Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Peekskill NY. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unite us.
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
Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson, Dan Chouinard and Dean Magraw bring their show to Iola, KS 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, Dan Chouinard and Dean Magraw bring their show to Wichita, KS for a performance of classic love songs, poetry, The News from Lake Wobegon, and a conversation about Why You Should Go On Getting Older
Seventy-Two is Not Thirty-Five
by David Budbill
I spent seven hours yesterday at my daughter’s house
helping her expand their garden by at least ten times.
We dug up sod by the shovelful, shook off the dirt as
best we could; sod into the wheelbarrow and off to the
pile at the edge of the yard. Then all that over and over
again. Five hours total work-time, with time out for lunch
and supper. By the time I got home I knew all too well
that seventy-two is not thirty-five; I could barely move.
I got to quit earlier than Nadine. She told me I’d done
enough and that I should go get a beer and lie down on
the chaise lounge and cheer her on, which is what I did.
All this made me remember my father forty years ago
helping me with my garden. My father’s dead now, and
has been dead for many years, which is how I’ll be one
of these days too. And then Nadine will help her child,
who is not yet here, with her garden. Old Nadine, aching
and sore, will be in my empty shoes, cheering on her own.
So it goes. The wheel turns, generation after generation,
around and around. We ride for a little while, get off and
somebody else gets on. Over and over, again and again.
David Budbill “Seventy-Two Is Not Thirty-Five” from Tumbling toward the End. Copyright © 2017 by David Budbill. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org. (buy now)
On this day in 1787, English historian Edward Gibbon completed the final volume of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in his garden in Lausanne, Switzerland. In his diary he wrote, “I will not dissemble the first emotions of joy on the recovery of my freedom and perhaps the establishment of my fame … I had taken my everlasting leave of an old and agreeable companion.” The history took 20 years and six volumes to complete. It traces the trajectory of Western civilization from the height of the Roman Empire to the fall of Byzantium. The book was a sensation, becoming the model for all future historical texts; Gibbon is considered the first modern historian of ancient Rome. He wrote, “History … is, indeed, little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortune of mankind.”
Today is the birthday of Alice McDermott (books by this author), born in Brooklyn in 1953. She grew up on Long Island, part of an Irish Catholic family. She is still a practicing Catholic and she often writes about that faith in her novels. When she first started publishing her books she got the impression that interviewers were judging her for her religious beliefs; she said she could almost hear them thinking, “Oh, I thought you were an intellectual. Well, I guess not.” But now, she says, “it’s getting a little bit more hip to be Catholic. […] For me, having characters who are part of a faith then allows me to talk about how that faith either works or fails them without having to attack the institution.”
McDermott has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for three of her books so far: That Night (1987), At Weddings and Wakes (1992), and After This (2006). Her 1998 novel Charming Billy won the National Book Award.
It’s the birthday of poet Lucille Clifton (books by this author), born in Depew, New York (1936). She grew up without much money, and no car, and she wrote a poem about how her father walked 12 miles to Buffalo to order the first dining room set ever owned by a black family in Depew. Her mother wrote poems but her father disapproved and made his wife burn them, which made Lucille all the more determined to become a poet. She started to write poetry when she was 12 and she won a full scholarship to Howard University in Washington, D.C., where she was friends and classmates with Amiri Baraka. She transferred to Fredonia State Teachers College and there she met her husband and they got married and had six children–and while she was raising kids, she published her first book, Good Times (1969). It was named one of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times, and she went on to publish many books of poetry, including An Ordinary Woman (1974) and Blessing the Boats (2000), as well as almost 20 books for children.
The untitled opening poem in Good Times begins, “in the inner city / or like we call it / home / we think a lot about uptown / and the silent nights / and the houses straight as dead men / and the pastel lights / and we hang on to our no place / happy to be alive.”
On this day in 1844, Joseph Smith Jr., founder of the Latter-day Saints movement, was killed by a mob in Carthage, Illinois. Born in Sharon, Vermont, in 1805 Smith reported he had been visited by an angel named Moroni in 1823. Moroni directed him to a buried cache of gold plates on which were written the history of the Israelites. He retrieved these and translated them with the help of two seer stones that were with them, and so wrote the Book of Mormon, on which he based a new sect of Christianity. He and his followers moved west in 1831, headed to Missouri to found a “New Zion”; on the way, they passed through Kirtland, Ohio, where they doubled the size of their church after converting about a hundred people. Smith declared Kirtland the “eastern boundary of New Jerusalem,” calling all the Saints to meet him there.
Smith and his followers stayed in Kirtland for eight years. During this time he scouted Missouri for a site for New Zion, which he believed he found in Jackson County. The locals weren’t having any of it, though, and they grew resentful, eventually forming mobs and attacking the Mormon settlements. Smith and his followers were forcibly expelled from Jackson County in 1833. They set their sights on Far West, Missouri, in 1838, but relations with the non-Mormons in the community grew increasingly contentious and resulted in the Mormon War of 1838. Smith was imprisoned and nearly executed for treason, but he escaped by bribing the sheriff and the group moved on to Illinois in 1839, settling in the town of Commerce, which they renamed Nauvoo.
Smith and the Mormons presented themselves as refugees and oppressed minorities to their new neighbors in Illinois, but eventually they ran into trouble, and public opinion had turned against them by 1842. In 1843 Smith petitioned Congress to name Nauvoo an independent territory, and also announced himself as a third-party candidate for president of the United States. When he ordered the destruction of the facilities of the Nauvoo Expositor, a newspaper that had accused him of practicing polygamy and trying to get himself anointed as king of a theocracy, things got heated. He declared martial law, and the governor called for a trial. Smith was arrested and jailed in Carthage, Illinois. Smith reportedly said:
“I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer’s morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men. I shall die innocent, and it shall yet be said of me — he was murdered in cold blood.”
Two hundred men, their faces painted black with gunpowder, broke into the jail and shot Smith and his brother Hyrum to death.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®