Yeah. Misguided? Definitely. But when love and fear of loss team up: we sometimes lose our better judgment, no matter the consequences.
The fact is: regardless of what happens, our names will be removed from that stone. And I will be prepared to face the consequences of my actions. My wife advised me not to etch our names, but I insisted... foolishly. I regret my decision and once again, I humbly apologize to the people of Montana and to every American who was affected by my foolishness. My promise to you is that I have learned a valuable lesson throughout this ordeal and will never repeat such an action in the future. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me for this and realize that I understand the gravity of my mistake.
Kindest regards and best wishes,
See the etching on the next page
So where do we go from here? That depends on the severity of the fine and any prison term handed down. Now that more folks know the name Flora Cash for the wrong reasons, it does seem Randall and Lleshaj not only owe it to the state of Montana to make things right, but to themselves.
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