From the Desk of Garrison Keillor|
A prolific writer, Garrison Keillor is a frequent contributor to newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and abroad. To the right, you find a selection of articles published since 1989, and a few unpublished pieces.
Holiday Greetings from Garrison Keillor
December 23, 2003
From us to you, our best wishes for warmth and laughter in your home at the holidays and all the best to you in 2004. I write this from the bedside of my child who likes someone to sit beside her bed as she drifts off to sleep, even someone typing on a laptop. Sleep does not come easily to this little girl. She goes full-tilt from early morn through a full day of kindergarten and a couple hours of therapy (she has a little congenital glitch called apraxia which makes for slower development of speech and motor skills) and is still a live wire at night, through the bath and the reading of stories, and then, at last, the swift descent into sleep. Though sometimes she pops up, wide awake, around 11 or 12. She is a jokey kid who enjoys saying the opposite and pretending to bump into chairs and who loves telling jokes (Knock-knock. Who's there? Boo. Boo who? Stop crying.—to which I reply: Knock-knock. Who's there? Fornication. Fornication who? Fornication like this, you should wear a dress and pearls.) What amazes me about her is how she can spend an hour or two in her room carrying on elaborate scenes with her dolls and animals. She is a sweet and steadfast girl with a great imagination. And I start to think of her as part of the PHC audience. So I guess I'll keep on doing the show for awhile.
The other day I sat in a coffeeshop in St. Paul, tapping away on the laptop, and a young woman came over and told me that she used to listen to tapes of the News from Lake Wobegon when she was a little kid. That was how she went to sleep at night, with my voice murmuring in her ear. "It's strange to run into you now," she said. I imagine it was. Maybe it's not a good idea for people to meet someone they know so well from the radio. Last Sunday I got into a cab on West 90th Street in New York to go to LaGuardia to fly home and there I was on the radio talking about Christmas. The cabbie asked me where to—he sounded Jamaican—and I said, "LaGuardia, please," and he said, "Your voice is familiar." I smiled. Why trouble the man with irrelevant detail? We got to the Triborough Bridge and the monologue ended and Emmanuel Ax played Debussy's Clair de lune and then Renée Fleming sang Lo How a Rose e'er Blooming. To hear it while sailing over the East River and into Queens—how lucky.
A few weeks ago, when PHC was in San Diego, I met Diana Cummings who was born in 1913, the same year her father built the house that my wife and daughter and I live in in St. Paul. She grew up in the house, an only child, in this room that my daughter is sleeping in. She came to the show with her daughter and had a whale of a good time, a very sharp 90-year-old lady who remembers every family who lived on our block in her childhood and remembers hearing people gossip about Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald when they returned to St. Paul for the birth of their daughter in 1921. She told us about her parents and said, simply, "I have only happy memories of that house." She sat there in the dressing room, bright-eyed and looking forward to the next thing, and that's my wish for you and for us in the coming year: good spirits, wit, and a hopeful heart. We'll take the show to Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Louisiana in the next couple months, and we'll work to make the shows worth your time and attention.
Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).