Mom, February 11, 2012

The Fitzgerald Theater

Saint Paul, MN


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Mom

Listen (MP3)

(PHONE RINGS THREE TIMES, THEN PICKUP)

GK: Hello, this is Duane. Sorry I can't take your call now but if you leave a message at the tone, I'll call you back just as soon as I can. (BEEP)

SS (MOM): Duane, it's me, your mother. Remember? Anyway, I'm just calling to say that I know Valentine's Day is coming up and I don't expect anything from you whatsoever. I know last year I put pressure on you and made you feel bad and you sent me those cream-filled cherries that ---- and this was no fault of yours, not your doing, no sir, no no no no no ----- but they had spoiled and so I ate a few and then I spend several hours driving the porcelain bus, if you get my drift. I was throwing up for days afterward. Which sort of reminded me of when I was pregnant with you. Oh my gosh, anyway, don't bother. I'm fine. Really, I am. I have a full and happy life and there is no need for anybody to—(BEEP)

(PHONE RINGS THREE TIMES, THEN PICKUP)

GK: Hello, this is Duane. Sorry I can't take your call now but if you leave a message at the tone, I'll call you back just as soon as I can. (BEEP)

SS (MOM): I got cut off, honey. Sorry. I just wanted to say that I am going to just enjoy Valentine's Day and try to forget that I'm going in for an MRI on Wednesday. One day at a time. That's my motto. Okay. Gotta run. Love you. Oh by the way, Duane----- (BEEP)

(PHONE RINGS THREE TIMES, THEN PICKUP)

SS (MOM): Hello, it's me. Thank you so much for calling. Leave a message and remember----- (SHE SINGS) All you need is love. All you need is love. All you need is love. Love is all you need. (BEEP)

GK: Hi, Mom. Listen. What's this about Wednesday. The MRI and so forth. What's going on? I was planning to go out with some friends but I can always change my plans if you want me to come with or what's going on. Okay? Thanks. (HANG UP)

(PHONE RINGS THREE TIMES, THEN PICKUP)

GK: Hello, this is Duane. Sorry I can't take your call now but if you leave a message at the tone, I'll call you back just as soon as I can. (BEEP)

SS: Honey I'm so sorry, I was on the phone when you called and ------ about Wednesday, don't worry. Okay? Nothing to worry your little head about. How's the book coming? I can't wait to read it. Finally, at the age of 57, you're going to be a published writer. That is so wonderful. How are you and Solveig coming? I'm dying to meet her. Literally dying. Okay, Duane. I'm going to go lie down now. I love you. Remember that. You are loved. (WEEPY) Goodbye. Goodbye, darling. (HANG UP)

(PHONE RINGS THREE TIMES, THEN PICKUP)

GK: Hello?

SS: Duane?

GK: Hi mom.

SS: Is this you?

GK: It's me, Mom.

SS: Well I'm glad I got you, honey. I'm calling from a phone booth at the hospital. I can't talk long.

GK: You're at the hospital? Are you okay?

SS: Well, I don't know. That's what we're here to find out.

GK: Mom, what is wrong with you?

SS: Well it started as a tingling in my leg. And then I felt pulsations in my neck -

GK: Pulsations??

(BEEP)

SS (PHONE LADY): Please deposit 75 cents for the next 4 minutes. If 75 cents is not deposited within 25 seconds, your call will be automatically terminated.

GK: Mom, just tell me what hospital you're at.

SS (MOM): Hang on Duane, I have to feed the phone.

GK: You need to get a cell phone, mom.

SS: I can't figure those things out. Hank, look in your pockets, I need some quarters. (TR GRUMBLING OFF) Don't push on the door, Hank. I'm in here, in the phone booth. I need some quarters.

GK: Mom---- where are you? Just tell me where you are. I'll be there in five minutes.

SS (PHONE LADY): Please deposit 75 cents for the next 3 minutes. If 75 cents is not deposited within 25 seconds—

GK: Ma'am, is there some way you can reverse the charges.

SS (PHONE LADY): I am a recording. I do not engage in conversation with the other party.

GK: Okay, but it's my mother, ma'am----- couldn't you make an exception ----- she's in a hospital somewhere ---- I need to find her.

SS (PHONE LADY): You are not the only telephone patron, sir. If I were to make an exception for you, I'd have to make exceptions for everybody.

GK: Please. Just reverse the charges. Put them on my phone bill. Can you do that? Hello? Hello?

SS (PHONE LADY): You already have a balance on your phone bill of $134.57.

GK: You couldn't add 75 cents to that?

SS (PHONE LADY): What is your occupation, sir?

GK: I'm a writer.

SS (PHONE LADY): A writer of what?

GK: Fiction.

SS (PHONE LADY): Please list your books in the order of publication.

GK: I don't have any published yet. I'm working on one. Okay? Hello?

SS (PHONE LADY): You are currently working on a book of fiction?

GK: Yes.

SS (PHONE LADY): Please read me the first paragraph of the book of fiction on which you are working.

GK: Now?

SS (PHONE LADY): If the paragraph is not read within 25 seconds, your call will be automatically terminated.

GK: Okay. I'm looking for it now. It takes a moment for the computer to warm up. Okay, there it is. I forget the file name. Just a second. Be right there. What? I thought I'd entitled it Novel. It's not here. Let me do a search on the first line. "The newspapers were right, snow was general all across Minnesota." Wait a minute. It's gone. I've lost it. Gone.

SS (PHONE LADY): Based on the first paragraph of your book, we are declining to put the 75 cents on your phone bill. Thank you for using Northwestern Bell. (CLICK)

GK: Hello? Hello? Hello.

SS (PHONE LADY): Thank you. Have a nice day.

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

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