Chant, February 9, 2013

The Fitzgerald Theater

Saint Paul, MN

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The people I come from were low-key people. They spoke softly and they liked to end their sentences with then or now. SO WHAT ARE YOU UP TO THEN?

Adding then or now didn't change the meaning, it was only to soften the sound of the sentence. SOUNDS GOOD THEN. And they liked to end a sentence with ANYWAY. Meaning ----- no reply necessary, I was just talking, nothing important. ANYWAY.

They did not curse, except sometimes they might say, OH CHEESE AND RICE. They hardly raised their voices. No need to make a big hoop-de-do. If they were upset about something, they said SO WHAT KIND OF A DEAL IS THAT THEN?

If they found out that someone had overcharged them, first they assumed that the mistake was theirs and when they found out that they hadn't, they just sighed. OH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. THAT'S NO GOOD.

They weren't cheap but they'd been through the Depression so they were careful about spending money. Five bucks for a shirt was kinda spendy. WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE ONE YOU GOT? THERE'S PLENTY OF WEAR LEFT IN IT. Here's a gift for your birthday but don't worry, I didn't pay much for it, I got it 50% off cause of the burn mark in back.

It was a sin to waste food. TAKE ALL YOU WANT BUT EAT ALL YOU TAKE.

We seldom went out to eat. If someone invited us to a café: I'LL GO IF YOU'RE BUYING. If we were paying, at the end of the meal, Dad looked up at the waitress. WELL, WHAT'S THE DAMAGES? And on the way out, he said, IT WAS OKAY BUT THE PORTIONS WERE A LITTLE SKIMPY, DON'T YOU THINK.

They loved to go visit. "Visit" meant not only going to see someone, but also the conversation once you got there. You visited. And it was a nice visit. Nice was good enough. Good enough to live in a nice house. No need to go all hoity-toity.

They ignored illness. OH IT'S NOTHING. Ask them how they felt. They said: I'VE FELT BETTER. If they got really sick, they'd lie down for a day or two and then get back to work.


They were country people and anything over three stories high made them a little wary. IT'S JUST BUILDINGS AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE. I TELL YOU, I WOULDN'T LIVE HERE IF YOU PAID ME. They knew they weren't up to date and it didn't bother them. I WAS BORN BEFORE MY TIME, I GUESS.

My, what a vivid imagination you have, my mother said when I said I wanted to write books when I grew up. THE LINES ARE PRETTY LONG FOR THAT KINDA WORK. Who's giving you the big ideas? WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH THAT? we said about the neighbor who didn't shovel his walk or the hot-shot cousin who bought a Cadillac or the aunt who got persnickety about something someone said and left the picnic in a huff. OH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. FOR MERCY SAKES.

You should earn your keep and not live off the county. Work before play. Get your chores done and then you can go in to town. But even if you do work hard, still---- YOU NEVER KNOW. You might have a pretty good deal going and then it's not such a good deal. YOU NEVER KNOW. You buy a new used car and it's good for a month or two and then it doesn't run so good. YOU NEVER KNOW. Still, no matter what the deal, one thing is true. IT COULD BE WORSE. And you know that's true.

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

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).

Available now»

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