Lutherans on St. Patrick's Day, March 22, 1997

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Lutherans on St. Patrick's Day

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GK: I don't know about you guys, but to me it's always a relief when St. Patrick's Day is finally over. I suppose I shouldn't say it, but----

SS: Boy, I'm with you there. I was saying the same thing to Bob the other day.

TR: Yeah, that's right.

SS: I think it's true for most Lutherans. St. Patrick's Day is depressing.

GK: It's just not us. All those shamrocks. All those maudlin songs. All that drinking and people walking around waving their arms and yelling and blowing on green horns.

TK (AS IRISHMAN): May you live to be a hundred years with one extra year to repent.

TR (IRISH): May the wind always be at your back but not coming out of you yourself personally.

SS: The Irish have got the gift of the gab, you know, and they've got those real nice accents. We just talk regular.

GK: And all of those attractive freckled people with windblown red hair and twinkly green eyes wearing “Kiss Me, I'm Irish” buttons. And you look at them, and you want to. Unlike people wearing “Kiss Me, I'm Norwegian” buttons. You look at them and you think, “Well, maybe later.”

TR: Boy, I'll say.

SS: We Lutherans are stoical-type people. We're not big huggers or kissers. We don't go around on St. Olaf's Day and wave our Norwegianness in your face. We just sit and think about it.

TR: We celebrate St. Olaf's Day by buying a new set of snow tires.

SS: And all those romantic Hollywood movies about Ireland and the Irish: “The Quiet Man” . . . “Ryan's Daughter” . . . “Bells of St. Mary's”. . .

TR: We've got “Fargo”. Boy that's a raw deal.

GK: You can say that again.

TR: Boy, that's a raw deal.

SS: And all the trendy kids' names. They're all Irish. Megan, Shawn, Ryan, Caitlin. How many Trygves and Ingeborgs do you find in your kid's play group?

SS: It almost don't seem fair sometimes in a way. They've got Irish coffee, we've got Sanka.

TR: They've got Bailey's Irish Creme, we've got Cool Whip.

SS: They've got neighborhood pubs, we've got the church basement.

TR: They've got the Kennedys, we've got Mrs. Olsen.

GK: The Irish are poets and dreamers.

TR: We Lutherans are dairy farmers and actuaries.

GK: They've got nine-hundred page stream-of-consciousness novels in which people wrestle with their souls, and we've got call-in shows where people talk about road conditions.

SS: They've got James Joyce.

TR (AS JAMES JOYCE): It soared, a bird, it held its flight, a swift pure cry, soar silver orb it leaped serene, soaring high in the effulgence symbolistic, high, of etheral bosom, high, of the vast irradiation everywhere all soaring all around about the all, the endlessness...

GK: We've got Joyce Johnson...

SS: (ON PHONE: Hi, this is Joyce, just called in to say it's getting slippery out there, and they got blowing and drifting on the Interstate ---- Elmer called on his car phone and said there's cars in the ditch everywhere.

GK: One thing you've got to say about Lutherans, though, is, Boy can they dance.

TR: Oh boy. Can they.

SS: That's for sure.

TR: You get those big legs moving and those big hips shaking, and you've got excitement.

SS: For Norwegians, the polka is a form of martial art, is what it is. I know, I've dance with them.

GK: Coming soon to your town, the Lutheran dance review that the nation is talking about, and that's POLKADANCE. (BAND STRIKES UP BEER BARREL POLKA)---- if you haven't seen POLKADANCE, now is your chance to get in on the buzz.

SS: Onstage, five hundred --- count em --- five hundred Lutheran women from Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas, decked out in our native pastel pants suits and dancing our little hearts out----

TR: Plus, five-hundred Lutheran men ---- on rider mowers.

SS: We got enough accordions to fill up a dumpster. Plus hot dish.

TR: POLKADANCE. It's the Lutheran heritage like you've never seen it before and maybe don't care to see it again.

SS: Oh boy.

ALL SING: Don't pick on Lutherans
We are an ethnic group too
Be nice to Lutherans
We're not so different from you. (My gosh no)
Lutherans are loyal,
We work hard and don't make a fuss.
And you know that God's a Lutheran,
That's what He told us.

©1997 by Garrison Keillor

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