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 comes to The Avalon Theatre in Easton, MD for an Evening of poetry, Sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. Tickets $60
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
New Year’s Day is an occasion nobody knows what to do with and so is the Eve that precedes it. I used to go to parties where we gathered around someone with a guitar and sang about broken romance and drank until the liquor was gone and the next day I awoke in a fog to watch football with other inert men but I gave all that up long ago. Gradually, a person edits out stuff that makes no sense and I scratched football, Florida vacations, artichokes, science fiction, pocket billiards, and broadcast journalism, and thus life became more and more interesting. It’s been forty years since I watched a football game. Twenty since I put the bottle away. These changes make one hopeful for the future. And here we are, looking around at 2022.
Call me naïve but I’ve been around for three score and ten plus nine years and I believe in progress. I was impressed when science found a way to put shampoo and conditioner into one bottle and when the cranberry and raisin married to form the craisin. I still rejoice at the ease of long-distance phone calls — we don’t even use the term “long distance” anymore — I’m astonished when my daughter FaceTimes me from London as I sit in a café in New York, and in our capitalist society, why does this not cost $35.75 a minute? A miracle.
I read about Boyan Slat, the young Dutchman who invented a boom that collects tons of plastic pollutants for recycling, pollutants that rivers dump into the seas and that kill fish, and it gives a person hope that we will work out the problems that a great many writers revel in despairing over, the fashionable dystopian soothsayers who prevail in academia and the media and who congregate on the coasts and talk to themselves about their iconic migraines and the systemic emptiness of life in Middle America, which they seldom set foot in but where their books sell by the truckload to comfortable people in need of the thrill of crisis.
I’ve known some luminous people in my time, and what distinguished them was their enduring enthusiasm and hopes and aspirations, and I recommend the same to you. When I was your age, I learned the arts of sarcasm and ridicule, and as a young writer aimed for a dark neurotic brilliance (“Devastating … compelling” — NY Times, “Rips the covers off the myth of exceptionalism” — Vanity Fair), but as an old man I look around and see splendor and bravery and genius and kindness and that, my dears, is the real story.
Sitting in a café on Columbus Avenue in New York a couple weeks ago, I watched an ancient man inching his way along the sidewalk, long white hair and beard, blinded by the sun, confused, tattered, about to step into the bike lane and be run down, when two young women and a young man came to his rescue, took his hand, got his address, called an Uber to come get him, put some money in his hand, and off he went. This is the real story, a man of my generation rescued by the young. Writers can revel in despair but other people are intent on solving problems, and that’s where you should put your money.
I know something about misery, having just spent four days in Florida, a state where nobody wears a mask and so I had visions of dying of COVID amid the junk food outlets and collapsible condos, but I did not die and came back north and now I have hope for 2022. The developer ex-president will find himself being questioned under oath this year, the dark cloud of perjury over his head, and his anti-science cult followers will be playing a bad hand in the November elections. Solar energy will take great strides forward. Baseball will return. My friend Harry Reid who grew up dirt-poor and fought his father to protect his mother and hitchhiked forty miles to go to high school and who wound up marshaling the Affordable Care Act through the U.S. Senate had a luminous faith in this country. I talked to him a couple months before he died last week and he was full of life and quoting Mark Twain — the line about the man who lives fully does not fear death and also, “I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” Harry was the only politician I knew who kept a picture of a humorist on his office wall. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.