Mother's Day
Saturday, May 11, 2002
Listen


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

GK: … Tomorrow is Mother's Day when we stop to think about all the things that Mom has done for us over the years. Going back to the day you were born ---- how's she doing in there? (DOOR OPEN. SS: SCREAM. DOOR CLOSE) Good. Right on track. Here's what your dad was doing that night (TV AUDIO, TR SNORING) while Mom was fighting for your life. He was sleeping in the lounge. When you arrived, Mom was happy of course, and relieved, even though you were not an attractive baby ---- visitors had to be very diplomatic (SS OLDER: It's --- very alert. And such an interesting face.) You were a nervous baby and you threw up a lot (TK GAGGING) and then when she changed your diaper (SS NAUSEA: Oh my gosh. It's green. DIZZINESS) and sometimes just as she checked your diaper (TK GAGGING) something was coming out the upper end. It wasn't a pretty thing. And then there was the biting. Your mom doesn't mention it, but if you look down around her ankles, you'll see broken veins and red marks, that's from biting. (SS SCREECH) Like that. (BRIDGE) Where does motherhood start, it starts one spring or summer night when a man and a woman sit on the front steps and look up at the stars. (CRICKETS, NIGHT AMBIENCE) And he lies to her.

TR: I love sitting out here on a summer night and just---- looking up at the stars. And thinking.

GK: The truth is that he has no interest in stars, doesn't know one from another, but here he is, holding her hand, and what else can he say, he can't say what he's thinking-----

TR: Take off your clothes. Let me take off your clothes. Just take em off. All of em. And I'll take off my clothes. Let's take off our clothes. On three. One, two-----

GK: He can't say that. So he pretends to be thoughtful----

TR: You look up there and ---- it just sort of makes you wonder ---- you know? ----- I mean, what is it all about? What are we here for?

GK: And she knows this is horse hockey but he seems nice-----

SS: You're so thoughtful. You're so different from other guys I've known.

GK: This phrase, "You're so different from other guys," is an aphrodisiac to guys. To all guys.

TR: (GRUNTING, PANTING) Let's go upstairs, what do you say, let's go upstairs-----

GK: But he can't say that, so he says-----

TR (VERY QUIET, THOUGHTFUL): I don't know. I just have this sense that--- a person has to live in the moment because none of us knows how long we'll be here. You know? I have all these ----- premonitions, or whatever. I mean, today could be the last day of my life. You never know. I could say goodnight and never see you again. I just think ---- I donno ---- that people should reach out and grab all the joy they can ---- while they can. Some people are into postponement. I'm not. I just feel like ---- life is a feast. You know what I mean? It's a feast. And a person isn't supposed to go hungry.

GK: This is an old line for guys, and dumb as it is, women are strangely moved by it. They really are. They think….

SS: I would hate to find out tomorrow that this guy died last night and I'd feel so incredibly guilty that I hadn't done anything to make him happy.

GK: So they sit and hold hands and he leans over and kisses her in an amateurish way. (SS UNEASY LAUGHTER) Your father, by the way, is not the only guy around. Your mom is a very attractive woman and there's another guy on the scene. (TR FRENCH) Him.

SS: What happened to Henri? I thought he was going to come to the movie with us.

TR: He couldn't come. He was busy.

GK: Busy trying to find that wrong address your dad gave him, that's why Henri can't come.

SS: Well, that's too bad. I was hoping he'd come.

TR: Yeah. So was I.

SS: He's so --- cool. He dresses so cool.

TR: Yeah. Gay guys so often do.

GK: They sat and thought their thoughts for awhile and then the impulse toward motherhood comes. (LONG PAUSE)

SS: You want to come up for a minute?

GK: And that's it. That's where you originated. In that sentence. Your dad was always ready for fatherhood (TR HOWL), he was out there, spreading his tailfeathers, strutting and puffing, and when the bugle sounded-----

SS: You want to come up for a minute? (BUGLE: "CHARGE!")

GK: Your father answered the call. ----

TR: Well, just for a minute. (MUSIC)

GK: A minute was all it took to get you started. She put on some music---- (PAT GUITAR A LA CHUCK BERRY) and she stood by the window in the dim light -----

SS (SOFTLY): The moon is almost full tonight.

GK: And there was a couch-----

TR: Want to sit down here?

SS: Sure. Can I get you something to drink? A beer?

TR: Well, if you're going to have one-----

SS: I'll split one with you.

TR: Great. (MUSIC)

GK: And it all came from that odd moment way back when. Cars went by in the night (PASSING TRAFFIC), trucks went by (PASSING), a train passed in the night (DISTANT WHISTLE), and somewhere nearby somebody was talking on the radio. (TR RADIO VOICE: White House physicians continue to be concerned about President Johnson's gall bladder…..) And there in the dark, in an unguarded moment, you were conceived. You know about the biology ---- the egg sitting there waiting (SS BETTY BOOP HUMMING, FILING HER NAILS) and millions of sperm racing to get there (TK & TK SWIMMING, STRAINING, PANTING) and one sperm got there first because he was the only one to stop and ask for directions. (TK GARAGE MECHANIC: Take a right at the urethra, and a left at the cervix. TR SPERM: Got it!) and he poked his head in (SS: WELL IT TOOK YOU LONG ENOUGH!) and they lay there for awhile and your dad was happy (TR: A SLOW SINATRA-LIKE SHOOBIDOBIDOO SCAT) and your mother was thinking-----

SS: My God, what have I done? What is my mother going to think?

GK: And of course your grandmother was thrilled.

SS (OLDER): For this, she went to four years of junior college?

GK: And your father did the right thing----

TR: I told the other guys in the band that I can't do the South Dakota tour. I'm gonna sell the guitar and take a job at the lumberyard. (MUSIC)

GK: And nine months and ten minutes later, there you were.

SS: What a beautiful child.

GK: And you looked up at her, at your goddess, your food source, your protector, your teacher, your valet, your confidante, your publicist, and you didn't have words for it, but you thought ----- (TR: AWWFFFFRRRRRRRR) ---- your first word for her, which became (TR: BFLLLLLLLLLLOOORRRRRR) and then (TR: mama) ----- yes, by the time you were old enough to crawl, you knew how to say (TR: Mama), and it's a word that's served you well ever since. (TR: MOMMMMMM!!!!!) (RUNNING FOOTSTEPS. DOOR OPEN. SS: Yes, honey?). (BUILD OF BIG "MY MOTHER'S EYES" TOWARD THE END, WITH VIOLIN, BAND COMING IN) Someday when the district attorney finds out about you and you're sent away to an adult correctional program and everybody in your life turns away from you in disgust at the vile things you've done, one person won't. (SS: Hi honey. I brought you something. TR: A banana cream pie!!! Oh Mom. SS: I love you. So much.) And she really does. The rest of us don't but she does. And that's why there is no Friends & Acquaintances Day. There is no Fellow Employees Day, no Shirttail Relative Day. Just Mother's Day. Happy Mother's Day, mama. (MUSIC OUT)

© Garrison Keillor 2002

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).

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