The FIRE. August 19th, 2022.
I have no bigger fear as a homeowner than fire. I have mentioned to my wife on almost a weekly basis, that it seems like there’s a FIRE story every other night on the local news. You watch it for 3-5 minutes, and then it’s onto the next story, weather, or sports. What you don’t see is the after affects of these tragic fires.
The absolute devastation it leaves behind. The broken dreams and broken lives.
It is all too real and heartbreaking. My heart breaks for all of them.
Last Thursday night I drove by the North Beach Bar & Grille, Secret Spot, and Cinnamon Rainbows on my way back from the Hampton Beach Comedy Festival. I’m guessing it was around 10:30PM. I almost drove up High street out of habit, but realized I needed to continue north on 1A. I saw lights and some activity at the Grill, but paid no attention to it. Little did I know that merely two hours later, the North Beach Bar & Grille and Secret spot would be engulfed in flames and gutted. And Cinnamon Rainbows would be blanketed in smoke and water.
Fire had come to the most iconic of street corners in all of North Beach.
The news was both shocking and sad. The two restaurants were completely destroyed. Our hearts go out to Jon and Sarah Gozzo. And the folks at North Beach Bar & Grille. And CR’s was damaged enough to shut down for the last few days. But the shock of the fire lingered on. One thing that needs to be said, straight up front here. The Hampton Fire Department did an amazing job in stopping that fire from swallowing up that whole block. We can’t thank them and the neighboring fire departments enough for saving what they did.
Looking at the damage on Friday morning it’s obvious that HFD did an amazing job. It's also obvious that sometimes they have to break stuff to save stuff.
Right now Cinnamon Rainbows is operating at a minimal force. They will let everyone know once they are able to commit to getting things back to normal, or something close to normal. They want to thank everyone for their continued love and support. The whole community has been amazing, and Dave, Heather, Phil and the rest of the crew can’t thank you enough.
Please keep all of the people who were affected by this fire in your thoughts
The Hampton Beach Comedy Festival
McGuirks Cabana Bar Post 8
August 18th, 2022
From left to right: Jackie Flynn, Jimmy Dunn, Tony V, Dave Rattigan, Janet McNamara, Steve Bjork, Gus Viveiros, Will Noonan, and Mark Riley
Each summer, hundreds of beach goers, locals, and tourists seek out Jimmy Dunn’s annual HBCF. I know this, because I am one of them. I have been to every one since the very first one. And I’ll be at every one in the future. Why? Because, it’s good for your soul to just laugh out loud. Throw caution to the wind, and just let yourself have a good hearty laugh with your family and friends. I’m not sure who coined the phrase “Laughter is the best medicine” but it sure was what the doctor ordered for me and the sold out room last Thursday at McGuirks Cabana Bar POST 8 on 95 Ocean Blvd on Hampton Beach, NH.
Lord knows I needed a good laugh.
After two weeks of a dreaded heat wave, and a three week wave drought, comedy was sounding pretty damn good to me. And get this. The first day of the festival? The damn surf came up. I mean the surf was freaking pumping. FYI Jimmy is an avid year round surfer and will surf everything the Atlantic throws at us. I pity the poor comic who agrees to join him for a “fun little surf session.” He’s notorious for taking these land locked comics out into the frothing Atlantic for a few laughs. And then, he posts their terrified faces on social media. All the hardcore local surfers get a kick out of his posts. Jimmy…anything for a laugh.
The HBCF is the brainchild of Jimmy Dunn, with help from his longtime partner, Dave Rattigan. And together, they put on one hell of a comedy show every year since 2009. You are virtually guaranteed to see some of the best talent in New England comedy at one of these shows. For 5 straight nights you can see a variety of talent that will have you spitting out your drinks all night, while clutching your ribs from hurting so bad. In other words, there’s no dead weight at these shows. Each comic brings their own unique style and pacing, and they spare no expense at making you laugh. And really, what a wonderful profession. Making people laugh. Think about that for a moment. Your job is to make people laugh. I love it. Well, these comics do their job well. They had me and everyone else at McGuirks laughing all night long.
The one common thread that most comics have is, they dip into their own personal gene pool. In other words, family, spouses, and friends are all fair game. And this is why we all laugh so hard. We can relate. I mean, who doesn’t have a couple of family members that we don’t question on a daily basis? The family members of these comics must cringe when daddy comes up with new material after witnessing some of their episodes. Like I said, it’s open season on all family and friends. There is a subtle, but refined art, to weave a story of a neighbor, or spouse and then take it to that level of absurdity. How much truth is there to these personal stories? Who knows and who cares? We just want to laugh, and if it comes at the embarrassment of a family member? Well, that’s life living with a comedian.
But know this, each one these comics tell some pretty funny stories about their own personal lives. And the one thing that almost all of them do? They make fun of themselves. Literally, they open their lives up like an open book, and paint themselves naked for all to see and laugh at. That’s pretty gutsy stuff. And each one of them laughs right along with us. Because they know, that we also relate to their bad luck. We just lack the comic timing, and the ultimate punchlines.
Another interesting thing I noticed over the years of going to comedy shows is, how they all watch each other’s acts on stage. Talk about support among your peers. That’s a bond. That’s a brotherhood. It warmed my heart to see them give that moral support to each other.
Each one of these comics are worth seeing on their own. I highly recommend you going to see them whenever you can. In a world, that’s still recovering from a two year pandemic, and with political unrest around the Globe, comedy might just be the best thing you can do for yourselves. "What’s so funny about peace, love, and understanding?" If you ask these guys, they’ll tell you. "Everything." Take in a comedy show, and feel better about yourselves.
Scroll down to the photo section to see the full gallery.
Photo by Tony Berardini
ROBIN ROWELL PADDLE
June 10th, 1953 –August 3rd, 2022
We welcomed the family and friends of Robin Rowell along the shore at the Rocks on Friday August 19th, 2022. The people that came did so because they felt a connection to not only Robin, but to surfing. Surfers are for the most part, nomadic, and if I can say this without coming off as a negative, a pretty selfish bunch. We’re not into sharing with large groups. We don’t mind sharing a few waves with some close friends, but not with a large group. However, the Surfer’s Paddles for departed surfers are something completely different. There is where the Surfer drops their guard and enjoys being around other surfers. As a surfer, we can’t imagine not being able to surf again. So we instinctively come together when one of our tribe has fallen.
I started the Paddle with a moment of silence for Robin, and the victims of the tragic fire at Secret Spot, North Beach Bar & Grille, and our dear friends at Cinnamon Rainbows. The fire weighed heavily on the minds of all of us. I then explained the history and cultural significance of the Surfer’s Paddle. How it started in ancient Hawaii and was first documented in the 1920’s. And how in the 1960’s the West Coast adopted their own version of the paddle. I did my first paddle at the same beach we were at for Robin. I did it for our good friend, and surf brother Joe Somogyi in 1978. I truly hope he was with Joe when we celebrated Robin’s life.
To the family of Robin; his sister Lesley, nephews Jason Howard, Corey Howard and his wife Andrea, and their two children Hendrix and Rylan. And Robin’s youngest nephew, who looks so much like his uncle back in the day, Kyle Howard. And of course, dear sweet Elena. Friends of Robin. From NH to CA there are too many to name.
I thanked them all for coming here tonight to honor and remember one of our own. Because Robin was first and foremost, a SURFER. And not just any kind of surfer. Robin was the real deal. Man could he surf during his prime. For those of you who only knew him after his reign in the water, you really missed something special. His bottom turns and his stylish carves were so pleasant to watch. And his killer kick outs, with no leash, when he would shoot his board halfway back to the lineup. As he swam back out after it. His powerful and strong swimming strokes. Robin Rowell was something to see.
I told the story of how Robin and I first met. Topsfield Fair. Driving back from Charlie’s party. Just countless hours of surfing. So many wonderful memories. His time with Elena were the best years for Robin.
Corey Howard read Robin’s eulogy that his sister Lesley wrote. Kyle Howard read the poem that Lesly wrote called THE SURFER, both are posted here.
Robin Rowell Eulogy
by Lesley Andrea Phillippe
My Robin, I’ll miss you until the day I leave this earth.
I will remember your beauty, talent, charisma, intelligence and amazing story telling. Whenever I look at the ocean, I will see you in my mind’s eye, the power, strength, and finesse of your surfing.
I will remember my big brother that I idolized as a child. The effortless toss of your head that would reveal your engaging smile and bright eyes.
Rest easy now.
You endured far too much pain and suffering here.
I know you are enjoying the perfect sets.
I love you
I wrote this poem for you.
by Lesley Andrea Phillippe
The ocean was your home, the waves were your family.
The sand was a thousand people who loved you, and you loved them in return,
Rest easy now my brother, and face the horizon, they are waiting for you in the lineup.
May the winds always be offshore and kissing your face.
May the sun shine upon you, enjoy God’s paintings every twilight and may the moonlight stare down and rejuvenate your soul.
Dance again on the waves and be at peace.
Let go and be who you always were.
You are home.
Kevin Grondin read the message from Elena. People who were not going to paddle out spoke on the beach. The rest of us would speak out in the lineup. And then I did something I’ve never done before at a paddle, but it seemed so appropriate to do. I brought my acoustic guitar and played and sang “Little Wing” by Jimi Hendrix. Then we all paddled out.
Robin is going home today. He will be reunited with his dad Sonny and his sister Wendy. Along with his close friends who have long since passed. Like Joe Somogyi. I really hope Joe was there to greet him when he crossed over that Rainbow Bridge.
As Corey got ready to empty his ashes into the water, a wave appeared out of nowhere, and Corey was able to pour the ashes on top of that wave. A glassy left. And we all hooted as we tossed our flowers. It was beautiful. Simply beautiful. And then we all turned and paddled back to shore. Wherever you are Robin, just keep paddling. Keep paddling brother, we will all catch up later out in the lineup.
To quote Jimi Hendrix:
“If I don’t meet you no more in this world, well I’ll meet ya on the next one, and don’t be late. Don’t Be late!”
Scroll down to the photo section to see the full gallery.
The Celebration of Life for Evan Ryan Austin
Hampton Beach State Park
Saturday August 20th, 2022
I have often said in many of my writings and speeches, that “there are more good people in this world doing good things, than there are bad people doing bad things.” You just don’t hear that much about the good things in life.
I have seen so many good things in this seacoast community over the years. And I saw another one on Saturday August 20th, 2022 at the Celebration of Life for “Super Evan” Austin at the Hampton Beach State park. Over 200 people attended this beach gathering for young Evan. His logo is seen all over social media as well as on tee shirts, hats, and stickers. Not since the Days of MOLLY (who passed from large cell lymphoma in 2009) have I seen such a widespread visual message all over the Seacoast. Actually, there was another mass display of stickers and logos a little over a year ago. When another youngster dealing with childhood cancer passed away before his time. Nash Rogers. Both Nash and Super Evan lost their lives to DIPG, a rare brain cancer that only strikes young children.
One of the things I saw and witnessed on Saturday came in the form of the old “silver lining in the dark cloud.” Evan’s sister Avery and Nash’s sister Sayla have become very good friends. Two tragedies have brought these two young girls together, and they have this special bond. A bond born out of sadness and loss, have now forged into what appears to be, a lifelong friendship. I spoke with the two of them briefly and acknowledged their special friendship. I thanked Sayla for being there for Avery, and she immediately said, “Avery is really helping me too.” I just nodded my head and smiled. “I’m sure she is. You both have a special friendship now.” Sayla smiled and then went running after Avery.
I got to know the Rogers family through my veterans post in Hampton. I was commander for 13 years at American Legion Post 35 when I met Matt Rogers. Nash and Sayla’s dad. It was there that I first learned about DIPG. I knew the Austin family through taking a photo of little Avery out surfing at the wall one day. She had a great little style for someone so young. The DIPG connection brought the Rogers and the Austin families together. And it also rallied the entire seacoast community to come together.
Looking at all the children at this gathering warmed my heart. Looking at the collages of Evan’s young life when he was so full of life and laughter was inspirational. How this young boy from our seacoast community could show the whole world, that hope and love was real and powerful.
I told Brent and Jess (the parents of Evan), that they are surrounded by a sea of love. There are too many to name, literally hundreds of friends, who have reached out. But I do want to thank Samantha Bean Lyford for being such a strong ally to the Austins. I’m sure I said something very similar to the Matt and Val (Nash’s parents) when young Nash lost his life. I wish I could do more than just offer words of encouragement.
If only the power of love could stop DIPG, and prevent other families of having to go through these tragic days, oh what a wonderful world we would all be living in. Love and support is still very important, especially to those left behind in the wake of this terrible disease. But it takes money and research to do what love can’t do. Prayers and love are powerful tools of support. But the great scientific minds need the money to do the much needed research. Every cent and every dollar will help go towards saving another child and family suffering from DIPG.
If you can afford to donate, please go to THE CURE STARTS NOW.
Thank you to the Austin family for inviting me to this wonderful celebration.
The video will be forthcoming in the next week to 10 days.
Scroll down to the photo section to see the full gallery.
"SURFING, COMMUNITY, and LOVE HEALS ALL WOUNDS."
From the very first HIT THE BEACH. Scanning through this pic I can see three departed souls who are no longer with us. That first year we only had about 6-8 vets. Though it was a memorable one for sure. Some of the volunteers have been back every year since the first one. I'm hoping for a good turnout on Friday and I'm really hoping for some fun waves. But if the surf is small? We will enjoy a fun day at the beach. August 2008. Photo by Ed O'Connell
*Click the photo above to see a larger version of Ed's Pic.
NOW FOR SOME LOCAL AND NATIONAL NEWS
This sequence of what women are enduring in Afghanistan today caught my eye. These pics are clearly are an indication of how things were, and how they may never be again. Going back to the Dark Ages. Turn a blind eye and walk away. So cruel. But so frighteningly real. Can you imagine our wives, mothers, and daughters forced to look like this. Give me a break.
This is all on the current administration. They own it. If it happens on your watch? You own it. 46 will be just like 45. One and done.
Let's hope who ever the next POTUS is, that they are head shoulders above the last two.
I'm not sure the country can take round three of more stumbling and bumbling incompetence.
And now something to make you smile. Look what I found while moving last week. My very first Business card. From my 7th grade print shop class. My teacher Mr Barry thought it was hilarious. Though on a second look, he and I both never caught the obvious typo. "Beverly". Oh well, I got away with that one.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the clubs.
JIMMY DUNN at the BLUE OCEAN sounds like a great show.
The question is, who is the opener? Or openers?
The 14th Annual HIT THE BEACH EVENT is on schedule this week. Looks like Sunny weather but small waves. Oh well, we will still make it a great day. That's the problem with planning these outdoor events. And to plan a surf day? It's either feast or famine. Regardless of the surf, we will make it a fun day at the beach.
See you this Friday August 26th, 2022.
CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW TO SEE A LARGER VERSION.
VOLUNTEERS BE THERE BY 0700! (7:00AM)
From the very first HIT THE BEACH. Me and the late Ed Buell.
Ed was a good guy and a brother Marine.
Semper Fi Ed.
KSM Photoshop of the Week
This is a Throw Back Pic for old Khaliddy. He was taking his harem to the Mall one day when one of them asked for a photo. I heard that later, that he got really mad when one of them smiled. You are not supposed to smile while in the Burka. KSM was so upset that one of his wives smiled he refused to let her sleep in the camel barn that night. My word, talk about cruel.
And so my friends, please take advantage of this weekly photo shop of the mastermind who planned 9-11 and resulted in the deaths of 3,000 innocent civilians by KSM (Khalid Sheik Mohammed).
*Note to self -must pick up a case of used Burkas at Home Depot This Week.
Click on the ad above to schedule you Charter today!
Please keep local surfer Mike Keefe in your thoughts and prayers in the next few months during his treatments. Hang in there Mike!
Please keep local Surfer/Musician Pete Kowalski in your thoughts and prayers. SURFING HEALS ALL WOUNDS!
Please Keep local surfer Bill M. in your thoughts and prayers.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Pete Rizzo August 21st, 2022!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Veda Day Cropper August 23rd, 2022!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Kainalu Nichols August 24th, 2022!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Julia Nichols August 19th, 2022!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Hannah Vokey August 24th, 2022!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Larry Giles August 24th, 2022!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Johnny Fatello August 25th, 2022!
REST IN PEACE Jack Kelly longtime friend and fan.
REST IN PEACE Jim Harold. 1943-2022
REST IN PEACE Robin Rowell 1953 -2022
CONGRATS TO MARKEY J Granddaughter Number 3!!
GET WELL SOON Ryan Jackson NH2O!
PLEASE keep Kim Grondin in your thoughts and prayers too
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my friends... Surfing Heals All Wounds.
Pray for Surf. Pray for Peace. Surf For Fun.