Monday, June 26, 2006

I live on Woebegone Draw*.

*A draw is a lengthy dent in the earth that water drains down when it rains. Eventually, miles and miles from here, the draw will finally drain into a river. We like to pretend that draws are waterways, but they are really just big wide dips in the road.

One of the things Jackson and I did this weekend was go to the movies. We have a decent little theater here in Fake Cow County. The best thing about it is the full price movie admission is $4.25. Matinees for two bucks! It's small and the sound system is not the greatest, but it'll do. (I still miss the dollar movie at the old Granada Theatre, but that's another story.)

Being in a small town in a highly mobile society, our local theater has to appeal to the lowest common denominator to stay in business. That means kid movies and slasher movies. If you want to see some of the better stuff, you have to travel. So, we searched out the only multi-plex monstrosity in Big Flat City that was showing "A Praire Home Companion." (Last door on your right - dinkiest little screen in the whole place.)

Let me admit, up front, that I do not listen to Praire Home Companion as a general rule. I don't much care for the music. Its like baseball - I enjoy the games in person, live, but can't stand to watch it on TV or listen to it on the radio. This type of music is the same for me.

I enjoy going to small town oprys and jamborees. I like open air concerts on the Fourth of July. I love county festivals and fairs where this music and schtick is performed live. MostIy I have fun watching other people enjoying old jokes and old songs.

But, to steal from Cheesehead, Garrison Keillor is my radio boyfriend. He will always remain only a radio boyfriend because of his startling resemblance to a bullfrog. He looks like a child killer in a cheezy horror film. But then he speaks and all at once God is in his heaven and all is right with the world. Watching this movie is like sleeping in a feather bed under a heavy quilt on a cold, cold night.

I want to be him when I grow up.

Jackson and I got there early, but the theater was already filling up. We were the only ones there who were not drawing social security. A frosty-haired foursome arrived after we did, but still well before the previews. (Promptness is a virtue.) They sat right in front of us. The men had evidently imbibed a bit at the all-you-can-eat catfish buffet before heading over to the picture show. They were having a good time. They shot a lot of crummy old jokes back and forth before the lights dimmed. We smiled.

There is a bit of a scene at the end of the film when the group tells a joke. It is so old that they all know what's coming before its told. So old that they can each contribute a part of the punchline. So old - but we (the audience and the performers) all still laughed. Why do we still laugh? I don't know. Why do you still recite creeds even though you memorized them years ago? Is it the same thing?

The movie ended with an old hymn. As the credits rolled, one of the guys in front of us stood up and announced to his companions that he didn't need to go to church on Sunday. He'd already been. *rimshot*

I think he was right.

13 comments:

Songbird said...

I often feel that way when I get a chance to hear the show on Saturday night (but of course I have to go to church anyway!).

bill said...

A couple weeks ago I was listening to an interview on NPR with a greeting card artist. I think maybe he had one of those alternative greeting card companies or something. I didn't quite understand since I don't buy greeting cards.

Anyway, one of his examples had a punchline to the effect of "you know you're old when you have your alarm set to wake up to NPR in the morning." I nearly wrecked my car! I had been waking up to NPR for the last 20 years. It never occurred to me that NPR listeners were a particular age or generational demographic. Now I really am curious about just who listens to NPR.

And Lake Woebegon too. Unlike you I like the radio program but haven't really considered seeing the movie. The music is one of my favorite parts of the program and I have to say that it has never seemed to me to bear any resemblance to the music I hear at small-town festivals or oprys. The main reason I haven't had much interest in the movie is that it doesn't have the musical artists in it that I associate with the radio show.

SpookyRach said...

Geeze, Bill! I have my alarm set to NPR, too. I must be old before my time. Sigh...

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

I loved this one Rach.

LOL...you got culture and I went and saw Click. ~grins~

booda baby said...

I'm sort of glad Garrison was an ugly child (is there adult onset ugly?) There are enough little blonde rosey cheeked polyster decked children among the Lutheran set. Those Lutherans have a lot to answer for. Me, for one, although I was long ago rescued by agnosticism. (I had to spell that about three times. lol)

Anyhoo, we're obliged (happily) to tune into PHC since we're from the same bland and religiously uneccentric neck of the woods. Garrison, Greg Brown, Carl Homstad, Joe Price ... much is explained. It's no wicked, weird mujermaravilla, but it's pretty damned close.

SpookyRach said...

Just goes to show, boodababy, there's weird everywhere. Out here in the boonies we think that midwesterners must be bastions of normalcy. Not true! Not true! ha ha!

Captainwow said...

hey I agree with that last part.

and the bullfrog resemblence! That's the missing piece! I have been saying that Garrison Keillor has to be related to Stephen King. if there was a bullfrog in the mix that would explain things, and then without the horror, they have that same rambling sense of humor....
or maybe that's just me.

anyway, I feel the need to say that I wrote my post before I read yours!! really. I wasn't copying! :o)

Captainwow said...

oh ya, and my alarm is set to NPR also. I didnt' know either that that made me old. heh.

Greek Shadow said...

I was exiled to your lillt burgh for four years and can remember waking up to two old geezers talking about the weather and farm prices instead of music so NPR or anything would have been better than that. I remember Grady Nutt (may he rest in peace) remarking about the school there being 40 miles for the nearest known sin.

Lorna said...

GREAT writing Rach

SpookyRach said...

Oh my gosh, G-shadow! I had totally forgotten about Grady Nut! I used to love him when I was a kid. He's pretty well right about the 40 mile thing. There's plenty of sin here, but you have to travel to get to the really interesting sins.

beth said...

Great post...I used to wake up to NPR but then realized that it didn't really wake me up; I just kept hitting the snooze button because those calm, collected voices were too soothing. Garrison actually has a syndicated poetry thing that comes on at 5:45 and THAT'S cool, to have that voice hit your ears first thing...

5:45 is too early, tho. I used my cell alarm now.

On Stephen King and GK - obviously, they are twins, separated at birth. Master storytellers, both - one stayed local and the other suffered some sort of trauma and turned to the dark side. Both are icons of our generation.

cheesehead said...

Lovely post.

But he's mine, mine, mine!

But I gotta say, Garrison makes Stephen King look like Brad Pitt, or at least Billy Bob Thornton.