Post to the Host
Comments from the Week of March 7, 2021
Sitting eating my oatmeal and reading your recent piece, I took your advice and went to YouTube and listened to Peter, what a beautiful tune. I shed a year or two, for me, my country, and the world. Thank you for what you do, you make the world a better place.
Peter Ostroushko and his “Heart of the Heartland” made the world a little better, I just provided the footnote. It’s there if you need to hear it.
I just now was made aware of your website through a link in Frank Bruni’s New York Times newsletter. I hope you are considering a visit to Tampa, Florida, and environs!
I went to Tampa and Clearwater Beach back in February for a few days and found myself lost in a landscape of motels, fast-food restaurants, and parking ramps. Probably my fault.
We saw your show at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles a few years ago — fantastic! Red Rocks is a special venue. We are in Michigan now and hoping you can come this summer to one of our great sites. Summers are glorious in the Great Lakes State, and we hope you can make it over.
Very best wishes,
I wish again to visit Michigan and hope it’s this summer because I turn 80 in August and I think that’s likely my last round. Red Rocks will be a full Prairie Home Companion show with band, actors, guests, the News, and I’m hoping to do more this summer in NY, DC, Chi, St. Paul, so I can put the old show to bed and become a novelist and a sonneteer. I’ve written love sonnets and now I’m writing friendship sonnets, a worthy enterprise.
Not routin’ for Pootin
’Cuz this you’re astute in
When eatin’ those beans
Behind the scenes
We know you blow the seams
Of your suit in.
Franklin Liberty Stellars
The last line is slightly off-kilter but you’re forgiven.
I was recently reading your writing on Lent and your last paragraph made me laugh: “the bagel of all bagels.” I’m curious where you get such a bagel. Do you mind sharing the name of the store because now I have to compare against some of our favorites in the NJ/NY area? Thank you and I hope you have a great weekend.
The best used to be at H&H on B’way at 80th where the bagels came hot off the presses. They went out of business and now most of the bagels seem to be hours old. I know some people who make their own, which is beyond my understanding. You’re supposed to walk into a shop and buy them from a crotchety old lady, hot.
Stay away from politics in your op-eds, it makes you sound like an ignorant democrat. Stick to your Minnesotan diatribe, which I enjoy so much, really!
Politics look stupid on you!!!
This note does not speak well for your parents, sir. I hope they don’t read it.
Why mention that Zelensky is a Jew? Would you have said the same if Zelensky was Greek Orthodox?
The term “Jewish comic” is a term of respect, relevant because Putin has accused Ukraine of Naziism. Just my opinion. But if he converts to Greek Orthodox, I probably won’t mention it.
Dear Mr. Keillor,
You have talent in abundance. You can write. You can influence people. You are and have been for many decades a very successful man in your career. You love the United States. But, as today’s column demonstrates, you are not wise.
P.S. Do you really admire, support, and trust a person who has for many decades endlessly peddled personal sorrow to advance his career and elicit sympathy toward himself … as recently as this week?
Why can you not say clearly what you’re talking about? I assume you’re talking about President Biden but I don’t know this for sure. I disagree with your characterization. I think it’s trashy. Why stoop so low when we’re talking about earth-shaking events in Europe that threaten horrific things? What you’re writing is simply garbage and I include it in this PTTH as an illustration of how, in times of world crisis, some people cling to small-mindedness. So you have a grudge against the man. Deal with it. Open your eyes.
I want to thank you. But more importantly, want to share three snapshots in time.
Your voice and stories shaped our two kids as they grew up on the equator. I was working for a Minnesota-based medical device company and was stationed in Singapore. Worked hard. Weekends, though, were complete “down time.” So we would make road trips up to Malaysia. I played CDs of your stories from Lake Wobegon on those long car rides, UP on Saturday and BACK on Sunday. (Yes, we had the BBC … so the other weekend treat was Alistair Cooke’s Letter from America, before he croaked, of course). We moved to Shanghai, where the kids started high school and the tradition of Garrison K. in the car on Sundays continued. I think if you were to ask my son and daughter, they would confirm that the soundtrack of their life before they headed off to two different universities in the U.S. was, by and large, narrated by you. Your stories gave them grounding in the life of a small-town America they had only rarely visited and never had a chance to experience. Your stories provided the concrete details to my kids about my own life on a wheat farm and cattle ranch in Grady County (Oklahoma) that I could only partially describe.
My own exposure to your baritone narration came in my own teenaged years … when I lived out on the prairie, albeit a bit farther south, in small-town Oklahoma. My mother asked me to use an 8-track recorder to record your weekend program for playback at a more convenient time. My mother was a former teacher. And a former Badger (from Wisconsin). She had met my father (from Oklahoma) on campus in Madison via the kind of shaggy-dog story you would have told in the early post-war years. She never lost the slight German (Wisconsin?) accent. The small-town bonhomie in your stories were exactly what she had growing up in Wisconsin … which were never quite replicated in the drier, more desperate, more hard-boiled climes of the Oklahoma prairie.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, your stories became a bonding point between me and my favorite sister (who became the most beloved Auntie to the two kids 15 years later). Before my sister became a pilot, she toiled as an engineer on an Army base in Utah. I would visit her often and we would drive up to ski resorts on the weekends and we would howl in laughter at the creative hijinks you would describe — which resonated with former Okies — and drove home messages and quirkiness that our mother could not quite manage to describe.
Well, I have only recently discovered The Writer’s Almanac, which has its own charm. I did visit your bookstore in St. Paul five or six years ago when I was back to the Medtronic HQ in Fridley. Also, one year (would have been about 2014 or 2015) I had the privilege of seeing you and the crew live at the Minnesota State Fair. I was pretty close to the stage and shook hands with you and took a selfie pic with you as you strolled about singing “You Are My Sunshine” during the performance.
As we see the clock ticking down on the third quarter of this football game, just wanted to share my thanks for your work. We relocated back to the U.S. (from China) during the pandemic and now live in Washington, D.C., where our second child (our son) is in university.
You’ve had a much bigger and wide-ranging life than I, sir, and I admire that. I grew up in Anoka, MN, and stuck close to home for most of my life because, I think, I didn’t have the skills of social adaptation and my personal life was something of a mess for a long time and also because I had to work like crazy to figure out what my calling was. When you lack talent, you need to spend a lot of time going down dead ends. Now, at 79, I feel pretty good about my work, which I didn’t between, say, the ages of 25 and 50, the period when a person might venture out into the world. So I have to be content with writing from a very limited store of firsthand experience. And I’ve come to admire people like you (and my wife) who burst out of the home territory in search of experience. When we first met, she told me about visiting Burma and walking off to visit a temple, surrounded by non-English speakers, walking through rural Japan, seeing the Great Wall. A friend of mine just sailed across the Atlantic with three friends on a schooner. I stay chained to my kitchen table. God bless the explorers.
Please don’t refer to Mitch McConnell as “chinless.” I also loathe the man but don’t like making fun of a physical characteristic.
I am a big fan! A 1990s joke as a thank you:
Which country does Russia border?
Whichever it wants.
Let’s hope for a miracle bringing peace today.
Colorado (Emigrated from Hungary in 1995)
A joke that suddenly became unfunny. Thanks.
Dear Mr. Keillor,
I remember when I first heard your show, many years ago. I was standing in the kitchen, and you had just introduced a chorus. Either they weren’t very good, or perhaps they were aiming for satire. In any case I couldn’t tell if your show was real or a joke. I have listened faithfully since then. Now I get your Writer’s Almanac, and I thank you sincerely for the pleasure both have brought me.
Today’s post was especially powerful. The image of the murdered family has been renting space in my head too. Thank you for highlighting it.
Toward the end you refer to “MeToo vigilantes,” and to use a woke term, I was triggered. I settle down and remind myself it’s complicated.
Toward one side of the room are Jeffery Epstein and others even worse. Toward the other are folks like Al Franken, and I’ll agree the term vigilante has more than a little validity in his case. And if I’m honest, I’m somewhere in that room too, an old guy who’s wondering if it’s inappropriate to sign so many of his letters “Love.”
We live, and learn, and grow. Keep up the good work.
Al Franken was hustled and that’s just a fact. A right-wing woman radio host in L.A., who’d done a USO tour with him went after him, using a silly photograph, and some anonymous women who posed for pictures with him at the State Fair accused him of inappropriate touching, which I guess meant that he put an arm around them and they felt his hand on a buttock. Had they said something at the time, Al would’ve apologized. Instead they got to be anonymous righteous victims. And then his fellow Democratic senators, women especially, failed to come to his defense and take the matter to the Senate Ethics Committee where it would’ve been quickly disposed of. He was my senator and he was a darned good one and he was driven out by vigilantes and then a reporter for The New Yorker did the research and cleared him after the fact. Al was replaced by a woman who has no personality, no distinctive voice or style, who will always be vulnerable to some right-winger who can rally his base. It’s a shame.
You are still an anti-Trump stooge. I imagine that you believe our country is in better shape today than when Trump was president. Why don’t you try to imagine yourself as a struggling parent trying to pay for gas and food? Of course, you would just tell them to get in there and get their piece of the welfare. What you preach is immoral bullshit. Just keep denying that the country is going to hell. Keep livin’ the dream rich guy!
Thanks, Dave. I hope writing that note made you feel better and I hope it got rid of some aggression that otherwise you might’ve taken out on your dog.
I have a challenge for you: try to write one column without a direct, or indirect, reference to Trump. Thank you.
I’ve written many, sir. But I’m honored to have Trumped-Up readers. It makes me feel I might just be doing some good, rather than preaching to the choir.
I know you come from a religious fundamentalist background. I’m just curious: do you believe in predestination? I can’t believe God would plan to have Russians murder the Ukrainian people, or that “everything happens for a reason.” Were you brought up with this type of thinking? In what ways have your ideas about God changed throughout your life?
Trish, I do not blame God for the Russian invasion, I blame Putin. I’m too old to think about predestination. I go to church on Sunday and I pray and I listen to Scripture and sometimes the sermon strikes me and sometimes a hymn brings me to tears and then I walk home. I have cousins who are very knowledgeable about Scripture and who try to explain things like predestination to me and I appreciate that but I am just an ignorant old man, becoming more so all the time.