Ruth, May 7, 2011
The Fox Theater, Detroit, MI
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Ruth

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(THEME)

TR (ANNC): And now, from the hushed reading room of the Herndon County Library, we bring you: Ruth Harrison, Reference Librarian.

(STAMPING, FILING)

SS: Well, our poetry wall was a big hit for poetry month. There must be two hundred poems up there.

FN (TEEN): One hundred and forty-three, Miss Harrison. I counted.

SS: Seems like everyone in Herndon County wrote a poem for the wall. Look, Father George wrote a poem about Easter, the mayor wrote a lovely poem about daffodils ----- I had no idea he even thought about daffodils.

FN (TEEN): My high school principal wrote a poem about being unloved. What a downer.

SS: He's working through some things. Let's not judge.

FN (TEEN): Did you write a poem, Miss Harrison?

SS: I did and I'm not going to tell you which one, Kent.

FN (TEEN): I hope it wasn't a sad poem. They're all so droopy and drippy, Miss Harrison.

GK: Not all of them.

SS: Oh. Mr. Pratt. Didn't see you there.

GK: I'm just finishing mine—

SS: The library is about to close, Mr. Pratt.

GK: I know— (TO HIMSELF) Some say the moon is made of dust, some say of cheese. From what I know of love, I trust the moon is made of silver dust, but it were of Cheddar cheese put there by a heavenly host I'd have some please on a slice of toast. What do you think?

SS: It's very nice.

GK: Thanks.

SS: I didn't know you wrote poetry.

GK: Well, I'm just getting started—

FN (TEEN): There don't seem to be any love poems up here, Miss Harrison.

SS: There's one right here—
O you who see these words, o reader,
Do you know of my passionate desire to meet you in the intimate theater of my heart, and the heat of love's fire—

FN (TEEN): Miss Harrison!

SS: What?

FN (TEEN): You wrote that!

SS: I didn't say that—

FN (TEEN): O my gosh. That is hot. Totally.

SS: Kent, you're making me blush.

GK: I liked that.

TR (PARKER): Ruth!

SS: Oh! Hello Mr. Parker. You startled me.

TR (PARKER): Not used to seeing people in the library, are you-----

SS: No, it's not that.

TR (PARKER): Look Ruth, I'll get right to the point. Herndon County can't afford this library ----- so, the Library Board voted to outsource library services and if you want to reapply for your job, fine, but so far we have a woman who can do your job for 75 cents an hour so if you want to work for less than that, the job is yours.

SS: Mr. Parker, a person cannot argue with insanity, so I won't try. Let me just say this ---- do not mess with a reference librarian, sir. I can take this letter opener and with one quick thrust and two twists I can hand you your pancreas on a plate.

TR (PARKER): We're also switching the library over to digital, so we can sell the building so they can put up the new football stadium on this block-----

GK: They're going to build that?

TR (PARKER): What are you doing here, Pratt? You're supposed to be cleaning my office. You're a janitor, not a poet.

GK: I took the afternoon off to write poetry.

TR (PARKER): Poetry???? What sort of nonsense is this?

SS: It was Poetry Month, Mr. Parker.

TR (PARKER): Ha!! Anyway, I'll leave this form for you to fill out if you want to reapply for your job. Come along, Mr. Pratt. Back to the office.

SS: Just one moment, Mr. Parker.

TR (PARKER): What?

SS: This poem right here. On the wall. (TAKES POEM OFF THE WALL). Read it to me, Mr. Parker.

TR (PARKER, CLEARS THROAT): What is this? (RUSTLES PAPER) To my dog Rex.

(A BEAT)

It's quiet now in our duplex.
The neighbors came and paid respects.
And I keep busy with projects,
I mow the lawn, I sand the decks,
Write out checks and go on treks,
See movies at the multiplex,
But time has stopped. There is no "next"
Since the death of Rex.
Rex I loved your shiny fur
You were my best friend for sure (CRACKS)
I miss you each day when I jog
I'll never have another dog.

(SOBS)

SS: Your poem, Mr. Parker.

TR (PARKER): No! No! (SOBS)

SS: You snuck in here and stuck it to the wall and now you want to tear down the library.

TR: No!

SS: Mr. Parker, we have security cameras in this library.

TR (PARKER): You do?

SS: We do. You installed them.

TR (PARKER): Oh. Uh oh.

SS: I'll destroy the tape, Mr. Parker, if you leave the library alone. And take those silly forms with you.

TR (PARKER, SNIFFLING): Yes ma'am.

SS: And I don't ever want to hear the word "digital" come out of your mouth again. Do you understand me?

TR (PARKER, SNIFFLING): Okay.

FN (TEEN): See you later Mr. Parker.

SS: Well------ another crisis averted. ---- How long have you worked for Mr. Parker, Mr. Pratt?

GK: Twenty years.

SS: Were you aware that he is a poet?

GK: Oh yes. I was cleaning his office once and I found a whole sheaf of his poems. Here. Look at this.

SS: Oh my. My oh my. (PAGING) Fire of my heart. (PAGING) Burning passions of....wow.

GK: You like them?

SS: May I make copies of these?

GK: Be my guest.

(THEME)

TR (ANNC): From the Herndon County Library, it's Ruth Harrison, Reference Librarian.

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

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