Beautiful (lyrics), October 15, 2011

The Fitzgerald Theater

Saint Paul, MN

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Beautiful (lyrics)

Listen (MP3)

It is so beautiful, so beautiful, when fall arrives, a chill is in the air,
And serious girls with long beautiful dark hair
Walk down the street in warm jackets and jeans and sweaters woven from the wool of little lambs,
Thinking about their midterm exams.
When fall comes at Macalester, St. Kate's and St. Thomas,
Young people decide they will live up to their promise,
They will not make a career
Out of video games and beer

And though they may want
To go back to bed,
They head for the library instead.
Across the street, as you ride your bike
On a fall day that is so much like
The Octobers of your youth, the same chill, the same old folks
Strolling under the elms and maples and oaks.

On the corner school children with big backpacks and rosy cheeks
Wait for the bus ---- nerds, jocks, goofballs, and geeks ---
Mechanics hanging around outside their body shop, in their mechanic suits
Looking at a stunning young woman with long hair and bright red lipstick, in tall leather boots,

Two little girls in school uniforms with their dad,
Telling him about something somebody did or said or had,
An older lady carrying a yoga mat
Stores selling expensive cookware and china vases,
People in a croissant shop stuffing their faces.

Four-story Victorian houses with gingerbread and turrets;
A cross-country team runs by in identical maroon t-shirts.
Under the trees, red and yellow and gold, everything perfectly still,
Heading down Summit, towards the long hill
Along the grand boulevards
And the well-kept yards
And the trees well-trimmed full-grown

And James J. Hill's mansion of red sandstone
Past the Cathedral where an organ is playing hushed and holy
And past the History Center and then slowly
Past the State Capitol grounds,
Toward the skyline of downtown,
Past the hockey arena and the old courthouse and on the way
The homeless center named for Dorothy Day.
In Mickey's diner a man sits hunched at the counter,
Eating his hamburger, a half-pounder,
And nearby
A big slab of pumpkin pie.
And down to Exchange Street, where we see
The Fitzgerald theater marquee
And a handsome profile of F. Scott
The gifted writer who was famous for awhile and then suddenly not,
Time moves on, onward toward cold and winter, boats against the current, on we go,
And now I believe it is time for the show.

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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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