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+
The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie in New York City
by Julie Danho
In case there’s a line, I show up at seven
but the man at the counter says the cookies
won’t be ready until eleven and by then
I’ll be on the train, nearly halfway back
to Providence. He and the dozen people
behind me are waiting, so I quickly choose
a ham croissant and a blueberry muffin
glittering like a hotel lobby chandelier.
The shop’s a dab of yellow on the block,
its only seats along the front window
where I sit and look at bleary people stopped
at the bodega across the street, touching
apples and mangos until they find the ones
most untouched. With my first bite,
the croissant comes undone, its shawl
falling to the floor. I break off the peak
of the muffin and hear the sugar overfill
the valleys of my back teeth. I’m trying not
to think about how it must taste, the best
chocolate chip cookie in New York City,
how big, how warm, how it would’ve
collapsed in my mouth, traveled my blood,
made wild pinwheels of my cells.
How much time have I lost
hunting perfection? Once, before cell phones,
before the days when cars couldn’t linger
outside the airport doors, my plane was
delayed on the runway for four hours,
and my husband, before he was my husband,
waited for me in his cramped Plymouth
battered from years of lake effect snow.
He just waited, reading a book, turning on
the car every so often to listen to the radio.
When I finally arrived, he was surprised
that I thought he’d be gone. He said
no one asked why he was there so long
or what it was he was waiting for.
“The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie in New York City” by Julie Danho from Those Who Keep Arriving. Silverfish Review Press © 2020. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
Today is believed to be the birthday of the Shoshone woman Sacajawea, born in Idaho (sometime around 1789). [Several other possible birth dates have also been proposed.] She was kidnapped at age 10 by the Hidatsa tribe, sold into slavery, and bought by a French-Canadian trapper who made her one of his two wives. When Lewis and Clark hired the trapper to guide them to the Pacific, Sacajawea — a teenager with her two-month-old baby on her back — was part of the package. She was the only woman to accompany the permanent party to the Pacific Ocean and back.
Officially she acted as an interpreter since she could speak half a dozen Indian languages. But she also knew which plants were edible, and she saved the explorers’ records when their boat overturned. In his notes, William Clark pointed out that tribes were inclined to believe that their party was friendly when they saw Sacajawea because a war party would never travel with a woman, especially one with a baby.
When the trip was over, Sacajawea received nothing. Her trapper husband got $500.33 and 320 acres of land. She died on December 22, 1812, of a “putrid fever,” according to Clark’s records. She was 23. Eight months later, Clark legally adopted her two children — the boy who had been a baby on the expedition, Jean Baptiste, and an infant daughter, Lisette.
It’s the birthday of country songwriter and singer Merle Haggard, born in Bakersfield, California (1937). The first song he wrote was “Branded Man,” about the life of an ex-con. He was still on parole when he wrote it. He died in 2016 after releasing more than 600 songs, 40 of which were No. 1 hits.
The day before he had lost a libel case he’d brought against his lover’s father, John Sholto Douglas, the 9th Marquess of Queensberry. The Marquess had called Wilde a sodomite, and Wilde wanted to humiliate him and show off his own wit by taking him to court. Wilde was the one who famously said, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”
The whole thing backfired. Wilde lost the libel case, and Douglas gathered enough evidence to have him arrested. Still, it took two trials to convict Wilde, though it helped that the prosecution paid Wilde’s former lovers to testify.
He was sentenced to two years of hard labor. He walked six hours a day in 29-minute increments, with five-minute breaks, until he’d covered a distance equal to a 6,000-foot incline. He slept on a wooden plank, and for the first several months he was not allowed books, writing utensils, or paper.
When he finally got them, he wrote the poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol, an allegory of his downfall. It was published anonymously until its seventh printing when Wilde finally told his publisher it was OK to add his name to it.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®