A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to Akron, OH with Heather Masse, Christine DiGiallonardo, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Fred Newman and Tim Russell.
New Philadelphia, OH
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Kent State University. Poetry, Limericks, Sing-Along and the News from Lake Wobegon.
A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to the Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston, TX with our favorite regulars, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Tim Russell and Fred Newman. Additional guests to be announced.
A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to the McCain Auditorium in Manhattan, Kansas with our favorite regulars, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Tim Russell and Fred Newman. Additional guests to be announced.
A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to Nashville with Heather Masse, Christine DiGiallonardo, Rich Dworsky, Sam Bush, Stuart Duncan, Sue Scott, Fred Newman and Tim Russell.
The beauty of this blessed summer is our chance to escape the news and devote ourselves to real life. I sat with my love on a hotel balcony overlooking a marina and we renewed our vow to never own a boat. I got up at 5 a.m. to send a niece to the airport and I gave her several coherent sentences of advice, drawing on my own mistakes. My love and I sat in the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station and devoured a dozen Malpeques and a lobster roll and scrod, the lights in the domed ceiling unchanged from when I saw it with my dad in 1953. In the subway heading home, she showed me snapshots of another niece holding her baby boy to her breast, minutes after delivery. The mother looked exhilarated, the babe surprised, the papa stunned. We couldn’t stop studying the pictures, the delight of them, which obliterated so much nonsense, the naked lie about the stolen election, the “weaponization” of law enforcement, the banning of books. We were back in the real America.
I wish they’d ban my book Cheerfulness so that more people would read it. I wrote it because the America I know and love is upbeat, enterprising, amiable to a fault, partial to jokes, and the mood of fracture and trauma seems fictitious to me, a far cry from the country that attracted our immigrant forebears. They didn’t cross the border in the hopes of taking vengeance.
Friday afternoon, I boarded the Lake Shore Limited in New York, bound for Chicago and then the Grand Canyon, along with my Londoner stepdaughter and her husband who are ambitious hikers and eager to experience one of nature’s great erosion projects. We chugged through tunnels under Manhattan and then emerged along the mighty Hudson, on our way to Schenectady and Syracuse, and along Lake Michigan through Ohio and Indiana, not far from the route my ancestors David and Martha Ann Powell traveled 150 years ago with a milk cow tied to a wagonload of babies, including my great-grandpa James Wesley. David was infected with the westward urge.
I have no such urge myself and never did. It’s been an accidental life, a twig floating in the stream of life, like the driverless car that Google is developing but one programmed to be directed by gusts of wind.
I love trains. The food was bad but the conversation was good. Something about motion stimulates talk. I come from people of few words; they should’ve gotten on bicycles, it would’ve loosened them up. The train stopped for maintenance problems, then hit top speed to make up the time, so it was a rough ride, a lot of bucketa-bucketa, which stimulated a wild night of interesting dreams: I was in Reykjavik singing in Icelandic, I spoke with my mother who said she loved me, I was in a dinghy with a sail heading up the river to meet my love, I won the Nobel Prize in literature, I fell into a pit of manure but kept my mouth shut, I was sitting in a city room of a newspaper typing on a Royal typewriter and using carbon paper.
I lay awake through Indiana, thinking about my grandfather James, a skilled carpenter who loved books and loved to sing. My dad built our house from the basement to the roof beam. Now I’m eight years older than my grandpa and seven years younger than my father.
So much of the world feels alien to the 81-year-old, which relieves me of personal responsibility; I’m a citizen of a country that is disappearing. So be it. My responsibility is to pay attention. I sat in the dining car drinking coffee as we cruised into Chicago and a Mennonite couple sat down, she in a black gown, he wearing a flat-brimmed straw hat. We spoke and I told the joke about the waitress who came to the Lord after she waited on several men a night. They laughed politely. He said, “Thank you for cleaning that up. Usually it’s a prostitute.”
I hesitate to say this because it’s something my people never said, never dreamed of saying, maybe it felt like bad luck to their cautious Scots souls, but Chicago is approaching and I need to pack my bag, so here it is: these are the days, the time is now; I have never felt so happy as I do now. This will change. But I accept this beautiful summer, happiness is dominant, it diminishes all the miscellaneous.