Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Jaffrey, NH. Poetry, Limericks, Sing-Along and the News from Lake Wobegon
Boothbay Harbor, ME
Garrison Keillor returns to Boothbay Harbor with his solo show. Poetry, Limericks, Sing-Along and the News from Lake Wobegon
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Beverly, MA with Poetry, Limericks, Sing-Along and the News from Lake Wobegon
A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour will visit to the Chicago Theater in Chicago, IL with our Special Guests: Heather Masse, Christine DiGiallonardo, Rich Dworsky, Howard Levy, Chris Siebold, Larry Kohut, Sue Scott, Tim Russell and Fred Newman.
St. Paul, MN – 3rd show – Limited Seating
A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour returns home to The Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, MN for THREE SHOWS with our Special Guests: Heather Masse, Christine DiGiallonardo, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Tim Russell and Fred Newman and more.
Teaching My Husband to Swim
by Jacqueline Berger
Usually I’m the one who knows nothing,
frozen at the computer while my husband
tries to talk me through.
But this morning at the inn where we’ve come
to celebrate our second anniversary,
he tells me how many people in the past
have tried and failed to teach him how to swim.
I throw my suit on and grab our towels.
This is something I know I can do.
We’ve already been in the pool—a late afternoon
dip when we got here, me doing laps
and my husband dog paddling beside me,
his head above water, or holding his breath
the length of the pool before coming up for air.
Now I stand by the side, pulling my elbows back
and turning my head to demonstrate the crawl.
The fog has burned off the valley
and the pool shines, set off by the vineyards
whose grapes in another month
will be ready for harvest.
My husband in the pool tries to follow what I’m showing
but yanks his head to the surface, coughing water.
I get in with him and we discuss the mechanics
of breathing. He doesn’t know about exhaling
through the nose under water, never learned
the significance of making bubbles.
It’s a revelation. I send him
back and forth across the pool and it works.
He’s swimming. Each time his face comes up
as his arm draws back,
the O of his mouth looks like wonder
or terror. We move on to the breast stroke,
and his head, like a needle stitching cloth,
gathers the water in the thick folds.
I stand off to the side coaching,
triumphant but careful to let the victory be his.
An ironic high five when we get out of the water
is all he wants to signify the occasion.
In the delicate economy of marriage
giving costs less than receiving,
the thin wire of power
threaded through the soft body of need.
We’re ready for a hot bath
and both fit in the large tub in our room
where we lather our bodies and hair,
passing the soap between us.
Jacqueline Berger, “Teaching My Husband to Swim” from The Gift That Arrives Unbroken. Copyright © 2010 by Jacqueline Berger. Used by the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC, on behalf of Autumn House Press, autumnhouse.org. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of novelist Jon Hassler, (books by this author) born in Minneapolis (1933). He grew up in Plainview, Minnesota, and began working at the local grocery store when he was eleven years old. He later said:
“I’ve always thought of the Red Owl Grocery Store in Plainview, Minnesota, as my training ground, for it was there that I acquired the latent qualities necessary to the novelist, namely … the fun of picking the individual out of a crowd and the joy of finding the precise words to describe him. I dare say nobody ever got more nourishment than I did out of a grocery store.”
He taught at high schools and community colleges for 20 years before he began writing seriously. His first novel, Staggerford, came out in 1977 when Hassler was 42 years old. Jon Hassler died in 2008, 10 days before his 75th birthday, from a rare brain disease called progressive supranuclear palsy. His final novel was The New Woman (2005), set in his fictional town of Staggerford about an 88-year-old woman named Agatha McGee.
On this day in 1867, the United States agreed to purchase Alaska from Russia for the sum of $7.2 million dollars. It had belonged to Russia for about 125 years, since Russians had been the first European explorers to get to the place and had proclaimed it their territory in 1741.
The American Civil War ended in 1865 and a couple years later, on this day in 1867, the deal to buy Alaska was negotiated and signed by President Andrew Johnson’s secretary of state, William Seward. He announced that someday this big chunk of land would be a U.S. state. The American public by and large was not sold on the purchase of frozen tundra. People thought it was a ridiculous amount of money to spend on a faraway place, which they alternately referred to as Andrew Johnson’s “polar bear garden” and “Seward’s Icebox.” In fact, the purchase became commonly known as “Seward’s Folly.”
But then gold was discovered there in the 1890s and the Klondike Gold Rush followed, with tens of thousands of people heading north to try to strike it rich. They settled in as fishers and miners and trappers and producers of minerals, and Alaska was granted territorial status in 1912. It became the 49th state of the union, the largest one (consisting of 663,268 square miles) and also the least densely populated state. In 1968 oil was discovered at the far northern part of the state, at Prudhoe Bay. A pipeline was built and began to pump oil in 1977 and now the area near Prudhoe Bay is the largest oil field in the U.S.
The writer Vladimir Nabokov, (books by this author) who was born in Russia in 1899 — just 32 years after the Alaska Purchase — and who emigrated to the United States in 1940, wrote in his memoir, Strong Opinions, about how he was once asked to list “scenes from the historical past which he wished he could have witnessed on film.” He replied:
“Shakespeare in the part of the King’s Ghost. The beheading of Louis the Sixteenth, the drums drowning his speech on the scaffold. Herman Melville at breakfast, feeling a sardine to his cat. Poe’s wedding. Lewis Carroll’s picnics. The Russians leaving Alaska, delighted with the deal. Shot of a seal applauding.”
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®