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 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
Garrison Keillor and the Hopefuls (Robin and Linda Williams) comes to the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center for an Evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. 7:30 PM
It’s a gorgeous June in New York and I feel sorry for the people who can’t be here because they’re in federal custody or have children in soccer programs. I walked in Central Park and admired the dogwood and magnolias and was passed by a tall stunning beauty in running clothes who was dripping with sweat and who, three feet from me, let out a burst of methane like the honk of a goose and did not say “Sorry.” It’s a feature of New York, beautiful women who express themselves freely and without apology. Hurray for outspokenness.
I was brought up to be penitent. I am not a New Yorker. But I feel lucky to be here in a city of great talkers. Words everywhere you look. Wherever people are, they take time to sit with a cup of coffee and consult, confabulate, kibitz, chew the fat, schmooze, shoot the breeze, spill the beans, spread the word, spit it out.
The New Yorkers I know don’t go for alternating dialogue, they like multiple centripetal contrapuntal talk, three people talking at once because when the talk flies the topic shifts and you don’t want to lose your chance to comment on that scoundrel Putin because we’re now on to the Catholic bishops who might deny Communion to a devout Catholic president after four years of playing up to a guy who wouldn’t know Holy Sacraments from a sack of potato chips and then it’s poor Lin Miranda accused of casting people of color who weren’t dark-skinned enough and the dang electric scooters that race through the streets delivering food and terrifying people and the Supreme Court allowing Catholic agencies to deny adoption to gay couples and I’m trying to mention the fact that some Buddhist monks in Tibet are fans of a song I did on the radio meanwhile others mention the candidate for mayor who apparently lives in Jersey whereupon a guy at the end of the table recalls having met the Dalai Lama in New Jersey once, a huge name-drop that blows my Buddhist anecdote to bits, and my wife says something about perfection and this leads the Dalai Lama guy to mention having met Don Larsen who pitched that perfect game for the Yanks.
In Minnesota, table talk is like church — thoughtful reflections with meditative silences — and in New York it’s more like a bar fight, not that I know about bar fights, I don’t, I’m not from here.
Speaking of bar fights, English, as we know it, didn’t come from a commission of lexicographers but from the Battle of Hastings in 1066 when William of Normandy took on the Saxon king Harold who, after extensive hacking and stabbing and clubbing, took an arrow in his left eyeball and his men took to their heels and the Normans seized power in England and thus French and Latin were introduced into Saxon English to make the language you are reading now, not by scholars but by lovers, Norman men bedding Saxon dames and thereby smartening up the old pig-snout mud-smeared English with words like “romance,” “marriage,” “coitus,” and so forth. The women were cheated of citizenship but between the sheets they held their own pretty well and so French was enriched with useful words such as “Sakes alive,” “God help us,” “Listen to me,” “Up yours,” and “Don’t burn down the house.”
I come from rural people with great aptitude for silence and I admire talkers who don’t hesitate to stick their oar in. What it tells you is that the bishops, the candidates, the Supremes, the monks — it’s all a big show and don’t take it too seriously. In Minnesota, talkers are earnest and despair for the world, and in New York it’s all about put-downs and smarting off. I admire this. It tells me, “What’s important is to have good friends and family. The White House? Don’t get your undies in a bunch over it.”
What’s important is local. Eisenhower had less impact on my life than my third-grade teacher, Fern Moehlenbrock. The government people who mattered most to me were the EMTs from the St. Paul fire department who arrived in five minutes when my daughter had febrile seizures twenty years ago. She lay stiff and unconscious on the couch. Five uniforms took charge. One of them pointed out to me, the dad, that I didn’t have pants on. Trump? You gotta be kidding. Get outta here.