Passionate Blue Oyster Cult fan Eric Wishart reckoned the chance to see their 40th anniversary concert in New York would be the trip of a lifetime.
But he and wife Wilma weren’t quite prepared for their holiday to end up almost four times its scheduled length!
It wasn’t because of an ultra-long Cult encore – but the effects of Superstorm Sandy, and subsequent snow blizzards, which stretched the couple’s stay from four days into 15.
Three times their flights home were cancelled and they were stranded at Newark Airport for the last 24-plus hours of their visit.
But Eric and Wilma, of Lundin Links, had a superb time in the Big Apple, once fate and the weather had conspired to keep them there.
And heartbreak turned to joy for Eric, as the concert, on the eve of his scheduled departure, was cancelled – only to be rearranged eight days later, when he knew he’d still be there to savour it!
Apart from the extra strain on their credit card, the couple’s biggest worry was knowing their family and elderly relatives were very worried by reports on the news.
But through texts and humorous Facebook posts, they were able to reassure everyone they were fine, and said the New Yorkers had pulled together remarkably well.
Eric, a self-employed joiner, and Wilma, who runs a handbag-making business, were also concerned about letting customers down but said everyone had been very understanding.
They were based at Times Square, 50 yards from the concert venue, and had managed some touring before New York went into lockdown as Superstorm Sandy made its deadly approach.
Astonishingly, they said they endured very little effect from the merciless storm, yet only a few blocks away, there was utter devastation.
The couple were very aware too that there had been fatalities, while other residents had lost everything.
Amid hours spent trying to contact the airport, two flights home were cancelled, before Wilma and Eric were told ‘no more air travel – for a week’.
That brought emotional ups and downs of its own, but Wilma said they’d promised themselves a big holiday and, after accepting their plight, they resolved to make the best of it.
Their hotel held its prices at the normal rate and they got half-price tickets for three Broadway musicals, as well as joining the audience for David Letterman’s TV show.
Days later, severe snowstorms put paid to a third attempt at flying home but, after a whole day spent in Newark airport, Eric and Wilma finally got back on November 9 – Wilma’s birthday.
And the Cult gig? “It was all I wanted it to be – and more,” said Eric.