The Town Hall
New York, NY«archive page
Mom and Duane
(PHONE RINGS THREE TIMES, PICK UP)
SS (MIDWESTERN): Duane? It’s me. Your mother. Remember?
SS (MIDWESTERN): Now don’t get all alarmed. I didn’t call you about Mother’s Day tomorrow. I’m not expecting you, I know you won’t come, and I am all right with that. I’ve worked through it. I only called to find out how you are. How are you?
GK: I’m fine. Mom. Thank you for asking. How are you?
SS (MIDWESTERN): I didn’t call to talk about that. I called to ask about you. Have you found anyone yet?
GK: How do you mean?
SS (MIDWESTERN): You know how I mean.
GK: If you mean, do I have a girlfriend I’m seeing someone, yes.
SS (MIDWESTERN): You’re seeing someone?
SS: A girl?
GK: Yes, a girl.
SS: A girlfriend.
GK: You could say that, yes.
SS: Then I think I will. Now I’ve been thinking about that book you wrote you know the book you’ve sent to 143 publishers and they all turned it down?
GK: 134, Mom.
SS: What was the title of that?
GK: Felicitous Compulsions. A novel.
SS: Felicitous Compulsions. Right. Listen, Duane if nobody will publish it, why not publish it yourself? Just get that book out there. And if you can’t afford to do it, your dad and I would be thrilled to help out.
GK: I can’t ask you to do that.
SS (MIDWESTERN): We want to do it.
GK: Well, I don’t want you to.
SS (MIDWESTERN): I have the copy that you sent me.
GK: Mother, please
SS (MIDWESTERN): I could print up a couple thousand copies and your dad and I could go door to door and sell them.
SS (MIDWESTERN): I’ll just correct the misspellings and some of the grammatical mistakes in it and get it out there for people to read.
SS (MIDWESTERN, ): You keep getting there t-h-e-r-e and their t-h-e-i-r mixed up. T-h-e-i-r is a possessive pronoun. T-h-e-r-e is a place. Sometimes an adverb, sometimes a noun. And then there’s t-h-e-y-apostrophe-r-e which you sometimes get mixed up with t-h-e-i-r.
GK: This was in my manuscript?!!??
SS (MIDWESTERN): I don’t think it’s why those 143 publishers turned it down, but yes
GK: Well, let’s just forget about it.
SS (MIDWESTERN): I think there were plenty of other reasons to turn it down, other than spelling and grammar.
GK: Let’s just forget about it, okay?
SS: And you just forget about Mothers’ Day this year. We’re not going to that restaurant ever again. Not after what happened last year.
GK: You mean the food poisoning?
SS (MIDWESTERN, ): Seventeen hours hunched over the toilet, Duane. Seventeen hours, and so much pain and agony. It reminded me of your birth.
GK: Here we go.
SS (MIDWESTERN): At least when you’re done giving birth you have something to show for it. Or you think you do.
GK: So no brunch this year?
SS (MIDWESTERN, ): We’re having it at our place. We’re going all out. A five-course catered meal with linen tablecloths and candles and waiters in tuxedoes serving mimosas and goat cheese omelets. And a harpist.
GK: At your house?
SS (MIDWESTERN): Yes.
GK: Well, how many people are coming?
SS (MIDWESTERN): I have no idea. Whoever wants to.
GK: How many did you invite?
SS (MIDWESTERN): I didn’t invite anybody. I’m tired of having to hear excuses for not coming. So it’s just me and your dad and an empty place at the table for whoever wants to show up.
GK: Do you have placecards?
SS (MIDWESTERN): I intend to enjoy Mother’s Day for all it is worth. I have to make my own bliss now. The clock is ticking down and I don’t have many Mother’s Days left and if I don’t start enjoying it now, then when will I?
GK: Do you even want me to come?
SS (MIDWESTERN, ): I don’t know how to answer that, Duane.
GK: How about yes or a no
SS (MIDWESTERN, ): There is just so much pain such a history of rejection I frankly don’t care if you come or not.
GK: I’m going to come.
SS (MIDWESTERN): I don’t think you should.
GK: Then why bring it up?
SS (MIDWESTERN, ): I don’t want you to come because you feel you ought to.
GK: Mom. Yes or no.
SS (MIDWESTERN, ): After 57 years, Duane, I am starting to learn to enjoy life without you. So it makes no difference to me.
GK: If you want me to come, I’ll come.
SS (MIDWESTERN, ): If you’re going to sit there sighing and rolling your eyes and picking at your omelet, then you can just stay home and write another novel.
GK: Mom, yes or no.
SS (MIDWESTERN): I think I’ll just invite a homeless person to come.
GK: I’ll be there, Mom.
SS (MIDWESTERN): Somebody who spent the night in a cardboard box, I’ll bet they’d enjoy a gourmet meal with a couple of nice older people.
GK: I’m coming, Mom. It’s all decided.
SS (MIDWESTERN): Maybe we’ll see you on Memorial Day.
GK: Mom, come on.
SS (MIDWESTERN): Dad and I bought a gravestone. Did we tell you that?
GK: Mom, I’m coming.
SS (MIDWESTERN): Don’t bother.
GK: I’ll get dressed up. I’ll be there.
SS (MIDWESTERN): Is that t-h-e-r-e or is that t-h-e-i-r the possessive.
GK: Both, Mom.
SS (MIDWESTERN): Whatever. Brunch is at l1.
GK: Okay, see you tomorrow. Looking forward to it.
SS (MIDWESTERN): Bye Duane, love you!
GK: Love you, Mom. Bye now.
SS: Bye now.
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).