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Get Sauk Centre Centered
February 25, 2009 |
Post to the Host:
Hello, Mr. Keillor. I'm the pastor of First Lutheran Church in Sauk Centre. I just started reading your latest novel, Liberty, and discovered that on page 17, the name of our fair town is mentioned, but it is misspelled as Sauk Center. I don't know how many other Mainstreeters are fans, or how upset they will be when they see the mistake, or what they might do if they are upset. Maybe a correction could be made in future printings, or when the book comes out in paperback.
Kevin W. Born
It's good to hear from you, Pastor Born, and I'm glad you brought this up. I really am. I've been meaning to organize a campaign to Get Sauk Centre Centered and what with other things I haven't done it but now I am. In Minnesota, as you know, we have Le Center and we have Dodge Center, and those two fine towns serve as a reminder to our young people that we are in the U.S. of A. and not in the English Midlands or in Normandy. What possessed the founders of your town to give it that spelling, I think we can guess it's the same impulse that drives someone to take an ordinary gift shop and call it Ye Olde Curiosities Shoppe, the urge to set oneself apart and a little above the hoi polloi, but as a Lutheran, aren't you supposed to stand up for humility and the simple rules of American spelling? I realize there were French people in your area at one time but they've left now and can't we get over it? Do people in S.C. want us to pronounce the name SOWK SAHN-TRE? How would you feel if, in Minneapolis, they decided to take Central Avenue and turn it into Le Boulevard de Centrale? I hope you wouldn't go along with that. I love your town. I have stayed at the Palmer House, an excellent hotel, and admired the fabulous facade and marquee of the Main Street Theater (or is it Theatre), and of course I have especially admired the way in which the town took its renegade native son Sinclair Lewis, who enjoyed an unhappy childhood there and who punished the town for all he was worth in his 1920 novel Main Street, and after his death has made him into a civic asset and a tourist attraction. That is true entrepreneurship.
And while I'm on the subject, what's with First Lutheran Church? That strikes me as rather unLutheran, to claim preeminence among Lutheran churches in the area. It seems to me that true Lutherans would take the name Sixth Lutheran Church, even if there weren't five others, as a sign of humility. Let's talk.