I must say... this year's 4th of July goes down as my most memorable. Our decision to attend Garrison Keillor's 35th anniversary live Prairie Home Companion broadcast in Avon, Minnesota this past Saturday was an unbelievable experience! Dick and I, accompanied by my sister Rita and her husband Jerry, arrived at Lake Wobegon Park at noon to set our lawn chairs in place then we hit the Lake Wobegon bike trail to ride 6 miles to Albany then back to Avon to eat our picnic lunch while we waited for the 4:45 p.m. performance to begin. Take a look at this photo so you can see how close we were to the stage... 4th row back to be exact. I did not zoom in to take this photo. It is exactly what we saw from where we sat. (Actually if you click on the photo to enlarge it, you'll get a more accurate idea of our vantage point.) To fully appreciate our proximity to the outdoor stage, you must realize that there were thousands in attendance and the crowds stretched a very very long way behind us.
As a tribute to the celebration of our country's Independence Day, patriot songs, poems, and stories were interspersed throughout the performance. At one point a breeze caused a stack of papers laying on the podium to scatter to the stage floor. Their sequence now in disarray, a visibly shaken and flustered stage hand attempted to rapidly restore their order. The live nature of the show did not afford them the luxury of retaping or "taking five" to reestablish a prior point in time. How did Mr. Keillor react to the unscripted situation? He calmly picked up a few papers and began to gently fan the face of a World War II veteran, that was sharing his life story, to cool him on a hot early July evening. Having been a guest at another of his Prairie Home Companion broadcasts a couple years ago at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, my observation is that this easy-going manner is his trademark. His slow paced, but deliberate, rambling storytelling style has a magically calming effect on his listeners.
Don't ya just love Garrison Keillor's casual attire right down to his trademark red socks and sneakers?
The "fine folks of Avon" apparently didn't envision the huge turnout for this event, so the Beebop-A-Reebop Rhubarb Pie & Powdermilk Biscuit-Strawberry Shortcake was sold out well before the crowds had satisfied their craving to sample the enticing desserts. In fact, the last piece of rhubarb pie was sold to the person standing directly in front of Rita and I in the long... very long, but rapidly moving, line we stood in to purchase one! Despite, or because of, not being able to try them, it peaked my curiosity to research powdermilk biscuits. Are they biscuits made with dry milk powder? Buttermilk powder? Are they just a figment of Mr. Keillor's wild imagination?
Thank you, Garrison Keillor, for sharing your talents and entertaining us on this 4th of July 2009 as you have done so eloquently for the past 35 years. You have provided a snippet in time to be remembered for years to come and have set a standard to aim towards... a simple slower-paced Lake Wobegon lifestyle and attitude, even if just for a moment each day, to slow our breath and absorb our surroundings and appreciate the people who are part of our lives.
Saturday, July 4, 2009 Today’s mileage: 12-mile bike ride on the Lake Wobegon Trail from Avon to Albany and back to Avon Total Mileage for July: 16 miles Bible reading? No.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Today’s mileage: 12-mile bike ride on the Lake Wobegon Trail from Avon to Albany and back to Avon
Total Mileage for July: 16 miles
Bible reading? No.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Today’s mileage: 0
Total Mileage for July: 16 miles (same as yesterday)
Bible reading? Yes.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Today’s mileage: 4-mile bike ride from home to the Crow Wing Co. Airport and the County Garage and back home
Total Mileage for July: 20 miles
Bible reading? Yes.