Beautiful (lyrics), October 22, 2011

The Fitzgerald Theater

Saint Paul, MN

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Beautiful (lyrics)

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It is so beautiful, it is so beautiful, when I go to be with them
The farmers opening the Farmers Market at 5:45 AM
The sky dark, a deep midnight blue over St. Paul,
The trucks with their headlights on, farmers in quilted overalls
Boots, heavy jackets, unloading, men, women, some children very young
Voices speaking English or Spanish or Hmong,
Opening the truck gates
And unloading vegetables in crates,
Setting up tables, putting out signs,
Everybody helping, opening boxes, arranging flowers, no job too menial
And all so congenial
At this early hour, farming people united in one band
And a cup of coffee in each farmer's hand.
The early birds start trickling in and the farmers take up their station
In front of each display of autumn vegetation----
Carrots, parsnips, beets, onions sweet yellow and white, all of goodly size,
Bushels of apples for eating or for making pies,
Honey with lavender and orange spices to put in your cupboard,
Squash – buttercup, butternut, acorn, and enormous hubbard,
A tall bearded man selling sheep's cheese with a grin on his face,
Just delighted to be in this place
Every vendor smiles and greets you with a good morning, and is happy to chat even if you aren't going to purchase something

Mustard greens, thyme, sage, rosemary
Bushels of cranberry
Garlic connected by the stems
Rings of garlic like diadems,
Russet potatoes and red potatoes and tomatoes -- some green, some red,
Plum jam and sundried tomato spread,

Scents of fresh baked bread, foccacia, croissants,
Just about anything a person wants
A Hmong farmer stands, silent, majestic, amid a language and a people unknown,
Next to him his daughter texting on her cellphone.
What can you say? It's the old story, the old good news
As the sun rises over the Mississippi, shining down on the ingredients of pies and soups and stews,
The bounty of the earth, for us to joyfully use.

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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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