A Message from the Minnesota Safety Council
Saturday, October 7, 2000
Listen

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

GK: We're celebrating the first cold spell today in St. Paul, and looking forward to winter which should be with us in a few weeks. Winter is the season that makes us the great people we are. Winter is a very important developmental tool. It gives children a sense of realistic expectations.

 

TR: It's October, honey, and one of these days the sun is going to go down and it won't come up again until April. We're going to be indoors mostly, eating a lot of animal fats, and using the furniture for fuel, and not doing laundry or cleaning except to pick the lice off each other, and probably in a few months one of us will go stark raving berserk. Okay? And probably we're going to have to kill Rex and eat him.

 

SS (CHILD): Okay, Daddy.

 

GK: Winter teaches us that we don't always have control over what happens to us, that we may need to deal with frustrations and challenges. (CAR STARTER)

 

TR: I'm sorry, honey. We can't go to a movie. The car won't start. Guess we'll have to stay home and do shadow puppets or something.

 

SS (CHILD): Oh. Shoot.

 

GK: Winter also teaches that actions have consequences. (TR SLIPPING ON ICE, FALLING, MOANING)

 

TR (IN PAIN): Daddy fell on the ice, honey. Daddy broke his leg. See where the bone is poking out of Daddy's pantleg. You see that?

 

SS (CHILD): Yucchhhh.

 

GK: And it gives children a sense of empowerment.

 

TR (IN PAIN): Daddy needs you to go in the house and call 911. If you don't, Daddy will freeze to death. Okay?

 

SS: Okay.

 

TR: Do you know what a 9 looks like?

 

SS: Is that the one that looks like a penis and scrotum?

 

TR: Yes.

 

SS: Oh. Okay.

 

GK: Winter helps a child learn to prioritize.

 

SS: Before I call 911, is it okay if I go over to Jessica's and play for an hour?

 

TR: No, honey. If you do, Daddy will freeze to death. And you'll have to be in therapy for years trying to deal with the guilt.

 

SS: Oh. Okay. Then I should call 911 first?

 

TR: Yes.

 

GK: And winter helps to teach children to negotiate.

 

SS (CHILD): What will you give me to call 911?

 

TR (IN PAIN): How about candy?

 

SS (CHILD): I'd prefer money.

 

TR (IN PAIN): How much?

 

SS (CHILD): I'll go get your checkbook, Daddy.

 

GK: Winter helps teach a child the meaning of inappropriate or dangerous behavior.

 

SS: How about I light fire to your clothes? That'd make you warm, Daddy.

 

TR: That'd be dangerous.

 

SS: Okay. How about I go get a gun and put you out of your misery?

 

TR: That would be inappropriate!

 

SS: You're right. It would be.

 

TR: Honey, just call 911

 

SS: (SHAKING DOOR) O.K. Oh oh. The door's frozen shut. Guess I can't.

 

GK: Finally, winter teaches us to deal with loss.

 

SS (CHILD): I miss Daddy a lot. He was a nice Daddy and he was a lot of fun sometimes when he wasn't so angry. He was a pretty smart Daddy. Mostly. Though it was dumb to slip on the ice and break his leg and freeze to death. Oh well. Soon it'll be spring and as soon as we can get the car started, Mom and I are moving to California and soon I'll have a new Daddy.

 

TR (KEANU): Hey, that's me.

 

SS: Wow. You're skinnier than my Daddy and you've got really cool hair. And you're tan. And you're really really rich. And you live in this really cool house. (SURF, GULLS)

 

TR: Well, you're a terrific kid, Julie. You're so mature. You've got great coping skills and you communicate well and you have a great sense of boundaries and of realistic expectations.

 

SS: Thanks to winter!

 

TR: You and me and your Mom are going to be very very happy together for the rest of our lives.

 

SS: Sure. Right. (MUSIC OFF)

 

GK: A message from the Minnesota Safety Council.

 

 

 

(c) 2000 by Garrison Keillor

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

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