Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard. A performance of classic love songs, poetry, The News from Lake Wobegon, and a conversation about Why You Should Go On Getting Older
March 4 in Kent, OH Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard. A performance of classic love songs, poetry, The News from Lake Wobegon, and a conversation about Why You Should Go On Getting Older
Garrison Keillor and the Hopeful Gospel Quartet come to The Wayne Theatre for an Evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. 7:00PM
High Point, NC
Garrison Keillor and the Hopeful Gospel Quartet come to the High Point Theatre for an Evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. 7:30 PM
Garrison Keillor and the Hopefuls (Robin and Linda Williams) comes to the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center for an Evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. 7:30 PM
Now that the warm days have petered out and gray November has descended, I look forward to the arrival of winter when Minnesota becomes silent and shimmering and magical just as in a children’s story. It’s like Robert Frost said in his poem, you stop to look at the woods full of snow that belong to a guy in the village and your horse thinks it’s nuts to stop but you do and the woods are lovely, dark and deep but I have a dental appointment to keep and I want to buy a sheepskin jacket, and sheepskin ain’t cheap.
Thirty years ago, winter arrived on Halloween and Duluth got 37 inches of snow and the next day men were out shoveling their sidewalks. It was a beautiful day. And a few months later I met my wife to whom I am still married and vice versa. To me, the blizzard and the romance are closely connected: having faced death, I was ready for love and she took me in her arms and there was a powerful mammalian attraction. She gave off heat, I loved her conversation, I could imagine spending winter with her. The subject of Florida has arisen recently, now that she has family down there, and I have reminded her of the Florida condo building that collapsed. Buildings don’t collapse in Minnesota, they freeze solid.
But she worries about me walking on icy sidewalks. We know old people who’ve fallen and bonked their heads and suddenly were unable to use the subjunctive mood and express wishes or draw comparisons, unable to use the pluperfect and describe something you’ve done in the past, so you’re trapped in the present indicative, which is hard for an older person. Pluperfect is our home.
I have nothing against the idea of warm weather, except as it may indicate global warming that will trigger apocalyptic events that will cause great suffering to our great-grandchildren and their children. Ordinarily, I enjoy a warm summer day as much as the next person but then, sitting on a porch, looking at trees, I think, “Why am I not happier than I am right now? Where is the stunned wonderment, why am I not writing a psalm or a rhapsody?” Autumn is the same. It brings memories of college years when I imagined I was brilliant and now I am old and dull and the high ambitions of my youth are long vanished in the dust.
But when blizzards come along and hazardous driving warnings are issued, a man comes to life. A switch clicks deep in the brain. Now we have something serious to deal with. Survival. Nature is trying to depopulate us. A deep chord is struck in a man’s heart. We put aside Christianity and go back to our pagan origins — the Bible takes place in a warm climate, Jesus went around in sandals and light raiment. “Love thy enemy” is okay in July but not now. A pack of wolves threatens our tiny arctic village and we must fight them off with clubs. A vicious pterodactyl has emerged from the forest and we must find large rocks and aim the catapult. We the Keepers of Civilization are under attack and all our qualms disappear in a flash. We venture out into the howling storm to bring home pizza for our babies, we reassure them that Daddy is here and nothing bad will happen.
Warm sunny weather depresses me. I’m not Italian. We northerners are Lutheran people, even the atheists: it’s a Lutheran god they don’t believe in. Lutherans are stoics, we take pleasure in hardship, that’s why so many went into dairy farming. And the low point of our year is the summer vacation.
As I write this, I’m alone and she’s in Florida, visiting her family and I dread getting the phone call that begins, “I saw the most wonderful house today. It has a screened porch and a swimming pool and the loveliest eucalyptus trees in the yard. I’m sending you a link by email. Take a look at it.”
If she does, I’ll drop the phone, wait a half minute, pick it up, say, “I’m sorry. I tripped on a power cord and banged my head. I think I’m okay. Who did you say this is?” A man uses whatever weapons are at hand. Disability may be one of them. If I could remember the subjunctive mood, I’d wish you’d come home, my darling. You belong with me.