Monday, March 30, 2009

our town

It's ridiculous, really, how my heart swelled with civic pride this weekend while listening to the Live Broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion coming out of Our Fair Metropolis. I listen to Garrison (yes, it's okay if I call him that--he's one of my Secret Ugly Boyfriends) often and enjoy him, but it seemed like the broadcast from my city was filled with a better audience--they had more energy, more palpable excitement coming over the airwaves. (No, I was not actually in the live audience. Tickets to Garrison sell faster than Packer tickets around these parts.) Hearing his musings on Our Fair Metropolis was a real thrill.

The show was jam packed with local talent and my town (where I actually live) even got a mention in the closing song. How totally cool was that?

One highlight was his description of what happens when someone leaves the door to their house open in our area. The neighbors will go inside, check to make sure everything is okay, take the socks out of the dryer and leave a note telling you as much before locking up on their way out.

He wasn't far off the mark. I've experienced:
* a neighbor "breaking in" to use my oven on Thanksgiving while I was out of town
* a stranger returning a stack of old financial statements that had blown out of our recycling pile (I hadn't the heart to tell him we were ridding ourselves of those papers)
* my lost children returned to me
* my lost checkbook turned in at the service counter
* flat tires repaired roadside
* a meal paid for by a stranger in a local restaurant
* a screen/storm door given to us by people we didn't know because they were re-doing their front door and thought their old door would be a perfect fit. It was.
* my children getting money for video games & gumball machines from strangers
* a Christmas tree blown off the roof of our car picked up and delivered to our house
* gifts of flowers, perennials, fresh produce
* strangers voluntarily keeping my baby/toddler entertained while I checked out at stores

Tennessee Williams coined the famous phrase about depending on the kindness of strangers in his play A Streetcar Named Desire. I don't like to depend on that kindness, but living where I do, I can.


  1. I have actually "broken" into my neighbor's house to use her oven on Thanksgiving. Last year they decided to stay home for Thanksgiving and I had to broil an appetizer on my grill.

  2. That does sound friendlier than my town...but I hope the neighbors at least left you some turkey leftovers :)

  3. And I love the new catch phrase of "passing kindness forward" ...

  4. My little town is like that too and I love it.

    I had the opportunity to see Garrison Keillor about 12 years ago. We were visiting my in-laws in NY and we went into the city on Christmas day for the live show. Even though I'm not a diehard Prairie Home Companion fan, it was still a wonderful experience.

    And when we came out of the theater, it was snowing -- soft gentle flakes of snow that made our Christmas complete.

  5. What an awesome tribute to your town!

  6. The life you describe is the one we all strive for, I think.
    So reassuring to know that it actually exists. Inspires me to cast away small cynicisms that get in the way and keep striving.

  7. Our once small town has become a Stepford Suburb, but reading your post reminds me of the earliest years of our lives here. Thanks for bringing a smile to my face and dredging up entirely cheery memories.

  8. Well, you know GK is my secret ugly boyfriend, too, and I still haven't gotten over missing the PHC Premiere, Street Dance and Meatloaf Supper last fall either!

    Your town, does however, sound like my hometown. City living has its perks, but a town full of good people can't be beat.

  9. Oh my gosh! It sounds like Mayberry. I can hardly believe there are places still like the one you live in. My favorite was the brake in to use your oven for the Thanksgiving!

  10. I could live in a place like that, quite happily. Where we live now is a garage community, where most of time, after people pull into their garages, you don't see them again until they leave again.

  11. How great is that?!
    I love Garrison too. My hubby and I even went to see him in Boston for our 20th anniversary. It was so fun!

  12. It sounds like a great place. I've lived a couple places like that...and I hope to retire some place like that.....and Garrison is MY BOYFRIEND. Mine. Although Suburban Correspondent keeps trying to arm wrestle me for his affections. I just want him to read to me in the dark!

  13. Sorry, I've got dibs on Garrison Keillor...and you can tell that hussy Mary Alice that if he is going to read poetry in the dark to anyone, it's going to be me!

  14. How wonderful. I'd like to be your neighbor. But your weather is worse than mine!

  15. Oh My husband loves GK. We've gone to see him twice. My husband has gone once by himself - I guess it's the Scandinavian humor he longs for

  16. Oh this makes me miss my hometown. My Grandpa hasn't locked his door in years. People often come in and leave him notes or cookies or other treats. It's one of the best things about life in a small town.

  17. That sounds so cool!!!!!! We had a murder 2 blocks away from us this weekend. Oh, and our across the street neighbor has had 2 cars stolen and one shot at.

    How's that for community? ;)

  18. so true! I listened to Garrison Saturday night, too. One of La Petite's high school classmates was a musical guest! We're the perfect community to host the PHC; the women are strong, the men are goodlooking, and the children, well, the children...they test well. Okay?

  19. I love Radio Garrison. However, I had two good friends who worked at MPR and knew the inside goop on him. He's kind of really mean. He makes his staffers cry.

    So, er, go for it!

  20. TC pointed the way here for me.. loved this!! And I've long loved Garrion K.. this is a special post to be read and re-read for all time - because it's timeless.

    Thank you for sharing!


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