A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to Akron, OH with Heather Masse, Christine DiGiallonardo, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Fred Newman and Tim Russell.
A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to Scranton, PA with Heather Masse, Christine DiGiallonardo, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Fred Newman and Tim Russell.
Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson, Dan Chouinard and Dean Magraw bring their show to Spokane, WA for a performance of classic love songs, poetry, The News from Lake Wobegon, and a conversation about Why You Should Go On Getting Older
A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to the Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston, TX with our favorite regulars, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Tim Russell and Fred Newman. Additional guests to be announced.
New Philadelphia, OH
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Kent State University. Poetry, Limericks, Sing-Along and the News from Lake Wobegon.
I ate breakfast with a woman last week who, in the course of twenty minutes, sent four cups of coffee back to the kitchen because they didn’t meet her standards, a drip-brewed cup with milk, two lattes, and a latte with oat milk. (Her name does not begin with J.)
I’m not a newcomer to this world and I have never met a person with such exquisitely fine taste in the coffee realm. Wine, yes. Coffee, no. I say this with all due admiration. It’d be so easy to reproach her, what with wars and starvation and natural disasters and global warming and doxing and polls showing that a majority of Americans support blatant dishonesty and corruption, but I don’t go down the shaming road.
I come from Middle America, the part of the U.S. not mentioned in geography classes in schools on the East and West coasts so if you tell someone there that you’re from Minnesota, you may as well say Moldova or Burundi, and in Minnesota we’re grateful for any dark warm beverage you bring us. Probably Moldovans and Burundians feel likewise. Postum, Maxwell House instant, coffee made from ground acorns, whatever — Thank you so much.
As a result of coming from an insignificant place, I have no critical skills whatsoever. I could no more review a book than I could dance the tango. I go to an orchestra concert and enjoy looking around at nicely dressed people and the music sounds pretty good, too. Now and then my socks are knocked off but mostly I pull them up.
So I was astounded to see her hold a coffee cup up and say to the waiter, “This tastes like it came from a machine.” It was like having breakfast with someone who suddenly pulls a ukulele out of her purse and sings “Pu‘uanaulu” in Hawaiian. I envied her. I wish that someday I could learn how to do that.
This was a classy restaurant, by the way. This was not Mom’s Café across the street from the bus depot. A bowl of oatmeal cost $28 here and a toasted bagel with salmon went for $25. The service was very elegant. Male waiters set silverware and plates before us with the sort of finesse you’d expect if you were crowned royalty. It’s awesome to see young men accomplish this sort of finesse, a delicacy of wrist movement, a slight bow, the silent landing of the plate, no clatter. In Minnesota, male wait personnel just dump the chow in the trough, but these waiters seemed to have been trained by Martha Graham. And the food was good. I had scrambled eggs and they tasted eggy, not like the stuff you get at economy hotel buffets, which comes from a factory in Hoboken.
So my friend’s fussiness about the coffee was, in fact, a tribute to the excellence of the restaurant. (Did I mention that this was in Northern California, in a town where a small bungalow goes for $1.8 million and you can’t get a Tootsie Roll for less than five bucks?) She sent back the coffee with oat milk because it didn’t taste fresh. I’m in awe of that. In Minnesota, we feed oats to horses and they eat it, no questions asked.
As I write this, I am back home, it’s 5 a.m., my beloved is asleep, I have turned on the coffeemaker, and I’m waiting for her to walk in and sit on my lap and then I’m going to say, “We need a different brand of coffee beans. The bag you bought tastes grassy to me and also it just doesn’t have the edge it should have.”
She will look at me in astonishment. This level of discernment, coming from a Minnesota gopher. Maybe she’ll say, “So what? Sew buttons on your underwear.” Or maybe she’ll look at me with admiration and say, “I think you’re right. I’ve been thinking the same thing myself.”
And next Sunday at church, after the 10 a.m. service, as we stand around for coffee hour, maybe I’ll approach the rector and ask her, “Do you think this coffee tastes funny?” She has preached about the spirit of forgiveness, Jesus forgiving the two crooks on their crosses next to his, and I’m telling her that the coffee tastes sort of — I don’t know — metallic.
We’re in New York now. It ain’t Minneapolis. Life is a show. Be bold. For once in your life be outrageous. I may do this. Not next Sunday, but soon. Maybe in January.