July 8, 2023
Lime Kiln Theater, Lexington, VA
Garrison Keillor and Robin & Linda Williams come to the Lime Kiln Theater in Lexington, VA for an evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. 8:00 PM
July 6, 2023
Sellersville Theatre, Sellersville, PA
Garrison Keillor and Robin & Linda Williams come to Sellersville, PA for an evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon.
April 30, 2023
Paramount Hudson Valley, Peekskill, NY
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Peekskill NY. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unite us.
April 29, 2023
Park Theatre, Jaffrey, NH
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Jaffrey, NH. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unites us.
April 27, 2023
Cary Memorial Hall, Lexington, MA
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Lexington, MA. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unites us.
In case you’re wondering why I was not in church Sunday morning, I was in the Omaha airport at 6:30 a.m. waiting for a flight back to New York, listening to an announcement that unattended baggage would be confiscated, eating a breakfast croissant and blueberry yogurt, drinking coffee, which came to $19.74, which happens to be the year I started doing my old radio show.
I grew up Sanctified Brethren, so it was odd to wind up in comedy, but my mother loved Jack Benny and Lucille Ball, so there’s the hitch. I started the show to amuse her, and I succeeded. And the one Saturday night in Omaha did too. A tall woman and I sang love duets while a piano player with wild hair kept the beat and I did octogenarian stand-up and the audience accepted this pretty well.
I get sort of euphoric singing harmony because I’m a writer and writing is drudgery, not so different from cleaning hotel rooms. All writing is rewriting and it’s never finished. No writer reads his own work with pleasure. But singing harmony to this woman is like a trapeze act, I hang upside down and swing and she times her leap and catches my wrists and it’s sort of amazing every time.
We sang Paul Simon’s “Under African Skies,” a song I love though I don’t understand it (“This is the story of how we begin to remember … after the dream of falling and calling your name out”???) and the piano player gets a great rambunctious break and then the tall woman whistles through her teeth, grinning, and the audience whoops and yells, and then I talk about a quiet week in Lake Wobegon.
Omaha is a well-kept city with a handsome classic downtown and I ate lunch in a downtown café a few tables away from a long table with six middle-aged guys around it and I loved listening to them talk. I couldn’t hear what they were saying but the tones of the voices, the cadences, the overlaps, made it obvious they’d known each other for decades, the harmony of old friends. The tall woman, our producer Sam, the wild-haired one, and I have known each other for decades and our conversation on tour is not so different from the six guys. Old friends. It’s a blessing you don’t expect when you’re young and beset with your own troubles and then it dawns on you that familiarity is beautiful.
The plane descended through scattered clouds and suddenly there was New York harbor, the tiny statue of Miss Liberty, the towers of lower Manhattan, Governors Island, the Lower East Side, Chinatown, the Brooklyn Bridge, the great panorama of boxes and plazas and the stories contained therein, the intensity and density of human life, and the great park in the middle of Manhattan where my love is out for a walk. She missed me when I was away. She saw the Vienna Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall and it was fabulous but now it’s time to resume daily life. I take a cab to the apartment and I embrace her, we talk to our girl up in Connecticut, we play Scrabble.
I could live cheerfully in Omaha, I can be happy in New York, all I need is my love, a good church, a few old friends, and a measure of good luck. The city has a place in my heart because my dad brought me here when I was 11 and it was the only time in my life I had him all to myself for a couple weeks, a great privilege, and I think of him here. He spent his Army years in New York working in the main post office, which is a few blocks from the main library where I like to go to work. I sit in a long reading room, at a table with reading lamps, surrounded by people in their twenties all studying, most of them Asian, and I like being among them, these young strivers. I’m striving myself. It’s crazy but I feel I have yet to do my best work. If I’m in St. Paul, I’m surrounded by my past, and in New York there’s only the future.
Except when I cross over to Grand Central Station. My dad took me there, for the sheer grandeur of it, and when I walk in and look up at the arched ceiling with the sparkly lights, I get to be 11 again. Then down to the subway, take the shuttle to Times Square and ride the C train home.