Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.
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June 19, 2007 |
Your monologue last week about your teacher reminded me of my ethics professor at Chico State. I caught him at the end of his career. Most people thought he was nuts, and to some degree he was. I enjoyed him so much! We would argue in class, then we'd argue out of class. He was bold, abrasive, unapologetic, and at times inspiring. I started helping him at his home on Sundays. He'd fix me lunch, and I'd help him in the garden. He always overpaid me, and sent me home with food, and much to think about. After college I didn't see him much, but we would write letters occasionally. My mother died suddenly four years ago. The week I was up there, helping with funeral stuff, when I had a moment, I went over to his home to tell him what had happened. Turns out he had also died... I miss him. I am going up to Chico tomorrow. Your story has motivated me to pay a visit to his wife, and bring her some flowers.
You're welcome, Michael. I remember Chico from a couple years ago when I did a lecture there and stayed at a B&B in town. A graceful farming town and unpretentious university town, with modest woodframe houses, ranch-style, open floor plan, with breezeways and porches. A man came to my lecture and afterward invited me to breakfast the next morning with two writer heroes of mine, Gary Snyder and John McPhee. Snyder was teaching there at the time. We all sat around and had coffee and McPhee talked about the river delta he was researching for a book and it was very relaxed and comradely, which somehow you don't expect when you dine with giants.