Old man spends Sunday among Lutherans Posted on September 11, - Columns Back when I did a radio show in Minnesota, I liked to make fun of Lutherans for their lumbering earnestness, their obsessive moderation, their dread of giving offense. I was not paid to do this but I was offered coffee and doughnuts.
A great task lies before us, but first we sleep Small sorrows speak; great sorrows are silent. My current small sorrow is a daily flood of junk e-mail — cheap insurance, health nostrums, hernia repair, free loans, travel discounts, an app to find out if your spouse is unfaithful — a stream of crap generated in Orlando.
Meanwhile the great sorrow, the troubled state of our democracy, hangs in the air, the beloved country riven by dishonesty and invincible ignorance. Truckloads of stuff have gone out the door and there is yet more.
My particular problem is the compulsive purchase of books. Shelves of heavy tomes, classics of Western civilization, dozens of dictionaries, atlases, the complete works of great authors, two bookcases of biographies, enough books to occupy all my waking hours until I am four hundred and one years old.
I bought them myself, bag by bag, out of the lust for breadth of knowledge and now I am loading them into boxes and hauling them to the car. I do not take the complete essays of Michel de Montaigne to bed with me; I would rather have her.
I think it was Montaigne who said that the best sign of wisdom is cheerfulness. And so I surrounded myself with books. She has spent a busy month clearing out the house and playing viola in the pit at the opera. I was away from home most of last week and she was plagued by insomnia, and now she is falling asleep.
A month ago I was an intellectual striving to make intelligent comment on the new world of and now I am an elderly peasant whose physical presence helps his beloved to sleep. Some would see this as a loss of status; I do not.
I lie in the marital bed, her hand relaxes, which makes me happy, and I turn out the light. My face is against his mane, my arms around his neck. Off we trot to the meadow to rake up hay, the harness jingling, Uncle Jim clucking to the horses, the sweetness of new-mown grass in my nostrils, and that is all there is, there is no more.
What happened Sunday, in case you missed it Church was practically full last Sunday, with a few slight gaps for skinny fashion models but otherwise S. I was the third child in a family of six and the thought that my five siblings and two parents would lose their lives on my account weighed heavily and so in the morning, as a life-saving measure, I asked to be baptized, and Brother John Rogers led me into Lake Minnetonka, I in white trousers and white shirt, he in a blue serge suit, shirt and tie, and immersed me in the name of the Holy Spirit.
I have been careful crossing railroad tracks ever since. For one thing, I go because I read stories in the newspapers about declining church attendance and I hate to be part of a trend.
My mind drifts during the homily — the acoustics amid Romanesque splendor are truly lousy — and my thoughts turn to my beautiful wife and our daughter and various friends and relatives, Lytton and Libby, Bill Hicks the fiddler, Peter Ostroushko, Fiona the Chinese exchange student, and I pray for them.
I pray for solace and sustenance in their times of trial and I ask God to surprise them with the gift of unreasonable joy.
I pray for people caring for parents suffering from dementia and people caring for children who are neurologically complicated. I pray for the whales, the migrating birds, the endangered elephants. Then a blessing and a closing triumphant hymn as the clergy and deacons process down the aisle and then I go home.
Last week is erased, bring on Monday. The babies will grow up to be impatient with orthodoxy and eager to be other than whatever their parents are, but it was holy water they were splashed with, not Perrier, and who knows but what they might wander back into church one day and appreciate the self-effacement it provides.
Man does not live by frozen pizza alone. Sunday does not need to be like Saturday or Monday.
Turn down the volume, dim the bright flashing lights of ambition, look into your heart, think about the others, one by one. Not in the produce section of the supermarket. People need to be blessed.
Shouting and sarcasm and insult have not worked, so move on. God loves you, reader.Garrison Keillor began his literary career in as a radio comedian appearing on Minnesota Public Radio. From to , he hosted a live weekly radio show based in St.
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The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor: 'Walking to Oak-Head Pond, and Thinking of the Ponds I Will Visit in the Next Days and Weeks' by Mary Oliver, and the . How To Write A Letter by Garrison Keillor Summary: Garrison is talking about that we should write letters to our friends and family or really anyone that we want.
GARRISON KEILLOR How TO WRITE A LETTER Garrison Keillor (b. ), is the father of public radio's "A Prairie Home Companion" and sole proprietor of the mythical Lake Wobegon, "where.