Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.
Send GK Your Question »
I Still Can't Say Goodbye
September 25, 2008 |
Dear Mr. Keillor,
I grew up listening to A Prairie Home Companion because my father was a big fan. For Father's Day this year, my brother and I purchased tickets for my parents to the show on Aug. 19 at Red Butte Gardens in Salt Lake City. My Dad has been fighting cancer for over a decade now and this last year has been especially tough. We took him to the show, and even though he wasn't feeling great, he laughed and enjoyed himself the entire time, as did we. You had my brother and I were in tears when you sang the song about your Dad.
Early in the morning on September 1, my father passed away. I am so glad that we were able to attend the Rhubarb Tour before he left this life. Thank you for the great show. Is there a recording of the Red Butte concert available for us to purchase somewhere? We would love to have a copy of it.
Thanks for the memory,
Oh Natalie. The mind reels at the thought of you and your dad at that show, after all you had been through. It was a light-hearted show for me my wife and daughter were there, whom I hadn't seen for weeks and I love that venue, outdoors, the buttes in the background, the arboretum nearby, the high desert sky, the audience sitting on the grass and there you were looking for a little distraction from grief and suffering. I'm glad I didn't know about it that night I couldn't have sung "I Still Can't Say Goodbye" and I'm glad to know about it now. There were a couple of drunks in the audience yelling up at the stage that night, a rare hazard for our show, and there you were, too different people in such different places on one patch of grass. I'll see if I can rustle up a copy of the show to send you, though it may not be a high-quality audio. As for the song, I sing it with my dad in mind but it wasn't written by me it's by Bob Blinn and Jim Moore and you can find out about them and the song on YouTube. Merle Haggard recorded it, and I heard it from Chet Atkins who published the song twenty years ago and sang it everywhere he went, wearing a hat like his daddy wore. Chet's parents divorced when he was a kid and his dad moved down to Georgia and Chet spent some unhappy summers with him that he told me about once. He loved his dad and he also suffered around him. A common story. Chet found solace in the guitar, and when he sang that song, though he had sung it so many times, he was still moved by it, sometimes to tears.