autumn days

Thursday, January 12, 2012

garrison keilor (movie review)

Lying with my sleeping beauties tonight, I was able to watch an entire movie on my little Kindle.  My goodness, I don't remember when I've watched an entire movie at home in the last year.  What a treat!  And I feel like I have spent the last couple hours with one of my favorite (though famous) people.  Garrison Keillor: the Man on the Radio in the Red Shoes.  I grew up listening to Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion radio show on Saturday afternoons as my dad worked in the garage.  It is a futile effort to try to listen to the radio show nowadays with two busy young children wanting my full attention.  With this movie, I loved watching Garrison talk about his life, fearing it would be ordinary, and finally realizing that everyone lives a wonderfully ordinary life.

The two lines that brought out my emotions were these, roughly translated.  "When you get to be the age I am now, you start seeing things as a child of 12 or 13 again, fuzzy around the edges."  I see my mother doing this now in her 13 year of retirement, reliving the joys and wonder and freedom of her childhood.  Garrison also said this: "As children we see the world as it really is and then we spend the rest of our lives trying to remember what we saw."  I am sad for taking my job as a parent so seriously, though I know I am helping my children and myself build memories we'll enjoy for the rest of our lives.  In the background, I am still grieving for what was lost in my own childhood and missing my estranged brother.  My mother says she remembers being a carefree happy child.  At this time in my life, my childhood memories are dominated by fear, pain, and calculating for my own safety.  The playtime outdoors with neighbors pales in the background.  One day soon I will be able to recall more wonderful feelings from my own childhood.  Garrison had many other wise words to share.  "We have to live in the past and the present because the past is who we were.  Experiencing things from our past helps us feel young again."  "Governments and policies rise and fall, famous people die, but kindness prevails.  America's prevailing quality is kindness."  This film gives me the opportunity to reflect on my past and connect it with my future with a dash of kindness and hope.

In his radio show, Garrison speaks of being a bachelor farmer in a town of 300 people.  Somehow, I feel he's speaking of my family's roots.  My father is from South Dakota and has shared a few sentiments from the midwest.  He grew up eating breakfast, dinner, and supper and now he is grateful to have Oregon rains instead of endless snow to shovel.  I am grateful my father was drawn to Garrison's radio show and shared it with me.  Growing up with Garrison in my garage on Saturday afternoons, I grew up feeling quite comforted by the constancy and humor and love in his voice.  He was like a grandfather to me.  His show began in 1974 and continues to this day.  I look forward to listening to the Prairie Home Companion radio shows someday from the beginning.  Perhaps my children will want to listen to the shows with me.  For now, watching this sweet movie while cuddling my sleeping babes is enough.

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