For most of my married life, every Saturday afternoon at five pm central time, we turn to our local NPR station to listen to Garrison Keillor on A Prairie Home Companion. I admit that Marvin listens to it more than I do but I enjoy the program. This year Mr Keillor is retiring as the host of the show and turning the reins over to Chris Thile. And as PCH is so popular, there is a farewell tour going on. Marvin and I were fortunate to get tickets to the Nashville show on May 7th. It will be held at the Ryman Auditorium, the original Grand Ole Opry building. We went to see Prairie Home there last May as well and let me tell you, people were much smaller back in the Opry days. The seats are church pews and you have a limited amount of space on the bench, so if you are going to a show there you might want to diet a bit before attending!:) PHC has been around since 1974 when it only cost $1 to attend. Let's just say, it cost a bit more than that in 2016. Prairie Home is the most expensive show on NPR and many stations are dropping it with the retirement of Garrison Keillor. They do not think young Thile can carry the show. I tend to agree with them. If it is going to continue to be popular, it will have to change its format. And all of us old people who listen, might just jump ship rather than move with the times.
My husband's father grew up in Waconia, Minnesota so we have lots of relatives out on the edge of the prairie. We get Mr Keillor's Minnesota humor...you betcha we do!! Garrison Keillor is a master story teller and I enjoy all of his skits, Guy Noir Private Eye, Dusty and Lefty, the prairie cowboys and who can forget his ads for Powder Milk Biscuits..they give you the courage to get up and do what has to be done. But his tales of Lake Woebegon always leave me laughing. I guess all small towns are alike! I enjoy the fact that there is an Arlene Bunsen who lives in Lake Woebegon. I seldom hear of Arlenes in fiction. I just love hearing the opening line for this tale...It's been a quiet week here in Lake Woebegon, my hometown out there on the edge of the prairie. Then we hear Mr K tell about various characters we have come to know and love. They are eating at the Chatterbox Cafe or they may be at church at Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility. The Lutherans are present and accounted for as well. How Garrison Keillor can begin a random tale and have it all tie up neatly at the end of 20 minutes is amazing to me. And then he ends each tale with Lake Woebegon, where all the women are strong, all the men and are good looking and all the children are above average.
Over the years, both Marvin and I have noted that Keillor has become more liberal in his thinking and more cynical in his view point. I find that he cannot get away from his raising however. He still enjoys the old hymns...The Hopeful Gospel Quartet is a staple of the show. I think this goes to show that we never really get away from the old time values we were raised with no matter how hard we try!! I hope Garrison Keillor has a great retirement as he has earned it. And I hope he finds the peace he shares with his listeners each week in a little town where we would all like to live.