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August 21, 2007 | 28 Comments

It was a birthday I had dreaded for months,
The threshold to Ancient & Historic,
Brooding over how I was so young once
And never would be again (alas, poor Yorick),
And then came the day itself, so very ordinary,
Quiet, dappled with sun, delightful. (And swift.)
One fine plain day on our excellent prairie,
And the ordinariness was its great gift.
Nothing happened. Coffee, fried eggs, and bacon,
A hot shower, the ordinary stuff of happiness,
To which I hope every morning to awaken
Until one day I don't, which is not for me to guess.
You turn thirty, forty, fifty, and then (O my God) sixty-five,
And it's all the same: to be (simply, deliciously) alive.


Happy Birthday Garrison. It's my 65th this year too, and I'm feeling exactly the same way. God! Me? Can't be! Oh well, it's better than the alternative.

Beautiful. My father passed away on August 13, 2007 at the age of 72. The last few birthdays, he expressed thoughts very similar to yours. He was hoping to make it to 73, which would have made him the oldest living male in the history of his family, but alas, it was not to be. On November 2, I will host a party in honor of what would have been Dad's 73rd birthday. I will give each guest a copy of this sonnet. Thank you for sharing it with us.

A momentous occasion that really isn't. You have led an interesting and creative life (several, in fact)and some of your best work may lie ahead. I know it's frustrating, just when you've got things figured out, it's time to go. There's always cryogenics, you know.

What a wonderful message! It's so revealing and heartwarming. There may be nothing we can do to stop the progress of time, but steps can be taken to ensure we age gracefully. I marvel at the ordinariness of your birth day, when life itself can be so extraordinary. It's at times like these when the heart can say, "Today is the first day of the rest of my life."

Dear Garrison.
A timely poem.
My father died yesterday. He was an Iowa farmboy
who joined the Navy for adventure in the 1940's. He
ended up in a small town in Southern Cal, where he
lived for the next 57 years. My husband Bruce says
he was "The salt of the earth". He lived as you describe --
simply and from day to day. He worked until his death.
Everyone loved him for his honesty. He had more friends than
anyone I've ever known.
Thank you for being there, and for the sonnet.


Happiest of Birthdays, Garrison..
You are Wonderful no matter what age you are...We are sooo grateful to have you in this world...You are a gift to us...I too can't relate to the numbers I keep accumulating...We all feel the same inside...That's what counts...Try to stay positive and healthy...I don't know what we would do without you...
Here's to you....Cheers!
Stay well and keep cheering us up with you wonderful shows and humor...We love and appreciate you...I'm looking so forward to the new shows for the season...We sympathized greatly with the Bridge Collapse..Lots of prayers for all of those involved..

Tina Scherr
Fort Collins, CO...

Happy Birthday Garrison,

What a blessing that you were born and lived to make us all appreciate our midwest roots AND to make us laugh at ourselves.

Your program gives me such joy.

Thank You!

Happy Birthday, Mr. Keillor. I am so very glad and thankful that you were born!

Health and happiness to you, always.

Naomi in Chicago

I need to tell you Garrison, 70 comes just as sweetly.

Dear Garrison, we are always the same age inside. Numbers? pshaw.
A very happy birthday to you, sir, and may you have many delicious awakenings to come!

Happy Birthday!

This is so beautiful and also timely. Tomorrow is my mother's 81st birthday and I will share this with her. On Monday; continuing her birthday celebration we will travel to Lake Superior and Grand Marais where we will sit on the breakwater watching the waves, walk the neighboring beaches searching for agates, eat Sven and Ole's pizza and buy garishly colored Beaver Flick fishing lures at the bait shop. I will rejoice in being able to, once more, enjoy the "ordinary stuff of happiness" with my mother. Thank you for sharing!!


My family and I sat very close to the stage at the Tanglewood show this year. That's when noticed the little things that led me to believe that you're a guy who really enjoys his job. You have a terrific onstage and offstage team and a loyal audience.

That's a good accomplishment for somebody of only 65 years. Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday with best wishes for many more, as we all do so enjoy your shows.

Mary Watkins
Cocoa, Florida

Happy Birthday, fellow Leo (a couple of days late)! 65? Pshaw! I turned 71 on July 26 -- don't look it, don't feel it, don't act like it! Just a state of mind, and if you have your health, well, good -- now you have Medicare too! I must admit 70 was a jolt last year, but there were lots of celebrations here at home in Laguna Beach, CA, and in Nampa, ID, where my brother and his family live. And to top it all off, I'm getting married in January to a sweet fella who will turn 65 next month! Now that's livin'!!
Hope you lived it up in grand Leo style......

Dear Mr. Keillor,

This is profound stuff, and reading people's wonderful reactions to it (as appreciative and understanding as my own personal reaction) is like manna in the desert.

You are so so right, and we who come to these realizations are so so fortunate, aren't we.

The body is magnificent and pleasurable, and also can break us with pain..... but the mind and spirit can fly. And anyway--remember the immature, pot-bellied, entirely unselfconscious body you had as a little kid?; older-age just means we get permission to go back to that freedom. Don't you think!

love and gratefulness like everyone else, a fan

My husband and I were on board the first two cruises and I must say they were one of the very biggest highlights of my husband's entire life! Not said lightly!! Unfortunately he is no longer with us, but between the first and the third cruise, two of our sons were married, and the third had our first grandchild -so I guess you'd call our 64-65th year very gratifying in many ways. Never forget people from the east coast can be among your best followers; we learned about your show 23-24 yrs. ago from a friend who is a still a NPR broadcaster. Happy Birthday (I turned 66, 2 days ago) and I hope you have many more in which to enjoy the "good life" and share it with the rest of us. Bethesda, MD

Dear Mr. Keillor:

Happy Birthday!

I think of your birthday every year, as yours is just five days before my late father's; he would've turned 65 this year too. I lost him 7 years ago at the much-too-young age of 58.

I've been a fan of yours for many years, and listening to your stories reminds me fondly of my Dad and his times growing up in rural northeastern Pennsylvania.

I cherish the humor and music and stories and poetry on A Prairie Home Companion each week. Please don't ever stop.

Dearest Garrison,
I've been with you so many years that your presence is a now part of "Me." Upon the occasion of your sixty-fifth, please accept my heartfelt thanks for your persistence in coming into my ear (and my heart) once a week to take me to Lake Wobegon with you, to share your adventures with those delightful people. As we all get closer to the morning when we won't wake up, it's the honest Friendships such as yours that become ever dearer. Congratulations on making a Difference in this World, for bringing us a constant light in the form of belly laughs and lumpy singing (on my part - not yours!) into my home. Making a difference is what every Writer hopes for, dreams of. And you, My Friend, have done it. WIth Love, Barbara, New Port Richey, Florida

Lovely poem for 65th! Already, I've topped you by 10. I'm eager to share your 75th.

You are story teller master. Now, you're showing us the soul of a poet. Why not do more of this and less music?

Thanks for the Saturday Night Fix.

Wonderfully said! My thoughts on turning fifty may have been slightly altered after reading your sonnet. I'm glad you were born!! Happy Birthday to you!

Age has been kind to you, Garrison. Your writing of the young woman at the next table,wondering about you(being 40, 50?) with 2 young 'babes' was PRICELESS! It seems that becoming 65 has motivated you to share more personal comments about yourself. Please is welcomed by those who have such respect and admiration for you. Happy 65th from someone who will soon 'be there'.

Happy Birthday! 65 is a pretty good birthday: Social Security, Medicare, senior citizen entry fees and fares. Telling yourself (because it's true) "Hey, I don't feel a day older than I did yesterday."

At 66, however, the thrill of these benefits wanes. Comes the morning you look in the mirror and some scary old geezer looks back at you. "Whoa! wha' hoppen????"

Don't even think about retiring; I won't permit it. My weekends would be hollow and empty without you.

Joy in Vancouver, WA

Dear Mr. Keillor,

I wish you a very happy belated birthday! I have a wonderful birthday story to tell. Yesterday I turned 59 years, and for my birthday our daughter bought us four tickets to your upcoming performance in 2008 in Bangor, ME. We have all been fans of your radio program since it began, and have also read your book and enjoy listening to your poetry readings on MPBN in the morning. We are so excited to be attending a live broadcast performance! I am shivering with joy, and cannot wait! It is the best birthday gift I could ever have received.


Pam McDermott

Dear Garrison:

I understand your sentiments perfectly. My birthday is: 8/7/42!!!! Sound familiar. I too had a nice day -- lunch with friends at a delightful country tea room!!


Feliz Cumpleanos as your Puerto Rican fans would say. I listened to your show in Nebraska, living there temporarily from New York City, and now have been in Southern California for about twenty years just soaking up the wide skies and natural wonders. Your honest and clear writing, with just the right touch of knowing humor, and the delightful and insightful travel essays of Russ Ringsak, make it worth powering up my computer!! Blessings on you and your talented staff!

Happy Happy Birthday to you
I knew this was going to be a hard birthday for you, because you told me as much when I got to meet you on the Norway cruise (Coffee with Garrison).
I had asked if you would mind signing a copy of your book "Home Grown Democrat" for me to give to my mom for her 81st birthday, which is Aug 8th or 9th-the date descrepancy between her mother and the mid-wife. My grandmother insisted that the mid-wife was drunk.......but that's another story.
Anyway you got this distant look in your eyes and said " I'm going to be 65 in a couple of weeks" .........long silence........"this is going to be a hard one for me". You seemed truly sad about it.
I'm glad to see that you are still alive and well and survived the day of 65. It's funny how you wake up the day after and you're still the same person you were when you were 64 the day before.
By the way my mom really enjoyed the book.

This is a truly late birthday wish- but congratulations- I turned 79 in June, and even after enduring many health problems in the recent past I am still very happy to be alive. Your program is one reason I still enjoy life, especially since I share your interest in Norway and Denmark. For my birthday my daughter treated me to a visit to dear relatives in Denmark who last year lost their 44 yr old son to cancer- makes me especially glad to have lived this long! Hope you have many more happy birthdays!

Happiest of Birthdays, Garrison!

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