With a lot of other people, of course, but it was really just about the two of us.
Yesterday, after birthday morning festivities, we went downtown to see a live taping of the radio show I have listened to since my mother first introduced it to me in my twelfth year. I was Prairie Home Companion before Prairie Home Companion was cool.
Garrison Keillor is a little taller than I expected, but as eccentric as I expected in a black suit, white shirt, no tie, and red tennis shoes. In all these years, I paid much more attention to his speaking voice, which sounds like warm caramel, and less attention to his singing voice. But yesterday the singing was so effortless, so beautiful.
Linda Rondstadt was also there singing some gorgeous songs, although I was kind of holding out for “I Don’t Know Much (But I Know I Love You)” duet with Garrison Keillor but it never happened. Ramblin’ Jack Elliott played his guitar and sang, even though he looked to be about 94. Whatever senior center he ends up in is GOING TO ROCK.
Perhaps the only surprise came during the Lake Wobegon monologue in which Garrison Keillor shares the happenings from his fictional hometown. A monologue which lasts about 20 minutes or so and rambles all over the place, sometimes losing you in all that warm caramel, but you feel lost in a good way. Anyway, I had always assumed this part of the show was written. Because he is a writer. I expected to watch him stand in front of his music stand with his papers as he does during the rest of the show and read about Pastor Inkfist and the others, but he didn’t. The stage lights lowered and he stood there before us holding the microphone and began telling a story which included a sinking boat in the Great Salt Lake, an arguing older couple, a fixed-up ice cream machine, a troupe of 24 Lutheran pastors, a bride in a tiny red bikini, an Episcopalian woman who was taking off her clothes and a viscious army of horseflies, without so much as an index card.
As he stood there, animatedly recounting the story, I understood so much about why I sometimes get lost during this portion of the show. Because there is no map. And with this understanding also came a wealth of knowledge about High Council Sunday.
My only regret with the show was that somehow we missed the opportunity to submit a greeting to be read on the air. I had mine all ready to go:
“Happy eighth birthday to our son, Christian. We’re sorry we ditched you on your birthday, but you’re getting older and it’s time you began learning about disappointment. Love, Mom and Dad.”