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Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.

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October 26, 2006 | 2 Comments

Dear Mr. Keillor,
When I was younger, my father and I would work on his car and you would always be playing on the radio. My father bought the Lake Wobegon tapes and I would sneak them out of his study and listen to them late at night. Now I am serving overseas in the Army. I don't get to hear your show that much but recently I received A Prairie Home Companion on DVD and it has helped lift my spirits and the spirits over here in Iraq, as I have watched the movie with many other soldiers. I just wanted you to know that.

Thank you for doing what you do and I look forward to raising my son listening to your show and working on cars in the future.

Jeremy C.

Glad you liked the DVD and had I known you'd be watching it in Iraq, I might've put more women in it, maybe a dance line during some of the songs. I'm in Flint, Michigan, as I write this, and in the airport terminal is a car you might consider buying when you get back. A 1949 Buick Dynaflow, a handsome car with the little vent holes on the side of the hood. That's a car a person could enjoy working on, from back when people did that. Before cars got all computerized and complicated. My dad loved to work on cars but he didn't see a need to teach me so I am utterly ignorant. About cars and about much else, but it's too late to catch up. There comes a point when one must live with one's ignorance.


When I was 15, back in the dark ages of 1975, I bought a 1970 green Chevy Malibu for $300. A big car for a small teenage girl. When I lifted the hood I saw a large imposing engine, a radiator, & a battery. Knowing it was a good way to meet boys I sought to learn how to do my own repairs: fiddling with the carburator, changing fan belts & oil & spark plugs. The trunk was so big & deep that I could fit a dozen spare tires & a few bodies- if the situation should ever arise (like, for example, getting friends into the drive-in for free).

Today I am a mom with a Honda Civic. I lift the hood and it appears that R2D2 had a few too many cans of oil the night before: thrown up wires & computer parts are barfed all over the engine block. I have no idea where the wiper fluid goes let alone if this car even HAS a carburator! I think there may be a battery in there somewhere, but it beats me where they hid it. On a slippery day I can squeeze a small suitcase & duffle bag in the trunk, but I have to remove the spare tire first. I tried to change my tire one time, but somehow managed to crack the plastic hub cap. I've been too depressed about the whole situation to ever bother replacing it. Plastic hub caps indeed!

Now that tire looks like a black eye on my car. Although it is not as painful as the one my ego has suffered becuase of all this new fangled car technology. So, just to show 'em all over at the car factory that I refuse to be entirely enslaved to their evil technology I don't even use my air conditioning! Ha, that'll show 'em! I didn't have air conditioning back in 1975 & I got along just fine.

Dear Mr. Keillor,

I am a recent discoveror of your show, with about 6 months of listening under my belt. So far so good, at least no permanent damage as of yet. Mentioning the Buick DynaFlow- While I am not familiar with the actual car, the term 'DynaFlow' also refers to the transmission in the old Buicks. I had a '58 Buick Super with that tranny, and it was a truly terrible mechanical lump, as I found out later in life in my trade as a transmission mechanic. It didn't even SHIFT!! Anyway, love the show, keep up the good work son!

John Needham, Kenosha, Wisconsin (GO BEARS!)

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