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 comes to The Avalon Theatre in Easton, MD for an Evening of poetry, Sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. Tickets $60
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
It’s always satisfying to see our nation’s capital hit by a good hard snowstorm and imagine powerful men trying to shovel their way out of a snowbank. It’s a parable right out of Scripture, Let the powerful have a sense of humor for each in turn shall be made helpless.
It was front-page in the papers and the subhead said that a U.S. senator had been stranded overnight on the interstate. The blockage of an interstate is the true measure of a serious storm and the headline writer tossed in the senator as further evidence, but it only made me wish there had been numerous senators — say, those from Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, the five states least accomplished at snow motorism, and if the Senate had come to session the next morning, our nation would get moving again, one blockage breaking a logjam. But it was only a Democrat from Virginia, giving Mitch McConnell a one-vote edge, and there is no vacancy on the Supreme Court, so he didn’t need it.
But I have no right to be smug about Washington, you’re right. My wife took away my car keys a couple years ago when I mentioned casually while driving that I have double vision and so my old Minnesota highway skills have atrophied. I sit in the shotgun seat and am astonished at her adeptness in traffic, her unhesitant merging, her acceleration upon seeing the light turn yellow, her masterful (or mistressful) parallel parking. When I met her, she was 35, living in Manhattan, hadn’t ever owned a car, and maybe she married me for transportation and now I admire her driving. She is a whiz: her training as a violinist, paying close attention to the score while also watching an untrustworthy conductor and listening to your section, has served her well as a motorist. Plus, she swears better than I ever could. Growing up evangelical, I swear like a kindergarten teacher. And “gosh” is not useful in reacting to treacherous stupidity, not in the Senate, not on the road.
We’ve spent the pandemic mostly in New York where a car is not the necessity it was back on the farm in Freeport, Minnesota, where I had a long narrow driveway to navigate at 5 a.m. when I left for work at the radio station, and after a heavy snowfall, I felt like Admiral Peary in search of the North Pole. Now, in New York, retired, snow rarely encountered, nothing to do but make coffee and glance at the paper, I’ve been reduced from admiral to a deckhand, and I’m okay with that. I feel no diminution of my manhood whatsoever.
On second thought, I do miss the sense of superiority, cruising through a blizzard along Highway 12, seeing a car in the ditch, and the absolute superiority when I stopped to help a ditched driver with his thumb out. Jesus left that out of the Good Samaritan story, the unseemly pleasure of assisting the helpless. The poor shivering man climbed into my big warm car and — remember, this was before cellphones — I drove him to the next town where he could call for a tow truck, and the gratitude of the poor wretch was satisfying to me, the Man Who Knows How To Drive On Snow, and once a wretch offered me cash, he was a city fellow, unaccustomed to Christian charity, and I said, “No, no, no. My pleasure.” Which it was. A rather smug pleasure.
It’s hard to combat smugness, you just have to grow out of it. I’m at a point in life when people my age are going into assisted living, memory units, the nuthouse, loony bin, call it what you like. As for me, I’m fine. I have a very close relationship with my cardiologist. When you’ve gotten a defibrillator installed in your chest by another man, it’s more than a casual friendship. The other day, he called in a medical technician to make an adjustment to the device and a tall child who appeared to be about fifteen walked in with an iPad and started tapping on the Pad. It is a sobering experience to have a teenager tinkering with your heart on an iPad as if I were a video game. One mistake and the defibrillator might defunctionalize me. What made it worse was his black T-shirt. I assumed health care people wear white or pale blue.
A boy with a plaything held my life in his hands. There is no smugness after this. I’m living on the edge. It’s not the end of the world but I can see it from here. Another three hundred serious snowstorms and the Senate might discuss climate matters.