April 27, 2019
Garrison Keillor celebrates National Poetry Month with poems & song at a benefit for Performing Arts of Woodstock.
CROONERS SUPPER CLUB
April 14, 2019
At 76 years old, Garrison Keillor makes his solo nightclub debut! 5:00 p.m.
March 28, 2019
Garrison Keillor heads to Steele County for a solo performance to benefit the Historical Society. 7:30 p.m.
February 24, 2019
“Old Friends” Garrison Keillor, Christine DiGiallonardo, Richard Dworsky reunite at Crooners. Shows at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Fergus Falls, MN
February 23, 2019
“Old Friends” Garrison Keillor, Christine DiGiallonardo, Richard Dworsky reunite at A Center for the Arts. 7:30 p.m.
I drove through a Minnesota monsoon last week — in the midst of cornfields, sheets of rain so heavy that cars pulled off the road — in other words, a beautiful summer storm, of which we’ve had several this year, as a result of which we are not burning, as other states are. Life is unjust, we do not deserve our good fortune, and so it behooves us to be quiet about it.
At the ballpark Monday night, it was drizzling at game time and the infield was covered by a tarp — I sat in drizzle and enjoyed the luxury of moisture, then the sky cleared and we got underway. A wonderful old game in which nine men come to full attention at each pitch, poised, ready to be heroic as required.
A grandson sat next to me who is obliged to listen to me. I said, during a home-team rally, “Back in the day, we didn’t need a scoreboard to flash the message, ‘Make some noise.’ When we had a man in scoring position, it was exciting and we made noise without being told.” He listened gravely.
I am working on a memoir these days, which I am obliged to do so that young people will understand that there was a time when even young children wandered freely in the woods and fields, their locations unknown to their parents. I was told not to go down by the river and when I left the house, I went straight to the river, the Mississippi, and swam in it and skipped stones and watched fishermen go over the rapids in their boats, grown men crying out in anguish as outboards were destroyed, and when I came home and was asked where I’d been and what I’d done, I said, “At a friend’s house.” And “Not much.” Parental neglect was assumed then and I was grateful for it and grew up independent and put myself through college washing dishes and parking cars, which was possible then and is no more. A wonderful life.
The memoir is how I keep my mind off politics in this election year and ignore The Chief Twitterer, who will rise or fall by what happens in November, and meanwhile I write about the past out of gratitude at having survived it so far.
I grew up in a small fundamentalist sect that expected the end of the world momentarily, if not today then tomorrow morning, whereupon we and those who agreed with us would rise up to glory and splendor and most of the rest of you would be consigned to eternal torment, writhing, sobbing, flames all around you. We were gentle souls who never cursed our enemies because we had the satisfaction of knowing they were bound for hell without our having to say so.
Nowadays I go to a church where we confess our sins in unison, are forgiven en masse, and then we go around shaking hands with anyone whose hand is extended to us. Last Sunday, I shook hands with a man behind me and he said, “Thank you for your column” and I said, “I’ve just been absolved of that.” He thought I was joking.
In a week I’ll go to a memorial for a friend of fifty years or so who died at 92 while sitting quietly with her family on a beach on the St. Croix River, looking at the Minnesota shore. They’d had a boisterous dinner the night before, her daughter was there with whom my friend planned to travel to Paris and Prague, and the next morning she simply expired, like a membership or a magazine subscription.
She was heavily engaged in politics most of her life, being married to a politician, and I thought of her at the game. I sat close to third base, watching the third baseman and shortstop. The intense focus, leaning forward, glove down, then the high pop fly along the foul line, the shortstop racing back, looking straight up, waving away the others, making the catch. Five seconds of perfection for everyone to see.
It matters that men and women are moved to perform an art that they are, by God’s grace, suited for. The violinist in the band, the actor I saw play Eliza Doolittle a month ago, my old friend practicing the art of friendship, all of them responding to an urge to beauty. The home team lost, but they were on their toes, leaning forward, to the end.