Friday, May 7, 2010

Talking With Mr. Donovan: The Hale Street Gang Goes to Waterbury

Mary Jacobs at WDEV, in the booth for "Music to Go to the Dump By." Photo: Jack Rowell

Yesterday was a first for Mary Jacobs and me: The first time either one of us has visited the WDEV radio station in Waterbury. "The Friendly Pioneer Voice of Northern New England" is just a few miles north of Randolph on I-89. Our pal Jack Rowell, who knows everybody, introduced us to our host, Jack Donovan. We were real pleased to get an invitation from Mr. D, because WDEV (locally owned and operated since 1931) is so totally cool it affects your pulse rate. Its motto is "Vermonters serving Vermonters," which is what we're trying to do. (I like to think of the Hale Street Gang as the literary equivalent of the locavore movement.)

Mary read an excerpt from "A Day in the Life of a Country Nurse," and I yacked about how the HSG got its start and where we want to go from here. I mentioned our Kickstarter project SEVERAL times (check it out, if you haven't already done so: the clock is ticking).

While Mary and I chatted with Mr. D, Mr. R made some pictures for the documentary portion of his Hale Street Gang portfolio. The two Jacks are old friends—they both love musicians and other performers, and have a long history of introducing talented people to each other. Mary was a little surprised to discover that her mental image of Donovan, formed over years of radio listening, was way out of proportion—she had pictured him as rotund on the basis of his voice. You can see from the picture of the three of us, below, that he is as lean as a church pew, though I can't imagine how he stays that way when he has had the same desk job for more than 30 years. Anyway, we all had a good time and behaved ourselves fairly well, though Mary did slide in a slightly off-color joke from her visiting-nurse days. And there was that one little moment when I hissed "Shut up, Jack" because his camera noise was getting picked up on the mikes. (So was my voice.)

Have I mentioned before that I love Jack Rowell? I've always said that a man who can make you laugh is worth his weight in gold. We took two cars yesterday, because Jack's car was filled with camera equipment and for some reason he didn't want to ride in my back seat—maybe he doesn't like the way I drive. We took my Subaru over Rochester Mountain on Wednesday to have lunch at the Old Hancock Hotel with Greg and Brent from the Vermont Folklife Center in Middlebury (site of our fall debut). It may have been on one of those curves that Jack decided he would drive to Waterbury in his own car, which also functions as a mobile storage unit. Note to Jack: Thanks, buddy, for a really fun day.

Our WDEV host Jack Donovan, Mary Jacobs, and me.

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