A Prairie Home Companion from American Public Media
And here it is, 2009, about to drop from the sky. Unbelievable in a way, but there it is, 365 days gone since the last time we sang "Auld Lang Syne" and each of us got exactly the same number, nobody got a bonus. Hard times for many people. Friends whose 401k got socked hard by the crash and who don't talk about it but their retirement plans have now changed. Friends whose jobs seem shaky. A good radio show, "Weekend America," is biting the dust, dang it. And of course there is a lot of mortality going around.

We have a new president coming in and I'm delighted about that and also pleased that he's a man of great discipline and decorum and isn't full of himself or vindictive and righteous and he invited that evangelical guy to give the invocation at the inauguration. Bravo, Barack. Enormous progressive changes have been wrought by mannerly people in ordinary clothing. Anyway, I'll be there at the ceremony January 20, sitting in the bleachers (thanks, Senator Klobuchar!), hoping for a good speech, hoping the inaugural poet proves worthy.

Our old radio show plows forward, after a two-week break, with a winter run at the Fitzgerald and tour stops in Louisville, Duluth, Appleton, Nashville, Durham, Watertown, the April run in New York, and the spring route to Washington D.C., Los Angeles, St. Louis, Chicago, and Tanglewood.

My New Year's resolution is: Do it better. The enemy, as always, is passivity, inattention, self-indulgence, cynicism — the list goes on and on — when you get to my age, you know your faults all too well — and the reward is to give you some shining radio moments. Those moments are more intense for the fact that it is a live show and even if you listen to it as a podcast or hear the Sunday rerun, it still is live, sort of. It's produced by an extraordinary team of individuals — backstage, there is the wizardly Tom Scheuzger, the orderly Ella Schovanec mistress of scriptage, our writer Laura Buchholz who does Mom and Duane and Jim and Barb and Rhubarb and many other things, our music producer Kathryn Slusher who can find anything in three minutes or less, our stage manager Albert Webster who makes sure that nothing bad happens in the theater at any time, our house sound guy Tony Axtell who is a musician and knows how things should sound, our tour wrangler Caroline Hontz and our truckdriver Russ Ringsak, our various ranchhands Janis Kaiser and Ken Evans and Tom Campbell and Jim and Alan and Hey You, and our technical director/producer Sam Hudson who makes the broadcast happen and has a say about everything that goes into it. And then there are the people onstage, but you know them already. And the mysterious people back in the office in St. Paul. And the even more mysterious people at American Public Media. And the people at the stations who put the show on the air.

And so onward we go and you too, God willing. Courage. May we all find some beauty and humor and kindness in the new year, and maybe even some inspiration. We will try to do our best and hope to be forgiven for the rest. Take care.

From the Desk of Garrison Keillor

Garrison Keillor
Photo by Cheryl Walsh Bellville

Past Articles
  • Phil Keillor Benefit for the Tenney Park Shelter (04/17/09)
  • Bill Holm, 1943–2009 (02/26/09)
  • Happy New Year, Friends (12/29/08)
  • Talk of the Stacks (11/17/08)
  • What Makes St. Paul So Great? (09/03/08)
  • GK On Historic Preservation (10/05/07)
  • Welcome to St. Paul (09/23/06)
  • "Homegrown Democrat," Chapters 1-4 (08/10/04)
  • Sing the National Anthem—and Try it in the Key of G (07/02/04)
  • Holiday Greetings from Garrison Keillor (12/23/03)
  • Remembering Plimpton (10/01/03)
  • Crankiness in Decline, Says the Old Guy (04/19/02)
  • A Governor Works in Mysterious Ways (10/19/01)
  • In Praise of Laziness (09/10/01)
  • I Just Needed a Valve Job (09/13/01)
  • A Eulogy for Chet Atkins (07/03/01)
  • A Foot Soldier in God's Floating Orchestra (04/01)
  • Exile on Main Street (10/02/00)
  • Walking Down the Canyon (07/31/00)
  • The Mysteries of Prom Night (05/15/00)
  • How I Write (12/04/99)
  • The Christmas of the Great Flu (12/99)
  • Let Jesse Be Jesse (10/10/99)
  • The Rice, the Bat, the Baby (09/06/99)
  • Faith at the Speed of Life (06/14/99)
  • The Republicans Were Right, But (02/15/99)
  • Minnesota's Excellent Ventura (11/16/98)
  • The Dangers of Christmas (04/06/98)
  • Gasgate (11/10/97)
  • Talk Radio (10/97)
  • The Seven Principles of a Successful Christmas (09/08/97)
  • The Seven Deadly Sins—Envy (04/97)
  • You Say Potato (04/04/96)
  • The Poetry Judge (02/96)
  • With All the Trimmings (11/27/95)
  • In Autumn We Get Older (11/06/95)
  • Minnesota's Sensible Plan (09/11/95)
  • The Art of the Embrace (02/95)
  • The Voters are Angry (08/94)
  • Word Play (05/18/90)
  • We Are Still Married (12/18/89)
  • Elevator Tales
  • A Graduation Speech

  • Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

    Old Sweet Songs

    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).

    Available now»

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