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June 19, 2007 | 9 Comments

Mr. Keillor:
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.

Thanks.

Michael N.
Colfax CA

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.


9 Comments


Garrison-you made me smile when you talked about dining with giants. Don't you know that they were probably thinking the same about you?! :- )
I just have to know that they were thinking of YOU as the hero and not the other way around.
One of the many reasons I love you...


glad to hear you're hostin the carolina chocolate drops.they are terrific ! i won't get to catch the show but hope someday you'll rerun it fo the listeners of wsci charleston, s.c. thanks, david mikell


It seems like parenthood itself, the song and skit commentaries are evenly divided over gender: women seemed to like it and guys did not. Odd that the men were so squeamish about it and that the gals took it in stride. Something to be learned here.


We fathers know how much more fatherhood means than the mere act which initiates it (the easy part), I heartily laughed at the satire. My soon to be 15 year-old sons listened with me after church (as they were quite ready to). As we sat outside talking about it amongst a bounty of birds, squirrels, and yes, bees- I was fortunately the last person which had to explain to them it was truly more than just the sex act...


P.S. After listening to these sketches I couldn't help but think how the mail bag must be really overflowing on account of it. Which is truly ironic when you think about it...


Ok 2 things about the Father's Day show.
1) I laughed, a lot at the song & the skit actually through the whole show.
2) In between laughter during the Fatherhood song I thought, "Boy he's gonna get a lot of mail on this one!" Then I heard the Sperm skit and thought, "Oh he's going to get A LOT of mail yes indeed."
Garrison's in Troubleee. (say in singsong child voice)
Excellent show, a wink and a nod and more. Thank you.


I heard this song while driving with my girlfriend to dinner and a was absolutely amazed that someone would write a country song about sperm. I felt a tad embarrased about my girlfriend hearing it, but I didn't dare turn the radio off, lest I would miss a moment of such a brilliant song. The girl broke up with me about a week later, but I do not hold the song, Mr. Keillor, or anyone at Prairie Home Companion responsible.


Dear Mr. Keillor:

That's quite a vision you created: you, Gary Snyder, and John McPhee at breakfast. Whoever it was that put it all together sure travels in exalted company. I would pay money to read all about it in a literary magazine.

A big fan of yours,

Pear Ubu


I just came across this old post. Chico is very famous in the California farming community. The Agricultural School there introduced Kiwi fruit to the state's growers with their experimental plot. Wanna-be Kiwi growers consider it Mecca: they put it on their must-do list. They might even spend 1-3 nights there while they learn all the ins and outs of the business. Sometimes they stay ath HIs, where there are nice, clean 2-bunk rooms for $28.00. Of course, depending on the location, Kiwi can turn out to be a risky businesss. A grower I know in a marginal frost zone got just 11 fruit from a crop one year, 6 the next. But what's life without a little adventure? By the way, January is an excellent time to visit Chico. There's a better chance of experiencing some excitement such as real weather! Glad you could get to know Chico!

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