Minneapolis Beach
Saturday, June 22, 2002

(GK: Garrison Keillor; SS: Sue Scott; TR: Tim Russell; FN: Fred Newman; MT: Mark Thompson)


GK: It's midsummer day weekend, the longest day of the year, a good thing, light being the source of all life and so forth, but it's also a time when you yourself are more visible and more of you is visible, so when I was your age, young and sensitive, I spent a good deal of summer in my room.


GK: I was sitting in the front seat of a car with my dream woman Wanda Johnson at a beach in Minneapolis. She was wearing a two-piece bathing suit. We were waiting for somebody named James Sweezix.

SS: I wish he would get here. I don't want to sit around in a parking lot half the night.

GK: I would have been thrilled to sit in the parking lot all night. I thought about putting my arm across the back of the seat but I wasn't sure how she felt.

SS: You sure are quiet tonight. Cat get your tongue or what?

GK: Just thinking. Hard to believe our high school years are over.

SS: Yeah. Well, we'll always have the memories.

GK: Well, I know I will. I hope we keep in touch. I mean, you and me. If you want to.

SS: I wonder if he could be waiting at my house.


SS: Where are you going to college?

GK: The U, I guess.

SS: My dad wanted me to go to St. Olaf so ---- that's where I'm going.

GK: Well, that's not far. I could come down and see you. Sometime. If you want to. Just to talk and----

SS: What are you going to major in?

GK: I donno. That's a nice swimsuit you have. It looks nice on you.

SS: It's called a playsuit, actually. It's recreational wear.

GK: It looks good.

SS: It's kind of small.

GK: Small looks good on you.


SS: Are you going to Patty's party?

GK: Patty Peterson?

SS: Yes.

GK: Tonight?

SS: Maybe I shouldn't have said anything.

GK: So that's where everyone went?

SS: I guess----

GK: So you and James----You were planning to ----

SS: Yeah. Sorry.

GK: Oh, that's all right.

SS: I'm sure she wouldn't mind if you came.

GK: No. I should be---- I've got a lot of things to do-----And then James came.

TR: Hey.

GK: A man of few words, James.

TR: Hey.

GK: And he squeezed in next to her and she scootched over and he put his arm around her shoulder and she snuggled right up to him.

SS: He's going to drop us at Patty's party.

TR: Cool.

SS: I'm so excited. Everyone's going to be there.

TR: Cool.

GK: So that's what I think of on a hot summer day. Looking out the windshield at the beach and people lying on blankets together, all the young people except me.


GK: She went to St. Olaf and I never saw her until our 40th high school reunion and looking at her made me feel weird.

SS: Hey, you look good.

GK: So do you.

SS: Forty years. Hard to believe.

GK: It is.

SS: Lemme buy you a drink.

GK: Sure. Later.

SS: Okay. See you in there.

GK: That was two years ago, and the memory of that Wanda in the muu-muu and the jangly bracelets has faded. It's not as strong as the memory of the Wanda in the two-piece, her bare leg brushing against my bare leg in the front seat of that car-----


GK: I keep going back to that night, the radio playing, her bare leg, the beach, and I imagine James Sweezick saying----

TR: Well, I gotta go. You two have a great time.

GK: Sometimes he says that, sometimes he says-----

TR: Today I started to really feel that I have a vocation to become a monk.

GK: Sometimes she says----

SS: I'll see you around, James ---- Carson and I are going over to my house.

GK: Sometimes he's not even there and she says to me----

SS: Let's go to my house. We can dance on the patio.

GK: In the dark?

SS: Of course.

HGQ REFRAIN: And we'll have fun fun fun til our daddy takes the T-bird away.

SS: We'll dance. On the patio.

HGQ REFRAIN: And we'll have fun fun fun til our daddy takes the T-bird away.

SS: Maybe we could go swimming.

HGQ REFRAIN: And we'll have fun fun fun til our daddy takes the T-bird away.

SS: And afterward, we can lie on a blanket.

HGQ REFRAIN: And we'll have fun fun fun til our daddy takes the T-bird away.

SS: We can stay up late. There's no school tomorrow. Remember?

HGQ REFRAIN: And we'll have fun fun fun til our daddy takes the T-bird away.

© Garrison Keillor 2002

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

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