Catch-Up Follow-Up

After posting this yesterday and musing about it, I figured more explanation is in order. After all, Garrison Keillor deserves a complete post, not just a sidenote! [Jan. 12, 2007 ~KM]

Due to copyright reasons I have removed the ketchup photo until further notice. [Jan. 25, 2007 ~KM]

Garrison Keillor, host of the 35-year-old radio show A Prairie Home Companion produced by American Public Media, is someone whose voice I knew long before I knew his name – and whose name I knew long before I knew what he looked like (in fact, I saw my first picture of him yesterday). In this day and age that is a rare but welcomed occurrence. It gives me the chance to use my imagination and create a person in my mind’s eye that matches up with the voice I am hearing.

A Prairie Home Companion is a show that airs from St. Paul, Minnesota (though he does travel) and is broadcast on many National Public Radio stations throughout the nation (NPR is the nation’s only public radio broadcasting company). A Prairie Home Companion is a variety show from the days of yore. His most famous series is Tales of Lake Woebegone. It’s a cult thing. I remember my grandparents visiting from upstate New York when I was young. Of these visits, when my parents would graciously move out of their bedroom into the basement, I vividly remember being in their bedroom with my grandfather (who is now 92 and still tunes in every week!), who always had lemon drops or Wherther’s caramels and listened to A Prairie Home Companion seemingly constantly. Now of course, this can’t be, as it’s a show that only airs once a week, but in my mind, this is the way it was: Grandpa with enough candy and Garrison Keillor to go around.

The fact that this memory is so prominent will probably give you the hint that my own immediate family didn’t listen to him so regularly. But I do distinctly remember listening to Lake Woebegone with my sister Hanna and my parents, all sitting in the livingroom laughing at the generational conflicts Garrison Keillor so eloquently, wittyingly, and smoothly speaks of. While I associate Garrison Keillor with these comforting memories, it is also his gentle (some, who don’t appreciate him, say monotonous) voice that makes the show particularly catching. So I don’t know whether it’s the voice that makes the memories comforting, or the memories that makes the voice comforting. Either way, although I admit I’ve never listened to an entire show (maybe my attention span isn’t long enough – it’s a two-hour show), it’s wonderful how calming listening to A Prairie Home Companion is.

And this calming aspect brings me to the purpose of this post. Garrison Keillor does regular notices from The Ketchup Advisory Board. This fictional board claims ketchup has “mellowing agents that help you accept your life choices, and move on with a positive outlook.” David’s father mentioned this to me, and I found myself laughing out loud while listening to these two particular clips.

Christmastime (December 27, 2003)
College Roommates (June 3, 2006)

Do you have a favorite Prairie Home Companion clip? Post the link in the comments section!

2 Comments to “Catch-Up Follow-Up”

  1. Wow, who would have thought you would post on Prairie Home Companion?! I grew up listening to this show with my mother — even owned a powdermilk biscuit T-shirt and have a hit list of favorite songs from the show that I still remember to this day. My favorite skit can’t be found on the website, but then again, I can’t even remember when or where I heard it. It is about a couple eating dinner to New Age music (Yanni)and slowly falling asleep (and into their salads).
    But to be honest, the show drives me crazy. I dislike the Americana, and the jokes are just really, really cheesy. Perfect for a kid that didn’t know better, perhaps? Or maybe the show is really only something one can take in small doses, and I had my fill as a child? Nevertheless, the man and his show is an institution, and one that I do associate with pleasant memories.

  2. I agree, it probably is best in small doses. Having finally taken the time to listen to a whole show (the latest, from Jan. 6) I have to agree that it is quite Americana. However, that’s kind of its charm. I’m not sure whether or not to take that aspect seriously, as the show is a comedy show. Being an English teacher, I see it from a pedagogical perspective as interesting teaching material for the topic. Of course, decently prefaced with “What is Americana?” and followed with an open discussion. Anyway, I’m glad I could trigger some happy memories!

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