The nasty wind and rain that walloped the province on October 14 brought out the better sides of two local media personalities.
FM radio deejay Denielle Hann and Donny Goobie, of George Street TV, both leaped into action, in very different but highly thrilling ways, to help others in need.
The storm was unusually powerful for this time of year, with winds gusting up to 133 km/h in Bonavista, heavy rain and some snow. Wave heights were about three metres, with a storm surge in the 70-centimetre range.
It was into this weather that Donny Goobie also known as Donny Love jumped on his jet-ski and ventured onto the ocean at Flatrock, to rescue a friends skiff.
Thats right he went out into the teeth of that storm of his own free will. Thats a little bit insane, even for Doony Goobie (watch George Street TV on youtube to see what I mean). However, Goobie insists he knew what he was doing, and would not take unnecessary risk.
The ocean is the master. It will smash you. It is not to be messed with. I wouldnt go out if it was nuts. It was raining and pretty rough, but the seas were rolling, big rolls, and pretty safe. You could go right deep down in it. If you can see the tips blow off the waves in the wind, that means its really gusty. But this was rolling so I could handle it.
The boat belonged to a friend, Goobie explained. It had broken free of its moorings near the old fish plant and had drifted a few thousand feet out to sea.
He was going to let it go but I said no, I can go out and get that. I like going on the ocean anyway. It would be a bit of fun. Where the waves roll into shore, theres always an opening in the middle of every wave where you can always get through. Thats what surfers do, they watch for that middle point and just go right out there.
Goobie said he was wearing a dry suit, and there were other boats in the water. I kinda went out for a laugh. I brought rope with me and tied in onto the boat and dragged it back. But before I dragged it back I had a bit of fun in the water. I was kind of watching what I was doing, so it wasnt a big panic or anything.
By fun, Goobie means he was jumping off the waves. I was playing with it. I got some great air on the jetski, like six feet the swell was rolling, perfect for it.
At 6:45 pm, about the time Goobie was emerging from the surf at Flatrock, Denielle Hann who is lead singer with Blue Eyed Blonde (BEB) was at home, curled up with a bowl of ice cream, getting ready to watch Everybody Loves Raymond, when her phone rang. It was one of the promoters of the Rick Springfield concert, which was scheduled to begin in just two hours. The rock stars flight had been diverted to Gander because of the storm, and Springfield was on his way by taxi to St. Johns. However, he was not going to arrive in time.
They needed to fill the time in-between and wanted to know if Blue Eyed Blonde was available, Hann said. In my reindeer PJs I did some sort of tippy-toe dance around the living room and told him to give me 20 minutes.
Hann called Fred, her guitarist.
In a calm voice, I asked if he wanted to open for Rick Springfield. Silence. I asked again. When? he said. In a little under two hours, I said, and again, silence. Then: Yep, lets do it!
After a flurry of phone calls and text messages, the rest of the band was contacted and eager to play, so Hann called the promoter back to confirm.
To add to the drama, Jim (the drummer) was home with his kids and wouldn't be able to leave Mt. Pearl until 8:30 at the earliest, Hann said. But through the jigs and reels, the whole band was at Mile One rearing to go shortly after 8:30. We hung out backstage listening to Juice (Newton), going over the setlist and all of us like kids, with goofy smiles on our faces, in disbelief. The big joke was let's open up with Jesse's Girl - one of the crowd favorites when we play our regular gig at Club One. Of course, we never went near that!
The band pulled it off, Hann said, and according to word on the street, shes not kidding. The next day, at a business meeting, one of my colleagues was effusive about BEBs show, claiming they outperformed Juice Newton. Similar opinions were expressed in social networking sites.
The audience was so receptive and encouraging, singing along and cheering, Hann said. What a feeling! Not only did BEB pull it off, we played one of the best shows in our seven-year history. Yes, it was a rush, but it doesn't surprise me one bit that we pulled it off. We're a tight family!
Remember bandmember Jamie, who couldnt make it until 8:30 pm? He was at home minding his two children, while his wife Danette went to the concert with her girlfriends. She had left the house at 5:00 pm and had no idea her husband would be on stage.
She didn't know anything about it until we were on the stage, belting it out, Hann said. I made an announcement after the first song for her to not worry, the kids weren't left to fend for themselves Nan was looking after them!
After their gig, Hann and a few bandmates stayed to watch the show.
We went back to the meet and greet and got our pic taken with Rick... It all happened fairly quickly as Rick was tired, but he was still so gentle, giving all the star-struck ladies a hug, signing their albums. He was wonderful. I have a newfound respect for him after the show he put off... Out of this world!
There is one memory that stands out for Hann, of a little girl in the front row.
I spoke to her during our set and told her when I was her age I had dreamed of being on a big stage like this someday. I used to play with my Jem and the Holograms dolls and pretend I was a singer. I told her someday, if she really wanted to, she too could be up on a stage singing and, lo and behold, if Rick didn't get her up on the stage that night to help him with Don't Talk to Strangers. I filled up. It was so touching. That little girl will never forget that. That's the kind of guy Rick is... He's real. Not too many performers would punch the day he punched (flights diverted, three-hour taxi ride in a snowstorm, no proper meals, etc) and still put off a high energy, heartfelt show. He truly is a superstar.
NOTE: I will be staffing a booth at the Christmas at the Glacier event, from Wednesday to Sunday, so posting could be spotty between now and then.