Las Vegas, NV
May 20, 2020
Garrison Keillor hits Las Vegas with a new solo show!
April 18, 2020
Garrison Keillor comes to the Rochester Civic Theatre for a night of stories, songs, poetry, and humor. Tickets $50 and up
February 19, 2020
Garrison Keillor with Heather Masse at the Dakota. Night 2 of 2. Tickets $30+
February 18, 2020
Garrison Keillor with Heather Masse at the Dakota. Night 1 of 2. Tickets $30+
And here is the Writer’s Almanac for August 7:
On this day 28 years ago, I gave a birthday party for thirty at the University Club in St. Paul, attended by family and old friends, lots of musicians, and a slender young violinist from West 102nd Street in New York. She’d grown up on Rice Street in Anoka, Minnesota, and been a free-lance musician in the big city since she was 17, playing in City Opera tours and all over Asia and Europe. She was 35, I was 50, and we were an item in New York, but nobody in this room knew about her. I wanted her to be there but I didn’t want people to stare at her. She felt a little odd, she tells me. Three years later, we married.
On this day eight years ago, Jenny and Maia and I were out to sea aboard the Queen Mary 2 sailing from NYC to London and we got dressed up and had dinner in the Queen’s Grill and to celebrate, I ordered a bottle of Bordeaux from the year of my birth, 1942. It was the most I’d ever paid for a bottle of anything. It made my brain go dim to look at the price. I grew up in a family of six. Dad was a railway mail clerk. We had a big garden. Mother mended clothes, darned socks. I wore hand-me-downs. It was a big deal if, after Meeting on Sunday, we went to the YMCA cafeteria for dinner. My people were frugal. So were Jenny’s. This extravagance was meant to dispense with that childhood feeling that we were poor. The sommelier brought the bottle, which looked very historic, and the cork crumbled a little as he eased it out but he got all the shreds and he poured a finger of murky dark wine in my glass and I tasted it. (I’d quit drinking in 2003, so this was a big deal.) It was a sort of incredibly ordinary wine. Bordeaux was occupied in 1942 and maybe the French didn’t go to great lengths, knowing the Nazis would take what they wanted. A good object lesson: a bundle of money for an interesting disappointment. The trip was pretty wonderful though, the teenage Maia, the sea, the ballroom with the big orchestra where we danced every night. My sense of childhood penury had been a storyline in the Lake Wobegon saga, which, of course, had paid for the trip, including a room at Claridge’s, the price of which would’ve made my father faint.
As for the details, the event took place in Dr. Mork’s maternity hospital on Ferry Street in Anoka. I was the third child of John and Grace. He was a Pure Oil attendant at his uncle Lew’s garage a few blocks away. It was the day of the American invasion of Guadalcanal, the first Allied offensive in the Pacific.
And now this year, we sit in New York, the two of us, and thanks to the pandemic, we’ve not gone anywhere or done much of anything except live with each other since February. Three friends will come over for supper, including Suzann Weil, who’s 85, and who, in 1974, put on the first Prairie Home Companion show at Walker Art Center. April 7th, you could look it up. A woman who gave me a career. We’ll sit out on the terrace of the apartment where Jenny and I lived 28 years ago when we first became an item. I’ll work all day and maybe we’ll go for a walk in the park. Can’t imagine a better birthday.