August 22, 2011
The Generous Town of Goderich, Ontario
On Sunday August 21, 2011, a tornado struck the beautiful town of Goderich, Ontario. Goderich sits high on the bluffs on the Eastern shore of Lake Huron and is called “the prettiest town in Canada.” According to news reports, the residents in the port town had but 12 minutes warning for the coming storm cell as it approached the city.
While my heart goes out to the people of Goderich during this trying time, this allows me to share a story of why this is such a great place. In 2010, I planned the Fiddlers ReStrung summer tour. ReStrung is a fiddle group of high school students from Saline, Michigan and my older son Jeremy played cello in the group. The Tour was to circle the Great Lakes and our very first stop way Goderich.
ReStrung was playing in Goderich’s Multicultural Festival on June 27, 2010, which was sponsored by the Goderich B.I.A. (Business Improvement Area). We were supposed to play in the town center in the Gazebo at Courtyard Square, but were moved the North Street United Church because of rain and the threat of more. Since the church had wonderful acoustics, we opted for a semi-acoustic show – which most of our members playing without amplification. It was a wonderful sound in that glorious building that day. Despite the last minute move, we had a great turnout and it was a great way to start the concert and the tour.
That night, we checked into the Hotel Bedford, right in the center of town. That evening, we planned to picnic along the water, but rain forced us inside to the restaurant at the hotel. I walked around and took some photos of the town and the lighthouse when the weather broke in the evening. All was well and wonderful for our first night on tour. But what I will always remember happened the following day.
As part of the concept of touching each of the Great Lakes, I thought it would be great to have a picture of the group at each of the lakes that we visited. So on our way out of town the following morning, we stopped by the rocky beach and took this photo of the ReStrung along Lake Huron. With a gig later in London, Ontario that day, we were all in uniform.
The rocky beach was a wonderful place to take a photo. It was also a great place to skip rocks. We all had a great time playing a bit before heading back in the bus.
By around 9am, we were on our way to London, about 90 minutes away (if I remember correctly). We arrived around 10:30 and setup for our show at the London Public Library for noon.
But when we got there, one of the members of the group informed me that she could not find her purse. What was worse was that she had one of those driver’s license that allowed you to cross into Canada and that was in the purse. So without it – it was going to difficult, very difficult, to get back into the states. So after checking the bus twice over, she shared that she might have left it on the beach in Goderich. My naturally thought was – why did you take it off the bus…but that is another story. The reality was that the ID was in a purse on a beach 90 minutes away.
I got on the phone and called the Hotel Bedford staff and explained our situation and asked if they could help. She took my information and said that she would check into it and that I should call back. I was hoping they would have someone who could drive by and see if one was left. She did send someone over, but the real amazing thing happened when she called back. She had called around and found out that someone found a purse on the beach this very morning and handed it into the police. She gave me the number of the police and I called – confirming that it was the very one that was dropped. Not only did they hand the purse in, but everything was in tact.
Right after our show in London, we returned to Goderich to collect the purse. The goal that day was Long Point, but we will have to do that some other time. We arrived back in Goderich at 4pm and the young lady whose purse it was and I walked to the police station. We walked in and the policeman asked if I was here to pick her up? I did not understand and he repeated…. “Are you here to pick her up?” and pointed to a young girl, maybe 15, who looked like she was in trouble and wanted to be anywhere else. I said that we were in fact hoping to pickup the lost purse. After being quizzed to its contents to ensure that it was indeed hers, they gave it to us. We made it back before they left for the day (it is that kinda of town).
A few days later, I loaded the photos on the beach...and discovered that I took a shot of the very moment the bag hit the ground...amazing
You can see why it was hard to notice - it blended right into the rocky surface.
And while we got off to a rocky start on tour, I do not think I will ever forget the amazing hospitality of many people in that wonderful town. I hope to be able to repay them for the rebuilding that they are going to be undertaking over the next several years.
Posted by cseeman at August 22, 2011 09:28 PM