April 17, 2010
New Jersey Performing Arts Center

Newark, NJ

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Hoboken

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(PIANO) I’m from Jersey, yes, from Jersey
Dear Hoboken, home for me
Went to Philly for seminary
Went into the ministry
Met a woman from the prairie
Had to leave the Jersey shore
And I moved to Minneapolis
For the woman I adore
Then my life became frenetic
I was a prisoner of the phone
A Lutheran pastor in the Midwest
Has no time to call his own.
A hundred emails in my inbox
Doing ten things at one time
Counselling and running meetings
Getting farther and farther behind
Weddings, funerals and baptisms
Confirmation on Wednesdays
Sunday morning Bible Study
Answer questions about gays
Preach two services on Sunday
Remember names as folks pass by
Hello Karen Carl Anna
Elmer Lucy Gustaf hi
How I prayed that God would help me
Grant me peace, Lord, show me mercy
And he has now that he’s sent me
Back to Hoboken, New Jersey
(LANGUID, WITH ORGAN)
Cause a Lutheran pastor in Hoboken
Knows that when all is said and done
Catholics in Hoboken
Outnumber us a hundred to one
So it’s quiet for a Lutheran in Hoboken
Now and then someone comes in
To confess a minor sin
Such as forgetting to mow the lawn
Or going away and leaving a teakettle on
And don’t I think it is ostentatious
To put peas in tuna casserole
And not just sometimes but on a regular basis—
I sit and listen to each kind soul
Talk about things they find upsetting
Now and then there’s a wedding
I have a coffee break at ten
Lunch at noon
And then take off my shoes,
Close my eyes
And snooze.
We close in June and July.
And in August
I go to my summer house in Secaucus.
I am surrounded by Catholic cities
So no one puts me on committees,
Or asks me to give invocations
At solemn occasions.
It’s like being Unitarian in Dallas,
Or being a Baptist in Seattle:
A quiet life, free of malice
High above the sectarian battle:
Peaceful, because we in the minority
Have absolutely no authority.
A Lutheran in Hoboken: there’s no fuss,
Because there’s 300,000 of them
And only three thousand of us.
Thanks be to God for keeping us small.
No one notices us at all.
God save us from revival.
We prefer to be archival.
Our church, a secret den
For just us Lutherans. Amen.

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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