Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hello Harry

I spent Thanksgiving Week 1996 in San Francisco.

I was traveling first class but had to change planes in Dallas. I had worked all night to get everything done so I was exhausted and feeling a little woozy. I settled into my second row window seat and immediately closed my eyes. We sat at the gate for a bit and I was drifting asleep when there was a small, quiet commotion at the front. I opened my eyes to see a young couple with a baby trying to fit a stroller into the storage compartment by the door. I went back to drifting just as the overhead compartment smashed open. I looked up to see the Dad of the young couple trying to stuff bags in while muttering something about finding the blanket. He finally found the blanket, slammed the compartment shut and looked down at me. I had already noticed how broad his shoulders were and that he had long muscled arms and huge hands. Now I was dazzled by the most amazing eyes. He looked right at me and smiled.

I could not break eye contact. My heart fluttered more than a bit.

"Hello Harry" I said.

The smile widened while he looked around at the other passengers and put his finger to his lips. I smiled again - maybe I never stopped smiling. Lordy Lordy the man is fine!

He settled into the aisle seat in front of me, his wife and baby next to him.

During the flight they were mostly quiet. Every now and then the baby - about 6 months old - peeked over the seat and giggled or tried to reach my hand. I played peek-a-boo with her and tickled her fingers.

When meals were served Harry's wife declined and he explained to the flight attendant that she had just finished a photo shoot in the freezing cold and wasn't feeling well. The wife went to sleep and Harry fed the baby. I noticed him trying to hold the baby and eat his own dinner so I offered to hold her. He hesitated for a moment but the baby had already wriggled over his shoulder into my outstretched arms.

She sat quietly with me playing peek-a-boo and cuddling her blanket. I was telling her a story about clouds and she was listening intently when she suddenly sat straight up and began to - I swear I can't call it anything else - sing. She sang at an almost operatic pitch. No words of course but the most lovely and boisterous melody of sounds. Her face was lit up, her eyes were closed and she was absolutely into her music.

Harry turned around and looked over at us laughing. "She's loud" he said. "She's actually singing" I replied, I was truly amazed at her performance. At this point she had noticed Dad and was reaching for him. As he took her back she touched my face with her hand. She was a complete bundle of utter joy.

The rest of the flight was quiet. Baby fell asleep and Dad cuddled her while Mom slept. Dad reached over and stroked Mom's face now and then or he'd make sure her blanket covered her.

At Dallas we were asked to wait a moment while the young couple left first. Three airport types were at the door acting very customer service like. Dad said it wasn't necessary and asked them not to make a scene. He got everything out of the compartments. He thanked me and I wished him a Happy Thanksgiving. His wife stood up at this point and smiled at me. Harry told her that I was "Georgia's new best friend" and she smiled wider. No makeup, hair askew - she was gorgeous. She thanked me and they left.

At the gate I watched them walk down the long wide airport corridor. He had all the bags on one shoulder and the folded stroller in his hand. He held the baby against his other shoulder while his wife held onto his arm. They turned heads as they walked by but no one stopped them.

They were just about to be out of sight when I saw them stop. Harry took his wife's over sized purse from her and slung it over his already over packed shoulder. He pulled her coat closed and kissed her forehead.

And then they were gone.

A woman at the gate said "wasn't that Harry Connick Jr?". Another woman shook her head and said "no way, if that was Harry Connick Jr there'd be 20 people carrying everything for him."

I smiled as I made my way to my connecting flight.

Harry was lovely. His wife, model Jill Goodacre, was clearly exhausted and ill yet she looked so pretty and her smile and thanks were so friendly and genuine. Baby Georgia was a delight.

Here's "Baby Georgia" today ...

Photos do nothing to show how really broad Harry's shoulders are ...

I loved meeting them, they were a delightful family ...

and "Baby Georgia" has two sisters now.


Hilary said...

That's such a sweet story. It sure sounds like they're genuinely nice people. That's a very cool memory for you to carry. I think you should send them a link to your post.

Mrs. C said...

Never heard of any of these people! Maybe I know a ton of famous folks and don't even know it!

Are you on TV ever, Dianne?

Linda Reeder said...

I guessed the Harry when you described his eyes! Cool story, told beautifully.

Linda said...

Very cool story made even cooler by the fact that baby Georgia had obviously inherited her father's singing abilities!

Of course, never mind Harry Connick, Jr. - you had me at flying first class!

Jay Simser said...

I love your story. Harry (may I call him that) is one of my very favorites. I have been to two if his concerts and have many of his CD's - I always knew that I liked him. Now I have one more reason to like him. Thanks for sharing your close encounter of the "Harry Kind"

I wonder if his daughter still sings?

Cherie said...

What a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing it with us. Since he was on with Craig, a couple of people have mentioned how nice he is in real life. And, of course, as a ballroom dancer, I've loved him for years. :)

meno said...

Whew! That man IS fine!

Um, what were you saying? :)

How sweet that he is nice for real. Seems like a rarity.

Betty said...

Great story! I love Harry Connick, Jr. He always seems so down to earth. Your story proves it.

Scott Oglesby said...

Very cool story. It’s always nice when you get to meet celebrities as real people. I’ve heard babies ‘sing’ and it is the most beautiful sound in the world!

Nessa said...

What a great story. I have always thought he must be wonderful for so many reasons.

Wordless Wednesday - Pirates' Strumpet

it's possible google reader dropped my feed again


Arkansas Patti said...

What a marvelous story and so well told. While I was thinking another Harry, I was thrilled it was that "Harry".
I have been a fan of his since "Hope Floats" when I also noticed his muscular forearms.
Wonderful when famous people are also good people.

Granny Annie said...

You became a little part of their family simply becuse you sere able to keep their privacy. What a great experience.

gaelikaa said...

That's lovely. I remember when he was not married. He was very young when he started out...

Micky-T said...

I knew you were *first class*

Gaston Studio said...

Am so glad you posted this. I've always thought he was a kind, sensitive man but one can never know unless you have actually met the person.

And congrats on POTW mention from Hilary!

Sandi McBride said...

Just goes to show that all celebrities are not Paris Hilton and that a southern boy is usually a Southern Gentleman all his life. Congrats on POTW...very nice...oh, and love your cats!

kenju said...

Weren't you the lucky one. I have been swooning over him since he was much younger!! Great story!

smiles4u said...

What a sweet story and memory. Very well told. Congrats on POTW!

Brian Miller said...

nice. loved the story...with songs like that...i am glad he lived up to it. congrats on the POTW!

bobbie said...

A delightful story!

Micky-T is right. You are definitely first class!

Deborah Godin said...

Really great story. Who doesn't love hearing about young, gorgeous, monied people who clearly don't have to be nice to the plebs (according to our warped society's view anyway) being to genuine!

Dianne said...

hilary - I sent them a card after I first met them telling them what a wonderful experience it was and I sent a note with a small donation when Harry first started working to rebuild New Orleans

mrs c - I am on TV!! I'm the tall leggy sexy blonde on Melrose Place - hehehehehehe
you would love Harry's music - he has such a smooth deep voice and he sings all the oldies

linda r - thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed the story

linda - I traveled 1st class on all the miles I had accumulated from my old job, it was wonderful :)

jay s - of course you may call him Harry :)
I saw him on Letterman and he said that his daughter sang a little backup on one of his albums
he didn't say which daughter
he did say he would only let her sing a little, after that she'd have to audition with everyone else - I loved that

cherie - I was watching Harry and Craig when I wrote this, that's what brought all the memories back, that plus Thanksgiving being almost here

meno - I was saying that I had lust in my heart and mind LOL

betty - thanks!!

scott - Hope is starting to sing a bit and it is wonderful!! I have to warm her up though and that just kills anyone around us, apparently only Hope appreciates my vocal talents

nessa - he is wonderful :)

patti - I'm trying to think of another Harry?
I loved Hope Floats, he looked great in that movie

annie - it was a wonderful experience - thanks

gaelikka - he was just a boy, his website has some great early photos
thanks for your visit :)

micky-t - awwww buddy, thanks :)

gaston - thank you! Hilary is too good to me :)

sandi - I think more are good folks but the media gets in the way
my cats are good kids :)

kenju - when I looked up at him I swear my heart skipped!!

smiles4u - thank you so much!!

brian - thank you :)

bobbie - thanks Lady :)
lately I've been feeling very economy, steerage even LOL

deborah - he was so clearly uncomfortable with the fuss and just wanted to be

Moannie said...

Lovely story and I am not surprised at his 'niceness'. He oozes it.

POTW Yippeee!

Doc said...

That is an awesome story Dianne. Harry has always struck me as a down to earth guy. Maybe it's the New Orleans influence. Of course the character he played in Copycat (Darell Lee Cullen) was one of the creepiest serial killers of all time.

petra michelle; Whose role is it anyway? said...

You lucky gal, you! And you've
just confirmed it, Dianne! He is the most gorgeous and down to earth guy! I adore him and his music! And I remember his wife as a budding Victoria's Secret model! What a beautiful family!

No entourage! Bravo!

An incredible story, Dianne! :))

Sylvia K said...

What a sweet, fun story! I love it! Gee! real people! how about that!!

Thanks for sharing this one, Dianne! Brought some sunshine into a gray day!

Have a great one!


Bond said...

Excellent story Dianne...His daughter appeared on his Christmas CD last year which I reviewed..she still has a wonderful voice.

Dianne said...

moanie - yipeee indeed!! I was so surprised, Hilary is so kind to me
thanks !!

doc - I think the NO mindset has a lot to do with it
that was an amazing performance of his

petra - his wife was soooooo lovely! I read somewhere that all her model work now is for charity stuff, pretty cool

sylvia - I'm glad you enjoyed it, thanks
I hope sun comes your way soon

bond - that's the CD!! I should have known you'd know
he mentioned her singing when he was on Letterman but that's all I could remember

Suldog said...

Cool story! Having no inkling as to who "Harry" was, when the story started it sounded as though you were about to try and steal this new mother's husband :-) Nicely done.

Daryl said...

He is a friend of a friend and he is as nice now as he was then... lovely well told story but then who'd expect anything less from you!

Sparkling Red said...

I love it when celebrities don't let fame go to their heads. Thank you for sharing that wonderful tale!

Picture Imperfect said...

What a great story! Thank you for sharing it. Harry Connick Jr. is one of my favorites... and MAN what a hunk! ;o)

Singing Bear said...

Nice story. Seems like a nice fellow. Most of the time reading the post I was thinking, 'Harry who? Must be someone us UK residents don't know'. Then you revealed all. :)

Must tell you the story of the day I crossed the road with Van Morrison...on the other hand...

Mountain Photog said...

I love that story, Dianne. . . :)

Rambling Woods said...

Oh..great story and well told Diane..

Dianne said...

suldog - I did entertain the notion for a fleeting moment ;)

daryl - thank you Lady

sparkling - I'm glad you enjoyed it, hope you're feeling better

picture - he is a Hunk alright, I could not look away when he looked at me :)

signing bear - I adore Van Morrison!!

lisa - I know you do :)
I was thinking of you and Cherie and Cher and the rest while watching Craig and Harry and writing the story

rambling - thanks :)

Mountain Photog said...

Ah, good times, good times, Dianne. :) Was Harry on recently? I'm about a week (or more) behind on shows. That tells you how hard I've been working lately. LOL!

Dianne said...

lisa - he was on last Friday, I've just gotten caught up to this week :)

Mountain Photog said...

Now that's sad when both of us are a week behind. LOL!

Jeff B said...

I love hearing stories about celebs that are down to earth and pleasant. Refreshing.

It's kind of like you held Harry
Connick Jr's Jr.

blunoz said...

Ya know, with all the trash and scandal and nastiness in the tabloids and magazine covers next to the grocery store check-out lanes, it's such a refreshing change to read such a warm-hearted POSITIVE story about a celebrity family. Thank you for sharing this. You're a talented writer and story-teller, keep up the good work. Congrats on POTW.

Frank Baron said...

Good'un Dianne. Colour me unsurprised.


Raven said...

Cool story. My only real celeb contact was Troy Donahue in an elevator in NYC. I was trying to be cool and not get all goofy. He gave me a big smile and complimented what I was wearing. I think celebrity is a difficult thing to carry with grace. I wouldn't mind some fame and fortune, but I don't envy the famous the burden of what often goes with it.

Shelly said...

Cool story! I've always thought he was oh-so-charming...nice to know he truly is ;)

Ivanhoe said...

Oh my goodness, Di! What an experience. I knew he was a down to earth guy. And he's not bad looking (or singing) either ;o)
I never met anybody famous...

Akelamalu said...

I have absolutely no idea who these people are but I loved the story and would have offered to take the baby too - I'm a sucker for babies. :)

Dianne said...

lisa - and the way it's going I may be 2 weeks behind soon

jeff - I'm having a hard time NOT picturing a different type of Jr. and me holding it but that's a different story

blunoz - thank you for such kind words, they mean a lot

frank - thanks buddy :)

raven - it must be difficult, what a wonderful insight
Harry did seem so uncomfortable when the airline tried to make a fuss

shelly - he's the real deal
his eyes are amazing and he looks right at you
and his smile is boy like
and he was so lovely with his wife and baby
Oy!! I'm gushing

ivanhoe - living in NYC adds a small extra chance of encountering a celeb

akelamalu - I'm a sucker for them as well
check out his music, I think you'd like him

LadyFi said...

Such a wonderful story - very lovingly told.

Reb said...

What a great story! He is such a great musician and such a hunk. I am not surprised that he is nice too.

maryt/theteach said...

Oooo, Dianne, you lucky dog you! Isn't he just the most good-lookin'? Happy Thanksgiving to you and Hope, your son and the whole family! :)

jennifer said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. The only thing that could have made it better is if it had happened to me instead :)

You are the coolest Dianne.

Travis said...

I enjoy hearing about pleasant celebrity behavior.