A hard year and trouble brewing everywhere, Insurance companies and banks sliding headfirst Toward oblivion at 50 cents a share And heading south. The bubble has burst and our mortgaged castle in the air Will likely crash and burn, but don’t despair, Though probably our pension fund is cursed. For still we have this lovely love affair In which we are so steadily immersed And if we must go on welfare and wear Used clothes and live on angel hair and liverwurst, Still I’ll smile whenever I see you there, Bathing in the creek behind our shack, I’ll love you still and hope you love me back.
by Garrison Keillor
Here by the enormous swimming pool at the Biltmore Twenty-six young dark-skinned women lie In tiny bikinis like mermaids on the shore, And I, bound for Ithaca, just sail on by, Heading for you, Penelope, to tell the tale, How that whole Trojan War gave me the willies, The pointlessness of it, and I set sail, Having paid off Homer and left Achilles In his tent, and was lucky to get a favorable wind And stopped here at the Biltmore to recompute My course, and found twenty-six dark skinned Women, their breasts displayed like fresh fruit . Thanks but no thanks. They only want a tan. . You, dear, love a good story. I’m your man.
“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.” .
by Garrison Keillor
You made crusty bread rolls filled with chunks of brie
And minced garlic drizzled with olive oil
And baked them until the brie was bubbly
And we ate them lovingly, our legs coiled
Together under the table. And salmon with dill
And lemon and whole-wheat cous cous
Baked with garlic and fresh ginger, and a hill
Of green beans and carrots roasted with honey and tofu.
It was beautiful, the candles, the linen and silver,
The sun shining down on our northern street,
Me with my hand on your leg. You, my lover,
In your jeans and green T-shirt and beautiful bare feet.
How simple life is. We buy a fish. We are fed.
We sit close to each other, we talk and then we go to bed.
I have recently been forced to take my diabetes seriously. It’s a bit like an alcoholic telling everyone he’s an alcoholic. By doing so he hopes that everyone else will hold them accountable. The problem with diabetes, at least for me, is because I wasn’t diabetic for 54 years, everyone seems to think if I would just exercise a bit more, lose a few pounds and eat right it would be fine. I wish it was that simple. There is nothing simple about my diabetes. I wake up and before I have eaten anything my blood sugars are so far above my target that I start the day feeling like I can’t eat anything. If I use my blood glucose monitor as the green flag for actually eating there are days I completely fast and never get in the target range. It’s no way to live.
I like to cook, I like to eat. I am a decent cook. My relationship with food has completely changed in the past 3 months, and I feel betrayed. I feel like I can’t enjoy the simplicity of bread and cheese and a glass of wine unless I am going to ignore my blood sugars and the nagging of loved ones that something which was perfectly normal until recently is now some kind of violation of being a good person. Eating normal food in moderation is not a moral failing for diabetics. But the only way to be seen as virtuous is to deny myself even the most simple of things. Diabetes is like becoming a Catholic priest and having to swear an oath of celibacy, but in this case its swearing off the occasional treat of peanut M and M’s.
I refuse to be defined by my diabetes. I am going to make an attempt at trying to get it mostly under control, but my experience is doctors are only too happy to play the blame and shame game and watch your A1c climb year after year without really giving you all the tools to manage the disease because type II diabetes is considered a life style disease. But I’m not overweight. And I don’t eat a lot of sugars. My body just doesn’t make insulin anymore. So, I can decide to live like a monk and stop enjoying food or I can accept that this disease is likely going to kill me eventually. The good thing is its going to kill me really slowly, plenty of time to enjoy life and eat lots of great food.
by Robert Louis Stevenson
. . Come up here, O dusty feet!
Here is fairy bread to eat.
Here in my retiring room,
Children, you may dine
On the golden smell of broom . . And the shade of pine;
And when you have eaten well,
Fairy stories hear and tell.
“It’s a shallow life that doesn’t give a person a few scars.”
The Anger of Women
by Garrison Keillor
The anger of women pervades the rooms
Like a cold snap, and you wait for the thaw
To open the window and air out the anger fumes,
And then a right hook KA-POW to the jaw!
And she says three jagged things about you
And then it’s over. She bursts into tears,
The storm spent, the sky turns sky-blue.
But a man’s heart can hurt for many years.
I have found the anger of women unbearable.
And when my goddesses have cursed the day
They met me and said those terrible
Things, I folded my tent and stole away.
I yielded to their righteous dominion
And went off in search of another opinion.
There are very few men whose reputations have been upended by the #metoo movement that I have felt compassion. For the vast majority the weight of the accusations has been overwhelming. Whatever disruption in their lives came about by shining a light on their criminal behavior or bad behavior is only a start to the justice the victims deserve. I want to make it clear that I think the #metoo movement is an important force for positive change which I fully support.
However, I have read the accusations against Garrison Keillor and scratched my head a little by the response from Minnesota Public Radio. If there is nothing more behind Keillor’s behavior than what was reported in the news, then the actions taken by Minnesota Public Radio feel to me like he is the aggrieved not his accuser. It’s not that my fondness for Keillor’s writing and Prairie Home Companion is clouding my judgement. It’s when does a lifetime worth of good work get erased without a day in court? When do we allow a person’s reputation to be destroyed without allowing them to address their accuser? It felt extremely hypocritical by MPR, a very profitable non-profit that was built on the back of Prairie Home Companion’s success. Let’s make no mistake, Prairie Home Companion was the brain child of Garrison Keillor and although he was just one artist among a talented group of artists, the bulk of the creation that was PHC was Keillor’s. He was responsible for not only its sustained quality over decades but he wrote virtually the entire show every week. I cannot listen to Chris Thile’s Live From Here and completely enjoy it, until Garrison Keillor is welcomed back for a cameo. Thile is a talented artist and his show entertaining but everything he will accomplish is tainted in my mind if he and MPR do not acknowledge that the road to this show’s success was paved by Keillor.
The question is whether the sentence fits the crime in this case? If taken at face value, Keillor is guilty of inappropriate leering and flirting in the workplace. It’s not acceptable behavior, but I wonder why was it not dealt with professionally at the time by management? There is zero accusations of sexual assault, nor was there multiple women accusing him. If blundering, inappropriate sexual attraction is sufficient cause to destroy a person’s career and legacy, enough to justify MPR turning its back on its biggest star, then the legacy of the #metoo movement in this case is not justice or a move forward, it resembles more mob action with a guillotine running a muck in the streets of St. Paul, looking for its next victim for blood sport.
In this situation, I hope there is justice for both the accuser and the accused. I hope that the art that Garrison Keillor created is judged on its merits. Art created by an artist who may be a flawed human being, but when is being human and flawed a fatal disease to be shunned? Keillor crafted a world I enjoyed visiting on Saturday afternoons for decades. He was committed to support of poetry and support of book arts over his entire career on the radio. He wrote countless books that bring me enjoyment. If we are to judge each other on only our worst actions and ignore all the good on the other side of the ledger, we will all look ugly in the eye’s of our judges. I for one, do not want to live in that world. I want to live in a #metoo world that is also equally focused on forgiveness. And for what its worth, I forgive Garrison Keillor.