Garrison Keillor

AnimalsUnion Leader

Garrison Keillor: The impending crisis of exploding cicada data

My grandpa left Glasgow in 1905 and sailed to America and brought his thirteen children up as Americans and so I haven’t yet taken a position on Scottish independence but with the resounding victory of the Scottish National Party in elections last week, I suppose I’ll have to. I like to involve myself in other people’s problems where I myself have nothing at all at stake. Someone asked me about Ukraine the other day and though I haven’t heard anything from there in a long time, I gave a good answer, reasonable, balanced, on the one hand this, on the other hand that.
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EntertainmentUnion Leader

Garrison Keillor: Thoughts while ambling around Minneapolis

MAY IS a beautiful month with a hopeful sound to it (I may write a novel, I may take tango lessons, I may buy a schooner and sail the Atlantic, I may survive the journey), but here in Minnesota, snowfall is still a slim possibility, and I can imagine going out for a walk one morning and with my glasses fogged up from my mask, I hit a patch of ice and slip and fall, twisting, waving my arms and a vertebra slips loose and I land on my left hip, hear something crack, lie with my leg bent funny, thinking about getting up but not yet, and I’m not angry, I don’t call on God to damn anything, but I know I have entered a world of pain and an endless odyssey from Mayo to Sloan Kettering to Cleveland Chiropractic to Chicago Shiatsu to Sister Faith Atkins at Holiness Baptist in Luttrell, Tennessee, and wind up in a mindfulness class in Tallahassee where a woman named Maple leads us in deep breathing exercises and shows us how to exhale all our stress and anxiety. A sudden fall can do that to a person. You feel invigorated by fresh air and you take long strides and look up at the greening of the maples and in one horrible minute your life changes to a quest for relief of lower back pain.
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Florida StateUnion Leader

Garrison Keillor: We're going where we need to go

IT IS SPRINGTIME in Minnesota and viva sweet spring, the tulips are opening and people are thinking about setting their tomato plants outside though of course we’re aware that it’s Minnesota and we’ve gotten snow as late as early June. But everyone we know is immunized so we’ve gone to people’s houses for dinner who aren’t in our bubble. We go outdoors without masks and can recognize other people even if we don’t know for sure what pronouns they use. I’ve been to two ball games. We visited relatives and did an exciting reenactment of a fairy tale with a 5-year-old girl as Cinderella, her grandpa as the prince, and her grandma and my wife as the evil sisters. It’s a start.
CelebritiesUnion Leader

Garrison Keillor: Pardon me if I talk about back where I'm from

I SPENT the pandemic in New York where I don’t know anybody except my wife so quarantine was no problem and after I got vaccinated I went home to Minnesota and had dinner with five people I’ve known forever or more, and it was a pleasure that’s worth getting old for. With old friends, conversation is simple: you open your mouth and there’s a big balloon full of words. With new people, it’s like a job interview. So I love Minnesota where those old friends are. And it’s a state that needs to be loved.
Traffic AccidentsUnion Leader

Garrison Keillor: What it's like to be old, if you want to know

I WAS back home in Minnesota last week, throwing away boxes of old manuscripts to spare my darling from having to deal with them after she plants me in the Home for the Happily Medicated. I saved the stuff thinking it might ferment, like wine, but it hasn’t, so out it goes. I look out the window at Loring Park where I used to walk when I was 17, on a break from my dishwashing job at the Evangeline Hotel, my first job out of high school. I was practicing smoking Pall Malls to prepare for a literary career. I’m 78 now and last week I had dinner with the man who hired me to do a radio show when I was in my 20s. Diligence and discipline are all well and good, but thank God for wild good luck.
Books & LiteratureUnion Leader

Garrison Keillor: I'm not hoping for normal, no thank you

I THINK of the chicken when I crack the two eggs into the fry pan for breakfast but when I put in the sausage patty, I don’t think of the pig. The egg is a work of art; the sausage is a product. As a young man I tried to make art but I didn’t want to work in a factory (teach) to support my art, so I chose to do radio, which is a form of sausage. I admire the egg but I enjoy the sausage more. And it makes me feel good about my life, a good thing at 5 a.m.
SocietyUnion Leader

Garrison Keillor: Blame it on the internet, why not?

EVERY TIME I mention Joe in my column, I get ferocious mail from a few readers describing him as a criminal and a moron who is out to destroy America, which I forgive them for, but Scripture says that’s not enough: “Bless them that curse you, pray for them which despitefully use you,” which is easy with email, you just say, “God bless you, sir” and press Delete, but Scripture is not geared for digital, it’s about the up close and personal, and what if someone in a red cap walked up to me and started yelling this stuff? People, I just plain don’t have time for that. I’m busy writing sonnets, I want to talk with my wife, baseball season starts soon, I don’t have time to hear about the landslide reelection that was stolen by Venezuelans.
New York City, NYUnion Leader

Garrison Keillor: The pandemic - One man's appreciation

I AM sitting here watching over and over a video my wife took with her phone in Central Park after the 18-inch snowfall last week, looking through the trees at a snowy hill and listening to the shouts and shrieks of joy from New York children as they slide down the hill on saucers and sleds and cardboard. Shrieks of joy are a rare and beautiful thing and I keep replaying this 60-second drama, recalling my own sliding days back in Minnesota. the steep hill that we slid down and out onto the frozen Mississippi.
MusicUnion Leader

Garrison Keillor: An old Democrat in a chorus in the Orkneys

I MISSED OUT on the GameStop frenzy on Wall Street last week and didn’t earn a bundle of money, but for me, it was enough that the temperature got up to forty, a slight thaw that made me think of spring, I being the registered optimist that I am. After all, I am a Democrat, the party that seeks to legislate against ignorance and cruelty. I believe in the goodness of people I pass on the street and I think that by July, we’ll be crowding into comedy clubs and laughing at pandemic jokes.
Books & LiteratureUnion Leader

Garrison Keillor: The world turns, days get longer

THE DAYS ARE definitely longer. I got a COVID shot last week and a guy in Georgia invited me to come do a show in the fall and one morning I asked my wife, “What’s in the news?” and she said, “Not much.” Things change, we move on, “lizard brain” is now in the Oxford English Dictionary and so is “amenitize” and “back-sass,” “bohunkus,” “code speak” (deliberately ambiguous), “cooked-up,” “jinx” (when two people say the same thing simultaneously), “pitchy” (meaning off-key), and “running around like a chicken with its head cut off,” and this is not the Omaha English Dictionary, this is O-X-F-O-R-D, this is men in medieval gowns and hoods with letters after their names such as DCL, DM, and DLitt and where “color” is spelled with a U.
MoviesUnion Leader

Garrison Keillor: The end of the worst, bring on the better

IT WAS a small Christmas, stockings full of candy and also toothpaste and soap, and Swedish meatballs with lingonberries and mashed potatoes and creamy gravy. The wind whistled outside, the tree sparkled, and though we weren’t what you’d call “joyful,” we were in good humor and sweet to each other, and admired each other’s presents, the electric footbath, the brilliant scarf, the woolen shoes, the earbuds, and peeled our Christmas oranges.
New York City, NYUnion Leader

Garrison Keillor: When snow falls, can spring be far behind?

IT SNOWED big-time in New York last week and overnight the city was transformed from gritty realism to a TV Christmas special, the city hushed and magical, skaters skating in Central Park and every sled or saucer, garbage can lid, flattened cardboard, employed in sliding. For the old man, walking flat-footed in tiny steps on an icy sidewalk, sliding feels treacherous but still the snow brings back memories of Minnesota and homemade hockey rinks, using magazines for shin pads and lawn chairs for goals. We had no laptops or video games then. Indoors belonged to grown-ups so we went outside for independence. It was joyful. I still look at snow and feel joyful.