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.|
|A self-conscious selfie before the fun begins.|
|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?
* Click here for a "Duane and Mom" skit from the 40th Anniversary Show (about 6 minutes long)