Write Again…It brings smiles and tears

Published 4:27 pm Thursday, November 9, 2023

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“A Prairie Home Companion.”

Garrison Keillor.

Now, if you remember that, and him, then a smile has come upon your face.
For sure.                                                                        K

If all that is unfamiliar to you, well, allow me to provide some background. Okay?

From 1974 to 1987 Garrison Keillor was the host of the live radio show “A Prairie Home Companion”, a recipient of a Peabody and an Edward R. Murrow Award.

Plus, he is the author of best-selling books, “Happy to Be Here” (1982), “Lake Wobegon Days” (1985) and “Leaving Home” (1987). He has contributed for many years to “The New Yorker” and oilier magazines.

Keillor was born in Anoka, Minnesota, in 1942, and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1966.

Smiles aside for a moment for you who do remember, let me share with you a powerfully poignant remembrance he wrote back when. It truly touched my heart, my emotions. Perhaps it will yours too.

The setting is the Minnesota State Fair.

“I went up in the Ferris wheel for a last ride before being thrown into seventh grade. It went up into the stars and fell back to earth and rose again, and I had a magnificent vision, or think I did, though it’s hard to remember if it was the chocolate cake or the next one with the pigs getting loose.

“The Ferris wheel is the same year after year. It’s like all one ride to me; we go up and I think of people I knew who are dead and I smell fall in the air, manure, corn dogs, and we drop down into blazing light and blaring music …”

Then a bit more whimsy, after which comes the heart-tugging part:

“This is my vision: little kids holding on to their daddy’s hand, and he is me.

“He looks down on them with love and buys them another corn dog. They are worried they will lose him; they hang on to his leg with one hand, eat with the other.

“This vision is unbearably wonderful. Then the wheel brings me down to the ground. We get off and other people get on.

“Thank you, dear God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough.”

Amen. Note: In last week’s column, a key part of my reference to a song was inadvertently omitted. The complete verse should have read “Just remember, in the winter, far beneath the bitter snows, lies the seed that with the sun’s love, in the spring becomes the rose.”