Silver Lining
Saturday, January 9, 1999
Listen

(GK: Garrison Keillor, SS: Sue Scott, TK: Tom Keith, TR: Tim Russell)

(MUSIC)

 

GK: It's January in Minnesota, cold, windy, snowy, the time of year when true Minnesotans feel more alert, more alive, and somehow filled with a sense of the beautiful possibilities of the moment, a time when we:

Look for the silver lining
Whene'er a cloud appears in the blue
Remember somewhere the sun is shining
And so the best thing to do is make it shine for you -

 

GK: And winter does shine in Minnesota, even in the darkest night, the snowbanks glow - the light from stars a million years away reflected from trillions of crystals, each one unique - so that as you walk on a starry night (DOG BARKS) - through the fields of snow and (DOG BARKS, GROWLS)- what is it, Rex?

 

TK (DOG, COLLAR JINGLE): Easy for you to get all rapturous about winter. You don't have to go outdoors to pee like I do. Got to go out in the yard, find my spot. (SHIVERS) Ohhhh that's cold when you lift your leg. Brrrr. I'd a lot rather squat but you never know who might be looking. And you scout around for a spot and you smell where other dogs have been and it's like reading their resume and their medical file - whole life story, right there in a patch of yellow snow - it's darn depressing, let me tell you.

GK: It's a wonderful life, a dog's life, Rex.

TK (DOG): Sure, right. Tell me about it.

GK:

Rex, you've got to look for the silver lining Whene'er a cloud appears in the blue Remember somewhere the sun is shining -

 

GK: It's the best time of the year, and oftentimes it brings out the best in people. (VIOLIN UNDER...)

SS (COCKNEY, FREEZING COLD): Scuse me, guv'nor - you got a shilling to spare?

TK (COCKNEY, SHIVERING): Why, course I do, miss. Here you go, miss. Go' bless y'.

SS (COCKNEY): Why, you give me a whole five pounds there, guv'nor -

TK (COCKNEY): Take it, miss. And here - here's my coat too. Go ahead. Take it.

SS (COCKNEY): (WEEPING) Go' bless you, sir. Go' bless you.

TK (COCKNEY): Wha' you doin out on the street on a cold night like this, miss? You oughta be at home, sitting before a nice crackling warm fire, you should.

SS (COCKNEY): I was at home but me mother she took sick and I come to London to look for me lost brother, Jamie -

TK (COCKNEY): Elizabeth???

SS (COCKNEY): Oh - it can't be - Jamie?

TK (COCKNEY): My darling little sister.

GK: That sort of thing happens all the time in the winter. In cold places. In warm places you don't get those close family ties that you get up north. In warm places people are almost always weird to their loved ones.

TR (SOUTHERN): You listen to yore Daddy, Ginny Mae. I want you to stay away from Bubba, I seen what you two been up to. (PIGS)

SS (SOUTHERN): You ain't mah Daddy, Big Daddy. Mama tole me. Bout her and Uncle Josh.

TR (SOUTHERN): Don't you say that, Ginny Mae. Don't you be talking trash like that.

SS (SOUTHERN): So Bubba ain' my brother, Big Daddy. He's my cousin, and here in Yoknapatawpha County, there ain't no problem with that.

GK: These people are not from this zip code. These people have not been through winter, otherwise they wouldn't be like that. Winter is what makes people behave right. I learned that as a child growing up in a sod hut out on the prairie. My father was a woodcutter, so we didn't have much money, but he taught me to act right and have high standards anyway.

TR: SWEDISH GIBBERISH

GK: Papa came over on the boat from Goteborg and he thought he was coming to Sarasota, the land of palm trees, but even so, he accepted his fate cheerfully and bravely.

TR: SWEDISH GIBBERISH

GK: Papa believed that cheerfulness in the face of adversity was the mark of a true American.

TR: SWEDISH GIBBERISH ENDING IN "FRED ASTAIRE"

GK: All Papa knew about America, he learned from watching Fred Astaire movies. To him, Americans were people who danced at the drop of a hat.

I'm puttin on my long johns
Puttin on my Gore-tex
And my woollen socks.
I'm getting out my parka
Starting up the Chevy
Shovelling the walks.
I'm steppin out, my dear, to breath an atmosphere that's
seventeen below.
It's like jazz that easy feeling as across the ice I go.
For I'll be there...
Skating in my top hat,
Skiing in my white tie,
Dancing in my tails.

 

(TAP DANCE)

SS: Honey, would you mind if we didn't go out to a movie tonight - it's so cold out -

GK: That's fine.

SS: Are you sure?

GK: It's fine.

SS: If you really want to go, I mean, I'll put on a down coat and go -

GK: It's fine to stay home.

SS: I know you're crazy about English costume dramas, so - maybe I oughta go. You'll be so disappointed.

GK: Me? English costume dramas?

SS: You love them. All the Jane Austen-type movies with tall women in long dresses named Cecilie - you're always after me to go.

GK: I thought you liked them.

SS: Me! Ha! I love film noir. Slasher movies.

GK: I thought you loved Merchant-Ivory films.

SS: I hate Merchant-Ivory films.

GK: I thought you loved them.

SS: I went to films for your sake. I despise films. It's movies I love.

GK: Why didn't you say so before?

SS: Because it wasn't this cold before.

GK: It wasn't, was it.

SS: It's too cold for dishonesty, darling. Look at me.

GK: I'm looking at you.

SS: I despise films and I also despise northern Italian cuisine.

GK: Jeannette!

SS: I hate fresh ground pepper. I despise cilantro. Artichokes. I hate it. And I hate wine. It gives me gas.

GK: But -

SS: It's fifteen below zero. It's truth time. I want a pizza and a six pack of beer. And I want to stay home and take you to bed and rip your clothes off and afterward watch Psycho.

GK: Okay. I think that can be arranged.

SS: I'll set up the VCR and call the pizza place.

GK: I've got a six pack in the basement.

SS: Hurry.

GK: I'm on my way. (FOOTSTEPS) (SS OFF: Hurry, honey.) (CLOSE DOOR) Man, it's dark down here. (CLICKS LIGHT SWITCH) Darn. The bulb's burnt out. (STEPS ON STAIRS, CREAKING, THEN CONCRETE, SLOWLY. ECHO.)...Slasher movies. How can you be married to somebody for years and not know a thing like that? (CLICKS LIGHT SWITCH) darn...that bulb's burnt out too. (PAUSE) Seems to be a light on back there. (STEPS) Back in the workshop...

TK: Hi, it's me.

GK: Larry?

TK: Yeah. Happy New Year.

GK: What are you doing down here, Larry?

TK: Same thing I always did down here. Sit and brood and listen to you upstairs.

GK: I thought you were in a program. You got in that support group. You found a job. An apartment.

TK: I didn't like it. It was a lousy job. The apartment was too bright.

GK: Too bright -

TK: I didn't like it.

GK: I thought you liked it.

TK: I didn't.

GK: You told me you liked it.

TK: I was wrong.

GK: What happened?

TK: It got colder.

GK: Larry, you can't live in the basement. Larry, where's the beer?

TK: There isn't any. - This is my home, in the basement.

GK: What do you mean, there isn't any?

TK: I belong down here.

GK: Larry, there's beer down here somewhere.

TK: People have written in to the show, they asked, "How come Larry isn't on anymore?" They missed me.

GK: They did not. Give me the beer, Larry.

TK: They missed me. I wrote back to them, I told them, "He won't have me on because he's afraid I'll tell the truth."

GK: The truth about what?

TK: I see things through the cracks. I hear stuff through the cold air vents. And when you're asleep, I come upstairs and read your mail.

GK: Hand over the beer, Larry. (GK EFFORT, TK CHOKING) Where's the beer? I'm tired of you. I left a six-pack down here. Give it to me. Point to where it is. It's where? under the stairs? Okay. (TK RECOVERING) That's better. (OFF) Aha. Three whole bottles. That oughta be enough. (BACK TO MIC) You okay? you all right? You care for a beer?

TK: People say I'm weird. You're the weird one.

GK: I gotta run, Larry.

TK: When you're asleep I come upstairs and use your computer to go online.

GK: That's fine, Larry.

TK: I like it online.

GK: That's fine.

TK: There are groups on the Internet for basement people like me. There are thousands of us. We exchange information. We all think you're strange.

GK: I've got to head up now, fella.

TK: We're getting ready. Our day will come.

GK: Larry - you take it easy, okay?

TK: Okay.

GK: Good. And remember, Larry -

A heart filled with joy and gladness
Can always banish sadness and strife,
So always look for the silver lining
And try to find the sunny side of life.

 

(BAND CHORD BUTTON)

(c) 1999 by Garrison Keillor

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

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