Sunday, August 13, 2017

Super Sorry Sunday: Let's Focus on Garrison Keillor

I am a big fan of the radio show A Prairie Home Companion. I love the music, skits, stories, and jokes. 

I always wanted to go see a live show up in St. Paul, but I never did, and then Garrison Keillor retired in July of 2016. 

I've enjoyed the new show with Chris Thile very much, but I've missed Garrison's voice and Lake Wobegon stories.

When I heard that Keillor was going to go on tour this summer with some of the regulars from A Prairie Home Companion, I asked Gary if we could go.

He wasn't interested, but he said I could go. I decided to splurge and get a front row seat in Sioux Falls (with Gary's blessing, of course).

The big night finally arrived. Before I left, Gary told me to just have a good time. "Don't let anything ruin your night," he warned me. He knows me so well. Sometimes I can get disappointed when things don't go the way I plan. 

I got to the Washington Pavilion and found my entrance.
Heading for the front row from Orchestra Right.
I was just about in the very center of the row and I sat there alone for a few minutes, just taking in the stage and the people milling around getting everything ready.
A self-conscious selfie before the fun begins.
Finally, more people arrived. The lights dimmed and the house broke out in applause as Garrison Keillor took the stage. He stood about ten feet from me and started telling a Lake Wobegon story. It was awesome!
In this picture, he's actually farther away - I didn't dare take a picture when he was right in front of me.
The time seemed to fly by as we heard music from Garrison and Heather Masse:
We listened to a funny skit about Dusty the Cowboy, with sound effects and other voices provided by the talented Fred Newman:

During the intermission, Garrison led a sing-along of old folk songs, patriotic songs, and hymns. It was fun harmonizing with such a big makeshift choir.

It was a wonderful night which I enjoyed immensely. 

I only felt a bit uncomfortable a couple of times. 

During his Lake Wobegon story he got a little graphic about a dating experience. 

In another part of the story someone lost their Speedo and flew naked above a lake while strapped to a parasail.

Probably the worst moment was during one of the songs when he asked us to sing along with the chorus: "I'm an aging, progressive democrat." I smiled, but I just couldn't open my mouth. (I hoped he wouldn't notice and have me removed from the theater.)

So, my Friday night was enjoyable...but I started to overthink it on Saturday.

When I told people I was going to hear him, most of them said, "Who?" ...and I started to feel kind of odd for liking a show no one had ever heard of.

When I told someone I had seen him, they commented about how political he was...and I wondered if it was bad that I liked him when our politics differ so much.

When I heard the graphic and naked parts of the Lake Wobegon stories...I squirmed a bit and wondered if I should be there.

When Gary teased me about being so excited that Garrison Keillor was "right there!" as I flung my arms in front of me to show how close he was...I wondered why I don't get that enthusiastic about other things in my life. 

So I couldn't write yesterday. I was mulling all of this over.

I haven't completely figured it all out, but I've been talking to God about it and I think He's okay with me liking Garrison Keillor and A Prairie Home Companion

It doesn't matter if other people have never heard of him. It doesn't matter if he's a democrat with different morals than me.

Now, I realize that anyone could take this the wrong way. I'm not saying that we should embrace anyone and everyone no matter what they say or do. 

We have to be careful to obey and honor God as we live for Him. We also have to try not to judge others for what they choose to watch or listen to. Maybe they get something special from a certain show or program that we don't understand. Maybe God will show them later that it is not something they should be watching or listening to. We just don't know. 

My faith is strong. I love my LORD. And listening to A Prairie Home Companion brings me joy. It makes me laugh, it introduces me to interesting musicians, it makes me think, and it has enhanced my life. 

It may not be for everyone, but I'm glad I discovered it years ago and was able to see Garrison Keillor in person.

"Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4 ESV)

Is there anything or anyone you like that might seem a bit questionable to others? How can focusing on God help you to be discerning in your choices and have freedom to enjoy a variety of entertainment?


  1. We used to listen to him a lot in our early married years. We didn't have a television and enjoyed his show. He has some really funny stories. One of the reasons we didn't listen to him as often was some of his off color comments and outlook on life. We still think he's a gifted communicator and has good, humorous insights into people's behavior. Glad you enjoyed yourself.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Angie. I thought long and hard before I wrote this post...but if I couldn't write about it, I shouldn't have gone, right? I did have a good time - and it gave me food for thought that will probably keep wriggling around in my brain for quite a while. Hope all is going well with you and yours!

  2. I love that you bravely pursued what brought YOU Joy! I think that you Love is what God loves. There is a core of Love in Garrison God loves. I am a big fan too. Don't forget who Jesus chose to hang with and Love. Just keep focusing on loving as Jesus did, without judgement. I loved reading your experience!

    1. Thanks, Maureen! In today's society we really have to figure out how to love without judgment. It's so hard! I want to stay true to biblical truth always, but I know there's always a call to love. "In essentials, unity; In nonessentials, diversity; In all things, charity"

  3. Hello Robyn, I came across this while searching for the precise lyrics to the ditty he had the crowd sing..."We are aging Progressive Democrats"... I could hardly believe what I read, because I was there, in the front row with a man named Gary (my husband), lol! I paid a bunch to get RIGHT UP FRONT. I kinda of knew GK is a leftist, but I didn't want to know (make sense?), I didn't want to think about it or let it keep me from finally seeing him (and the show) before it was too late. Your words speak to me so well, I feel very much the same. Hubs and I were sitting down front to your left. I don't know if you noticed, but there were several empty seats there. There was one couple next to us and beyond that, approximately 6 empty front row seats. (I thought they'd haul somebody down from the back to fill them, but they didn't.) Anyway, just had to comment to tell you I was there, too! LOLOL. You look quite a bit younger than the bulk of the crowd there that night, as did I and my husband (and he and I aren't all that young, it was an old crowd).

    1. Hi "Keep Trying," :-)
      So glad you found my post...and shared the front row with me! I forgot that there were empty seats - I paid a lot for my seat, but I'm glad I did. I enjoyed that night so much. (The people to my right were related to one of the staff so they got their seats for free that night - lucky them) Thanks for commenting! ~Robyn