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.
I flew back to Minnesota in the midst of Tuesday’s snowfall and was proud of my people dealing calmly with snow. The media tries to make a crisis of weather and newscasters speak in emergency tones and verbs such as “struck” and “slammed” are used. Falling snow never “struck” anybody. An icicle may have or a snowball or someone might slip on ice and strike their head, but snowflakes descending have no more impact than falling leaves in autumn.
The blizzard that fell on Buffalo was entirely different, four feet of snow, high winds, twelve-foot drifts, icy roads, deadly temperatures, combined to create a refugee situation and Buffalonians responded with mass heroism, people taking strangers into their homes and feeding them for days until order was restored.
The media loves drama, of course: they’re writers and who wants to write about contentment? Nonetheless, it was a shock to hear the words “potentially dangerous storm” applied to the snowfall in Minnesota. I come from an era when school was never ever canceled and we children stood in blinding blizzards waiting for the bus to come, huddling together like sheep, and thank goodness we wore heavy winter clothing with scarves, long underwear, stocking caps, masks, breathing through our noses to avoid freezing our lungs, and reminding ourselves over and over not to put our tongues on a lightpost.
We had been warned not to by our mothers, who told us that our tongues would freeze to the iron and firemen would have to come and rescue us and we’d probably talk with a lisp for the rest of our lives and so be unable to seek a career in broadcasting, and of course this warning aroused in us an urge to go ahead and do it. The romance of self-destruction, the longing for victimhood — it’s a long chapter in American history — look at all the alcoholic authors, the children of wealth and privilege who turned to heroin, the addiction of intelligent people to downhill skiing, the grooming of young people to take up wilderness camping.
I was a camp counselor one summer and I remember eating wretched food in a cloud of insects, some of which carry dreadful diseases, and sleeping on stony ground, feeling the onset of constipation, thinking about snakes and tall trees that fall for no reason in the middle of the night. Only two great novels involve camping, Grapes of Wrath and Red Badge of Courage, and in neither book is camping done for pleasure. No Beethoven quartet or Van Gogh painting or Shakespeare sonnet was inspired by a week of camping. Because camping is about boredom. It’s a refugee experience. When I first met my wife, I noticed that she wasn’t wearing hiking boots and didn’t have a lanyard around her neck and didn’t smell of insect repellent. It was a good start to a fine romance.
I drove south Tuesday on Highway 52 past peaceful farms on the snowy prairie, everywhere I looked was an idyllic picture, and I wondered why anyone in their right mind would trade this crystalline paradise for a tiny condo between a strip club and a casino in a sea of parking lots and Burger Kings with drunken college kids urinating in the streets in the south of Florida. It goes against good judgment.
I moved to New York but I’m still a Minnesotan and I come from the era of genuine winter, not the warm global winter of today, and back then Scoutmaster Einar insisted on our troop camping out in the woods in January, back before the invention of modern insulated sleeping bags, when we boys made our own out of Army blankets pinned together, and the only way we survived was by sleeping in a pile, three deep. Einar slept in his car and we could’ve joined him there but we didn’t.
I’ve told this true story to numerous people and nobody believed me, which convinced me to switch to writing fiction, but there it is. They also don’t believe that my mother warned us against putting our tongues on iron poles. That era has passed and now mothers worry about gender fluidity and adolescent depression and the fact that kids don’t know the words of the national anthem. Call me old-fashioned but I think a week in a tent in winter would straighten everyone out and we’d leave the wilderness to the animals and keep people in nice hotels with flush toilets and hot showers and room service. Try it, you’ll like it.