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Dear Mr. Keillor, I suffer

June 23, 2004 |

Dear Mr. Keillor,
I suffer from ennui, melancholy, and nostalgia for places I've never been to. There's a word for that but I forget. Anyway, listening to your show makes me feel, well, hopeful. You wrote something once about God and the end of one's nose that always makes me feel better. And I am really enjoying your new book.

Thank you,
Phoebe

Phoebe,
Nothing wrong with melancholy and a little dip in the road sometimes. I donít suffer from ennui much, maybe my memory is not good enough, but nostalgia for strange places, yes, of course. I look at old color photographs taken in the late Thirties by Farm Service Administration photographers of small towns in Alabama and a place called Pie, New Mexico, and feel a powerful tug. Of course, having been born in 1942, I am closer to that era than you are, but the sight of those weathered faces and those faded clothes (faded by laundering, and not for fashion) and the musicians sitting in the corner of a living room playing and the dancers kicking up their size 12 feet ----- it makes me wistful. And then I remind myself that penicillin wasnít around back then and neither was the open-heart surgery that saved me from an early death from congestive heart failure. And that reduces my nostalgia somewhat.

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