Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard bring their show to Frankfort, KY for a performance of classic love songs, poetry, The News from Lake Wobegon, and a conversation about Why You Should Go On Getting Older
Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard bring their show to Maryville, TN for a performance of classic love songs, poetry, The News from Lake Wobegon, and a conversation about Why You Should Go On Getting Older
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard bring their show to Fort Lauderdale, FL for a performance of classic love songs, poetry, The News from Lake Wobegon, and a conversation about Why You Should Go On Getting Older
Palm Desert, CA
Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard bring their show to Palm Desert, CA for a performance of holiday songs, humor and The News from Lake Wobegon.
Town Hall, New York City
A Prairie Home Companion American Revival comes to Town Hall in New York City with Christine DiGiallonardo, Heather Masse, Rob Fisher and the Demitasse Orchestra, Rich Dworsky, Walter Bobbie, Sue Scott, Fred Newman and Tim Russell.
by Robert Graves
Every choice is always the wrong choice,
Every vote cast is always cast away—
How can truth hover between alternatives?
Then love me more than dearly, love me wholly,
Love me with no weighing of circumstance,
As I am pledged in honour to love you:
With no weakness, with no speculation
On what might happen should you and I prove less
Than bringers-to-be of our own certainty.
Neither was born by hazard: each foreknew
The extreme possession we are grown into.
“Whole Love” by Robert Graves. Public Domain. (buy now)
Today is the birthday of Black journalist and anti-lynching crusader Ida B. Wells (books by this author), born into slavery in 1862 in Holly Springs, Mississippi. When she was 16 her parents and infant brother died in a yellow fever epidemic, leaving Wells to raise her six younger siblings. To support them she persuaded a local schools official that she was 18 so she could land a job as a teacher.
Wells’ first taste of activism came when she was 22. Seventy years before Rosa Parks made her fateful stand on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus a 22-year-old Wells refused to move to an African American train car in Memphis after buying a ticket in first class. Crew members forcibly removed her while she bit one of them on the hand. It was 1884. Wells sued the railroad, winning a $500 settlement in circuit court. But the Tennessee Supreme Court overturned the decision.
The experience led her to take up her pen against the injustices she witnessed — and it caused her no end of trouble. She championed women’s right to vote but was ostracized by white suffragists whom she accused of ignoring lynching. After writing about the poor conditions of a Black school she taught in in Memphis, the school fired her.
In 1892 the killing of a friend led Wells to investigate white mob violence against Blacks. The friend had opened People’s Grocery in Memphis which drew customers from a white-owned store across the street. One day a dispute arose outside People’s Grocery between two young men, one white and one Black, who were playing marbles. Neighbors joined in and the fight grew in size. Tensions rose. Three days later a group of six whites, including a sheriff’s deputy, arrived at People’s Grocery. They were met with gunfire from inside; the deputy and another white man were wounded. Wells’ friend, the grocery owner, was arrested, along with two of his employees. Days later, at 2:30 in the morning, a group of 75 masked men took the three from their Shelby County Jail cells and hauled them to a nearby railyard, shooting them dead.
Wells began to write investigative reports and commentaries about lynchings in the Free Speech, a Memphis newspaper she co-owned. A group of angry whites responded by destroying the building and she was forced to leave town. Of her work she said, “I am only a mouthpiece through which to tell the story of lynching, and I have told it so often that I know it by heart. I do not have to embellish; it makes its own way.”
Today is the birthday of St. Clare of Assisi, born 1194. As the eldest daughter of a wealthy family she was expected by her parents to marry well and they began trying to fix her up with eligible bachelors when she was only 12. She managed to convince them to wait until she was 18 but by that time she preferred to go and listen to the young and radical Francis of Assisi preaching the gospel. One Palm Sunday she ran away in the middle of the night to give her vows to Francis. He cut her hair, dressed her in black, and brought her to a group of Benedictine nuns. Later he moved her to the Church of San Damiano, where she embraced a life of extreme poverty, after the example set by Jesus. Claire’s sister Agnes eventually ran away to join her, and so did other women, and the order became known as the “Poor Ladies.” They spent their time in prayer and manual labor and refused to own any property.
Clare defended her lifestyle of poverty and sacrifice by saying:
“There are some who do not pray nor make sacrifices; there are many who live solely for the idolatry of their senses. There should be compensation. There should be someone who prays and makes sacrifices for those who do not do so. If this spiritual balance is not established, earth would be destroyed by the evil one.”
Throughout her tenure as abbess, Clare fought for the right to adopt her Rule of Life as the official governing policy of the Poor Ladies, rather than the Rule of St. Benedict, which was more lax. She was the first woman to write the rule for a religious order and Pope Innocent IV finally granted her request just two days before she died at the age of 59. She was canonized two years after her death and eventually the Poor Ladies became known as the Order of St. Clare, or the “Poor Clares.”
In 1958 Pope Pius XII designated St. Clare as the patron saint of television because when she became bedridden near the end of her life, it’s said she was able to see and hear an image of the Mass on the wall of her room. And it was a Poor Clare nun, Mother Angelica, who founded the Eternal Word Television Network.
The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger (buy now), was published on this date in 1951. It’s about a 16-year-old prep school boy named Holden Caulfield, who is fed up with all the “phonies” and wants to go live in a cabin in California. The book took Salinger 10 years to write, and it was at one time the most banned book and the most frequently taught book in the country.
The book begins:
“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”
And later Holden says:
“I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around — nobody big, I mean — except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff — I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all.”
Despite Salinger’s hesitations about publicity, The Catcher in the Rye was a sensation. It became a best-seller almost immediately, reaching No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list after two weeks. It has sold more than 65 million copies.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®