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 and Dan Chouinard 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
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Torrance, CA. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unites us.
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard bring their show to Fort Lauderdale, FL 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 few days at the Mayo Clinic and I see that I must change my life. For one thing, eyedrops. I need to irrigate the eyes but in searching for eyedrops I often come across something more interesting such as an old photograph of the staff at YMCA’s Camp Warren in Eveleth, Minnesota, one including me, 19, tall and lean, third row on the left, and now I try to remember the names of the others, meanwhile my eyes dry up.
What I need is a powerful woman named Greta who will grab me every two hours and throw me down on the floor and force my eyes open and drop eyedrops in them.
I also need to get out and walk strenuously and for this I must hire a kidnapper named Junior who will bind my hands and throw me in the back of his car and drive me six miles away and leave me there with no billfold, no cash, no paper and pen with which to write a note (PLEASE GIVE ME A RIDE), and will watch from a distance to make sure I don’t stick my thumb out.
Other people have hired trainers to compel them to exercise but this doesn’t work for me. The trainer is a youngish woman named Leonie or Larisa and I invite her to look at the photo of the Camp Warren staff and I talk about these YMCA counselors and their tragic lives in crime, one a compulsive arsonist, another ran the biggest Ponzi scheme in Minnesota history and one stole catalytic converters, and soon Lynette or Lois is in tears and the hour is up and exercise is forgotten. “I need a drink,” she says, and I make her a Manhattan. I pay her for her time, and then I go back to sitting around.
I need to drink more water. Here I live in a New York apartment, the streams and lakes of the Catskills have been channeled through vast underground conduits to provide pure drinking water to twelve million people and yet I hardly ever go to the tap and run water into a glass. Dehydration makes me fatigued, and all I need to do is drink six or eight glasses of water a day, problem solved. I need to be intubated from a water pack on my back. Either that or Naomi the school nurse with a pistol, saying, “Drink or die.”
How did I get so messed up? I come from a good family. And there’s the problem. I set out to become an artist, which meant I had to disregard the rules of good health. Did James Joyce drink six glasses of water a day and do his crunches and stretches and administer his eyedrops? No, he sat in Les Deux Magots and drank absinthe and gin and wrote in a cramped hand in his notebook as his eyesight got worse and worse. So I set out on this same course, hoping to emulate him and write Ulysses and it hasn’t happened yet.
Nonetheless, I feel very fortunate. Despite my loose life, I can still stand on one foot, eyes closed, for ten seconds. And then I think of Jack Armstrong who ran the kayak program at Camp Warren and I’m grateful to be me and not him. Jack was a powerful kayaker, a model to the rest of us, who ascended rapids with ease while singing voyageur ballads and made camp using only pine boughs and dining on turtles and ferrets. He was Mr. Wilderness. He gave chapel talks on self-sufficiency. He was Thoreauvian to the core. But he drank bad water from a creek. This is the irony of living in nature — there’s bad water out there, whereas New York tap water is the best in the world.
The bad water brought on dementia and he wound up in New York. In Minnesota, his home was the wilderness but in New York he resided in abandoned rail tunnels and found food in restaurant garbage. I ran into him on Amsterdam Avenue and said, “Jack, it’s me, Keillor,” and he didn’t know me. “Camp Warren,” I said. There was no sign of recognition. He didn’t know who he was or why. Some things are worse than dehydration, such as the loss of selfhood. Praise God from Whom clean water flows; I’m feeling lucky, goodness knows.