So Many Causes! Where to Start?

Pink Hat





Start with a drop in the bucket. People make fun of me when I pick up pennies in the street. But I save them up until I get a hundred and then take them to the bank and get a dollar. Whoo hoo! 

Oh yeah, a dollar doesn’t buy much – except if you go to the Dollar Store. 

Yesterday, I went to the Dollar Store and spent a whopping $28! I put all the items in a 12″ by 12″ prepaid Priority Mailbox and sent it to St. Thomas! I found the “Adopt-a-Family” site on Facebook and followed their instructions. I hope my care package makes it to a displaced family. I packed it tightly with rolled up tee shirts, cans of Chef Boyardee ravioli, toothbrushes and toothpaste and other items suggested by the ingenious ladies who started the program. Here is the link:

When I went to the Capitola Post Office, the ever-cheerful Calvin smiled and said, “This package doesn’t have an actual street address, is that okay? Plus the computer says it may be delayed due to weather conditions.”

I smiled and replied, “If this package makes it to St. Thomas, it will find its way to the Mafolie Hotel! After Hurricane Irma and now Maria coming in, they need all the help they can get! Send it!”

And now the promised story from when I worked as a First Mate/Chef on a Charter Catamaran. Remember, if you like my story, please donate any amount to:

This is a reprint from Crew Life April 2009:

Hats Off to the Highest BidderPink Hat

So, there I was…clipping along in the dinghy, dressed for a shore outing, sporting my hot pink cowgirl hat. I had been wearing that hat ever since the day we christened it on the Quicksilver, the 42′ catamaran run by Captains Scott and Cara Higgenbotham. They are the ones that started me on this wild boat-wench life.

The truth is, it wasn’t the original hat. The first pink cowgirl hat – It’s PINK! It can’t be a cowboy hat if it’s pink, can it? I suppose that’s debatable … but, THAT hat just plain wore out! There was nothing left but a few strands of dyed pink straw. 

The pink hat madness story started on the first night of a week-long vacation. Imagine, four frisky women from Miami ready for some vacation fun! There was Suzette, the gorgeous, tall blonde Goddess with legs that went all the way up; Kristy, the raven-haired beauty with the piercing green eyes; Cara, the ex-Learjet pilot/beauty-queen/tri-athlete, and me. 

Scott and Cara had been running charters in the Virgin Islands, but this week was Cara’s turn to be off-duty; just one of the girls in our island entourage. 

Suzette and I had traveled together, flying out of Miami International. That experience alone with all its chaos is enough to drive one to drink. After landing in St. Thomas, we took a cab to the heart of Charlotte Amalie where Scott patiently waited. The dinghy was tethered to the main pick-up area. We easily tossed our bags aboard and raced out to Quicksilver where Kristi and Cara enthusiastically awaited our arrival.

We all felt anxious to get out of the noisy harbor and over to the tranquility of St, John, most of which is State Park. The island was famous for the posh Caneel Bay Resort, the Annaberg Sugar Mill at Leinster Bay, an underwater snorkeling trail at Trunk Bay, and wild donkeys that freely roam the island. We aimed to be added to the wild donkey category.

Soon after boarding Quicksilver, we began imbibing in the “Welcome Cocktail.” In the Caribbean, the rum is cheaper than the mixers and the rum-punch is made of rum and rum and rum and a little punch. As we got underway I downed my drink lickety-split and ended up drinking both Suzette’s and Kristie’s who, for a variety of reasons, were not ready to indulge. During the forty-five minute sail to our destination, I spotted a pretty pink hat hanging on a hook in the cockpit. While Scott an Cara scurried about getting us situated on the mooring ball, I changed into a bikini, donned the hat, cranked up the music, and danced like nobody was watching.

The rest of the group never did catch up to my level of the first-night-of-vacation-blow-out party. But that was okay because I was wearing the pink hat. 

The following morning I was awakened to the smell of bacon and coffee, normally good smells.That day with my huge fuzzy head and throbbing temples, nothing smelled or sounded good except a Bloody Mary or a beer; the old “hair of the dog” remedy. I promised to behave for the rest of the trip if I could just live through the morning. As I dragged myself to the cockpit to join the group. my eyes landed on the pink hat, hanging innocently on its hook. I was tempted to crush it to smithereens right then and there, chuck it overboard, and promise to never drink again.

Toward sunset, Kristie, now fully recovered from the travel trauma, decided it was a good day to drink vodka. By the time the sun had been gone for an hour, she was wearing the pink hat, blasting the music, and dancing on deck while the rest of us cheered her on. By week’s end every one of us had our turn with the Hat, including Scott.

After I had landed my first job as crew/chef, I went back to Florida to put my belongings in storage and bring only the essentials to my boat job. While shopping for boat attire and a small disco ball at the Festival Flea Market in Pompano Beach, I was delighted to encounter a hat shop with a wide array of colorful cowboy hats, including on the perfect shade of hot pink; a must-have for starting my new career of professional fun-maker. I snatched it up, paid $15 for it, and proudly wore it on the airplane back to St. Thomas to start m new life. I never did find the disco ball.

After arriving at my new home on the catamaran, I hung the hat in a prominent place on the boat where it could be easily seen by the charter guests. Perhaps the new pink hat lacked the magic of the original; it never saw the kind of action of its predecessor. I took to just wearing it myself and relishing the wild, joyous images it conjured up for me.

Capt. Jack and I were in between charters while moored in Virgin Gorda. We went ashore for lunch at Bitter End Yacht Club, where there are three restaurants. I don’t remember the names, but one, in particular, was abuzz with activity probably having to do with their all-day Happy Hour. There was a very “happy,” tan, attractive lady sitting alone at the bar. She turned to me as we stood in the entryway waiting to be seated and shouted:

“My sister would love your hat! I want to buy it for her. I’ll give you fifty bucks!”

I replied with a smile, enjoying the compliment but left the hat right where it was.

She said, “Okay, make it seventy-five. I’m serious. She’s in the Ladies Room. I know she’ll want it.”

I answered, “It is tempting but I can’t part with this hat.” I turned and followed the hostess to our table.

We had just started reading the menu when the “happy” lady and her sister rushed up to the table waving some money. As she got closer I saw that it was a hundred dollar bill. I ripped the hat off my head, extended it to the sister while grabbing the hundred out of her hand before she changed her mind. I could always buy another one at Festival Flea Market for fifteen bucks…Hats off to you, for making my day!


To my readers who have given money, packed care packages for the “Adopt-a-Family” program, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will keep posting the old stories in hopes that it touches a soul that makes a difference – no matter how large or small.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for donating. Thanks for your support! If you want to donate and haven’t yet done so, here is the link:

3 thoughts on “So Many Causes! Where to Start?

  1. Both hurricanes we hope we will never have to endure, outside help is the only way. I am off to see Calvin tomorrow afternoon, he’s the best. $$$$$$ store is too! He makes the Post Office rock!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s