Wednesday, August 18, 2010

An Evening At Lake Wobegon Part II

Besides the signs I printed an taped to the truck windows, I also made this pin and wore it the whole night. It's amazing what you can do with scotch tape, duct tape, a safety pin and a picture printed from the internet. (Didn't get me back to see the guy, but it was worth a try.)

Garrison Keillor and Sarah Watkins (former member of the bluegrass band 
Nickel Creek) singing one of my favorite Elvis hits along with the audience.

Garrison, Sarah and Fred Newman performing a Guy Noir skit. (Fred Newman does great sound effects. He is also a voice actor and played the character of Skeeter and Mr. Dink in the cartoon "Doug.")

I read that a lot of the stuff that Garrison does is off the cuff, using no script. After watching this show, I believe it. As he is telling a story, Fred Newman is doing the sounds for what he is describing. There were times he was barely keeping himself from laughing, and the looks he sometimes gave Garrison were hilarious. (And now I know what a pterodactyl chasing down a man who's hunting mushrooms sounds like.)

At the beginning of the show, Garrison and Sarah walking through the audience. They did that again during the short intermission, when they sang the song in the video I posted, but they walked down this same aisle both times. Guess where my seat will be next time.

Toward the end of the show, Garrison gave us the news from Lake Wobegon; where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking and all the children are above average.

After the show, and the long wait while the very packed parking lot cleared out, Troll Doll and I stopped at Denny's in Black Mountain for some much needed coffee. It was way past our bedtime, and the drive was pretty long...about 2 hours. It was well worth it, though.

It was a great show. Didn't get too many pictures, but that's fine. I just enjoyed sitting back and listening to the stories and music. And as for souvenirs, there was a "Summer Love Tour" tote bag that I almost bought, It was only $10. But, in the end common sense won out. Tote bags are to me like purses or shoes are to most other women, and I need another one like I need a hole in the head.  :)

If you ever get a chance to see "A Prairie Home Companion" live, go for it. It really was fun.

But next time, Mr. Keillor, I will get to meet you. I already have a plan in the works. MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

An Evening At Lake Wobegon Part I

Well, I didn't get to meet the man, but I made it to the show, and that's good enough for me. I got a few pictures...from a distance mind you, but  reminders of the night none-the-less. Actually, I didn't take a whole lot of pictures in the end. I was too busy enjoying the show itself.    :-)

Brought my Troll Doll with me for company. This was taken from my original seat. I ended up switching with someone whose wife really needed the end seat. I moved to the third seat in, which was fine. Sat next to another Minnesota native. Cool. 

The sign I made for the back window of the truck.

Had one of these in each back side window. 

Took this video just to show the venue. The people on the lawn ended up getting rained on for a bit, but no one seemed to mind, and it really didn't last long. 

That's the start of it all anyway. Tune in for Part II tomorrow.   :-)

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Realization of a Dream

In late 1990, I was 20 years old and living in Waycross, Georgia. My apartment was one of four in an old house that had been converted. There were two apartments upstairs and two downstairs. Mine was the smallest as there was a laundry room put in behind it. I had two rooms and a tiny bathroom. When you visited my apartment, you walked in to a combination living room kitchen. The kitchen area, separated by a kind of bar/counter, was a tiny bit larger than the living room, which was only big enough for the one chair it contained.

The bed room was connected to the living room by two doors. One was just the usual door leading right to the other room, the other was a bit odd. You opened that door up to the closet that both rooms shared. You could walk through the closet to get to either room if you wanted. I guess it was their way of giving you a sort of coat closet area from the living room (like you even had room to entertain enough people to need a coat closet).

During the time I lived in this apartment, I had no telephone or television. What I did have was my library card and the radio. Not having a car, or a driver’s license for that matter, I would often walk to the library and lug home stacks of books. At night, I would either sit in the living room in front of the little gas heater and read, or talk my Walkman radio (remember those?) out on the front porch and just sit in the dark and listen.

One thing I loved about this apartment was the fact I could just open up the front window and, ducking my head down just a little, walk right out onto the front porch. I didn’t like using the front door a lot at night because I was always afraid of disturbing my neighbor across the hall (which is also why I wouldn’t turn on the porch light). So, I’d go through the window, sit in one of the rocking chairs on the front porch and scan through the channels on my Walkman looking for something to listen to.

One night, a voice came over the airwaves that immediately brought my scanning to a halt. I listened to him for a few minutes and realized he sounded like my dad. I had come across Garrison Keillor, whom I would learn was from Minnesota, which is probably why he sounded like me dad who was born and raised in St. Paul (where I was born as well). My dad and I weren’t close, but I often got sentimental for him and for Minnesota even though I hadn’t lived there since I was 6 years old.

For 20 years, I have been a fan of Garrison Keillor and his radio show, which was later called “The Prairie Home Companion.” I can’t say I listen every week, but I listen as often as I can. No matter what’s been going on in my life, his show has always been there. My big dream was to one day travel to St. Paul to visit my dad and take him to see the show at The Fitzgerald Theatre there (the show’s home base basically). Unfortunately, that never happened. But, I have continued to dream of seeing the show live.

Tomorrow night, I am finally realizing that dream. After 20 years, I am going to see Garrison Keillor when he brings “The Prairie Home Companion Summer Love Show” to Brevard. And I’m hoping to get to actually meet him and have my picture taken with him as well. How cool would that be!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Quick Story and the One Week Countdown

OK, first off I have to elaborate on an incident I mentioned last time. I'm sure you all have been sitting on pins and needles since I mentioned in passing my interview with the naked man during my recent stint a a census enumerator. Well, the wait is over.

During my first week driving around talking to people for the census, I met a very unusual man. When I pulled up to his house, and he came outside to speak to me, he was wearing a pair of cutoff jean shorts. He made the comment that it was good that he'd heard me coming up his driveway because at the time he had been outside washing his Harley naked. Now this guy lives in a very rural area and his house cannot be seen from the road or his neighbors' houses, so each his own.

So, we sat down in a couple lawn chairs and started the usual census questions, and as he was telling me about washing his Harley naked he asked "you don't mind nakedness, do you?" Well, silly me, I thought he was just talking...trying to see how I'd react...that kind of thing, so I said no. HA. Joke's on me. He said "good" then stood up and stripped off his shorts.

Here we sat, me keeping my eyes on the questionnaire and him just sitting there in all his glory. Now, some people have told me I was crazy and that I should have insisted he put his clothes back on or gotten up an left. (And let me tell you, my husband, whom I thought would get a laugh out of this whole thing, was not happy when he heard about it.)

I didn't tell him to get dressed because I was kinda startled by the whole thing, and still trying to be polite I reckon. His yard and all that, and he wasn't in the least bit threatening. I mean, this was a tiny little old man. Well, maybe not "old" but older...let's say that. (And from the way he was acting, I kind of wonder if he'd been smoking the "happy" cigarettes.) Ya' know, if I was going to have to interview a naked man, he could have at least looked like Hugh Jackman. **sigh**

Then, there was the fact I was sitting in this crappy lawn chair, and with my knee acting up the way it was that week (osteoarthritis sucks), there was no way I could get up and run. And, I surely didn't want to have to come back to his house, or send someone else out there to deal with this situation.

So, there I sat, asking him the questions, and keeping my eyes averted as best I could. At one point, he said something about friends of his saying his penis didn't appear normal and asked if it looked normal to me. OMG! I didn't look, merely paused in my questions long enough to say that I wouldn't know as I hadn't seen that many in my life. :-)

It was an interesting day, and I am working on an essay about it to add to the book of essays I'm writing. And who knows, this fella may end up in my novel as well. I mean, fact really is stranger than fiction. And it's like I told my crew leader later that week. When I signed up for that job, in the back of my mind I was a bit worried about someone pulling a gun on me. I never thought I'd have to worry about someone pulling a penis.

There are a couple more details to this story, but you'll have to read my essay when it gets published. :-)

**Side note: Seven days and counting. In exactly one week, I will be in Brevard for Garrison Keillor and his Prairie Home Companion Summer Love Show.**