St. Olaf Travelogue
Saturday, November 17, 2001
Listen


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

GK: High on Manitou Heights, rising majestically over the Cannon River Valley and the Malt-O-Meal plant in Northfield, St. Olaf College stands as a beacon to Norwegians and a bastion against the secular humanism and higher tuition of Carleton College across town. Home of the world famous St. Olaf Choir and of three thousand students, many of whom appear to be natural blonds.

6 a.m. and the Oles are up at the crack of dawn to eat a nourishing breakfast before hurrying off to class, eager to learn and also to marry someone a lot like themselves. And when seeking a life partner, it's important to know what they're like early in the morning.

Here in class, attentive students nod as the professor writes a physics problem on the blackboard in Norwegian. Many courses are taught in Norwegian, including physics, geography, and English. As they take notes, students are also glancing around the room, wondering what their classmates will look like in another twenty years and if you'd want to be married to them. And then ---

---the bell rings and suddenly, the hallways are filled with excited students heading off toward the cafeteria for a delicious meal of some kind of meat product. Sitting at their own table, this group of hard-core Pentecostal Lutherans is excited because they can speak in tongues and so are able to send and receive secret messages.

After lunch is quiet time here on campus. A time to ruminate, and let the unconscious do the work of processing those difficult verb declensions you learned this morning. Time also to reconsider your commitment to Kyle. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life with someone who uses the word "like" three times in every sentence?

(Tango Music)
Night falls on St. Olaf and students gather in the student center to learn about the rhythms of our Argentine Neighbors to the South. Here's a couple who enjoy doing the tango. Or are they grinning because they won first prize in the congeniality contest?

(music stops) Time has sped quickly by, and another day comes to a close at this venerable citadel of higher education.

(Magestic Music)
After a light snack of popcorn and cocoa and a few choruses of Kumbaya, it's lights out on campus and everyone gets into their
flannel jammies, to rest up for tomorrow's activities. And so it's time to say, Farvel and god natten to the College on the Hill, St. Olaf College, and look forward to our swift return.

© Garrison Keillor 2001

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