October 31, 2009
Bismarck Civic Center

Bismarck, ND

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Ghosts

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SS (OLDER WOMAN, THROATY VOICE): Young man—

GK: You talking to me?

SS (OLD WOMAN): Down here. Below the stage.

GK: Where?

SS (OLD WOMAN): Right here. Looking up at you. (FOOTSTEPS)

GK: Oh. (FOOTSTEPS STOP) I didn't see you— you're so small.

SS (OLD WOMAN): I've been dead for awhile. Died in 1928.

GK: I see.

SS (OLD WOMAN): I was driving a fast car with a trunk full of bootleg gin from Canada and the sheriff chased me and I missed a curve and crashed into a tree.

GK: Sorry.

SS (OLD WOMAN): So was I. There aren't that many curves in North Dakota and not that many trees. It was extremely bad luck.

GK: I see.

SS (OLD WOMAN): Would you care for a glass of gin?

GK: No, thanks.

SS (OLD WOMAN): It's Halloween! It's party time for us ghosts! It's the night when the population of North Dakota grows — all the ones who moved away to California or Minnesota or Florida, they all come back. For one night, the population grows from 700,000 to seven million — ghosts everywhere —

TR (GHOST): I left in 1950 and went to Pasadena. Went for the climate, don't you know, and I died of boredom. I was driving down the road and fell asleep for lack of a challenge. I miss my old home. I hope we get snow.

FN (GHOST): I left here with my Army unit. Spring of 1976. Left Fort Mandan and headed for Montana to put down the Indian uprising. I loved North Dakota. I loved it even more when my 7th Cavalry was surrounded by thousands of Sioux warriors and one of them had my hair in one hand and a knife in the other. I come back every year. For a haircut. 

GK: A lot of ghosts here. And also a witch.

MJ: I prefer to use the term “soprano”.

GK: What's the difference between a witch and a soprano?

MJ:  Jewelry.

GK: Oh. And how did you die?

MJ:  Food poisoning.

GK:  I'm sorry to hear it.

MJ:   I was born and raised Lutheran and I went to the wrong church supper.

GK: Oh dear.

MJ:   (SINGS)

An Episcopalian church supper,
The lady said, Would you like a cup or
Bowl of bouillabaisse, please?
I said, I prefer macaroni and cheese.
A simple casserole is what I wish.
She said, That is a Lutheran dish.
We are Episcopalians by God's grace
And we serve bouillabaisse.
Scallops, lobster, calamari—
I heard a voice say, “You'll be sorry.
A person should be very wary
Of seafood on the northern prairie.”
But I'm polite and I said yes,
I'll have a bowl of it, I guess.
Ten minutes later I went limp—
It was from eating shrimp.
Or maybe from a prawn—
I headed for the women's john
And fell flat on my face—
From Episcopalian bouillabaisse.

They had called for a hearse
When up stepped a man who was a nurse
And said,,No! Don't move her
Let me try the Heimlich maneuver!

MJ (CONTINUED):

 But a man from the Midwest
 Does not squeeze a woman's chest.
 And he was about to grasp my rib cage and press
But could not due to Lutheranness.
And so it was my fate to die
Because Bismarck men are just too shy.
I went to my eternal rest
Because he would not — he could not— touch me there.

SS: And now you, young man— you shall join us--

GK: Me???

SS:  You.

GK: But I'm alive.

SS:   Don't count on it.

FN:   You made a big mistake when you decided to come to Bismarck on Halloween. (GHOST CRY)

GK: Why? What are you doing?

TR (WELK):  Remember me? Lawrence Welk? I'm from here. And you've made fun of North Dakota in the past.

GK: Never! Me? No no no—

SS:  You have—
FN: You told North Dakota jokes.

TR (WELK):  We have the tapes.

GK:  What tapes???

SS:   Play the tape,

(TAPE FAST FORWARD AND STOP)

TR (AS GK): SO — how is a divorce in North Dakota the same as being hit by a tornado?—Either way, you lose the trailer.   So — what is a seven-course meal in North Dakota?
       —A hamburger and a six-pack.

GK: That's not me!

TR (AS GK): So— the train for Chicago leaves at 1:15, the train for Minneapolis leaves at 1:30, and the train for Fargo leaves when the big hand is on the 9 and the little hand is on the 1.

GK: Not me! No! (REVERB) (REVERB)

(MUSIC)

GK (SINGS):

Ten years ago on a cold dark night,
I stood on a stage underneath the lights.
There were few at the show, but they all agreed,
I made North Dakota the butt of comedy.

A bunch of jokes came out of my mouth,
And I said North Dakota though I meant to say South.
I had a killer show that was nationwide
On a stage in Bismarck I stood and died.

~ Now I walk these hills, in big red shoes
When the cold winds blow with the Halloween blues
No body knows, no body sees.
I was in comedy.

I did my routine for an hour and a half
The crowd was still, they did not laugh.
The angel of death came much too soon
And that's how a star became a small dead moon.

Chorus ~ Now I walk these hills, in big red shoes
When the cold winds blow with the Halloween blues
No body knows, no body sees.
I was in comedy.

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).

Available now»

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