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Home Again

September 12, 2009 | 100 Comments

A message from Garrison, reporting what he did upon arriving back to his St. Paul home last night, Friday September 11, after being released from the hospital.


I came home Friday evening, had dinner, wrote a limerick about my neurologist, and started writing about the experience of having a minor stroke. Nothing bad happens to writers — everything is just material.

Last Monday I suffered a stroke
Which affected the way that I spoke,
But it revved up my brain,
Which they cannot explain,
And now, when I think, I smell smoke.


I am every so glad you are home and creating some good stuff already. You are a treasure.

Good to hear from you, GK, post-stroke.
Another reminder, for those of us born in 1942, to smell the flowers every day.
One thing I miss is having Mayo's as my local docs.


We think you're a right-minded bloke.
We were sorry to hear of your stroke.
With all circuits firing,
We think you're inspiring,
And you still tell a mighty fine joke.

--Best wishes to you for a speedy recovery. You are in our prayers.

--Kate and Doug from Chicago

Very happy to hear you are home and resting, and feeling better....looking forward to your season opener.
Wishing you the very best....Saturday evenings would never be the same without hearing from you and your talented team...albeit, nothing lasts forever.

A LONG time listener...
Craig, New Jersey

Wishing you all the best. These little episodes make us appreciate even more everyone & everything around us. We look forward to hearing you LIVE! on Public Radio soon.

All the best from Montreal,


I'm so pleased your brain's been revved. It's my favorite part of you! Please get your rest and follow all the doc's orders. We need you back soon.

What a lovely response, your limerick. Happy to hear you on the air and know that you are taking it all in stride. Best wishes to you.

Glad to hear you are on the mend. Looking foward to hearing you on the new show.

"My man GK went to Mayo and all he brought us back was a hilarious limerick."

You can't go away - you have yet to do a show on the proud careers of pooper scoopers and dog caretakers, trainers and groomers! What a great opportunity - say the stoke sent that cat right out of your life! Very glad you are doing well - smoke in your brain or not.

Glad to hear that you are on the mend. Too much excitement at the State Fair, perhaps? :)

Best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery. Looking forward to the season opener.

Thanks for being you.

<3 Lea Ann

Life would be dull without your voice
Every weekend you are my top choice.
That's been true for decades now
Thus this attempt to articulate how
Great it is that you are home.
Relax, get better, enjoy a tome
Of poems better than this bad verse,
And when you're well we'll all rejoice.

From an English major and professor--not a poet but a devoted radio fan

Mr. Keillor,

Whew! Glad to know you're okay. Even gladder to read the limerick, mostly for the "stuff happens" message. Being fearless is the only way to be! Best wishes for speedy recovery from former St. Paulites now in Texas.

We wish you a speedy recovery. If the limerick is any indication, you're doing great!

You're the best,
John Goudelias
Brooklyn, NY

Glad to hear that you are doing well, sir! Keep up the good work!

Best wishes to you for a speedy recovery. I'll include kind and loving thoughts of you in my Unitarian prayers tonight; you can rest assured that all the bases will be covered.

Hello Garrison,

We are glad you are home and getting better.

Your wonderful poem shows that all is well and you will be back soon.

With warm wishes for a quick return to us all,

Ernie and Sarah Schwarz
St. Augustine, FL

I'm glad to hear that you are recovering and doing well. Saturday nights would not be the same without you and your crew.
I'm going to check YouTube to see if the nurses posted any snazzy pics of you in your hospital gown.
Keep on getting well, your family and your radio family need you.

I'm happy to hear you are getting better and better. Praying for a complete recovery. God bless you.

Dolores Frank

I am glad to read that you are doing better. I'm not a native English speaker. You have taught me more about this beautiful language (esthetically)than anyone I know. Thank you.


So glad to hear from you, Garrison. Wonderful that you are on the mend. "Amen" to what the others have said -- you are a gem and you are in my prayers. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

With gratitude,

Sally Ulrich
Natick, Mass.

As a physician and a student of human behavior, I'm terribly impressed by your limerick. As a listener and fan, I'm grateful at how resilient you sound. I will hold you in my thoughts and prayers, and send you wishes for complete recovery.


I'm so glad you're here and that you even wrote us a funny poem. You're such a giver! Lol. Oh, I'm so glad you're okay!!!

I love you and I know you're going to take good care of yourself, right? Wish I could give ya a hug. We'll be listening.

Keep in touch. <3

Posted an image from on the FaceBook group "Disciples of Garrison Keillor"
Photo of a sign stating:


...good to know Lake Wobegon is free of butts

Then again, in your limerick, were you saying that thinking now produces smoke, or you think you smell smoke?

Dear Garrison,

We listen to you on Sunday morning on AFN Radio here in Germany so our Sunday wonldn't be the same with out listening to you.

God bless you with a quick recovery. The world is blessed by you.

Ann and Dale Sieber

I'm glad to see the fires are still burning. I hope you heal fast and can't wait to hear the new material!

I thought I smelled some wood burning!

Alice Heywood Wethersfield, CT

I heard the news of your illness on CBS Sunday Morning earlier - the only thing I listen/watch religiously other than Prairie Home Companion. Sending good thoughts and prayers your way. I couldn't begin to give voice to what you mean to all of us.

Take care of yourself, Mr. Garrison. Saturday nights just wouldn't be the same without PHC & The Grand Ole Opry. I guess it's true..."That which doesn't kill us, makes us stronger". You Sir are proof.


Illness in those we adore--brings limericks that some will abhor...but I digress!

So you've had a stroke--of genius
We've discussed it here between-ius
You're mending--we're proud
We shouted out loud
We're wishing you coulda seen-ius!

You're two weeks older than I...should I be extra careful/cross at the light/eat my veggies/and all the rest of it the next coupla weeks?

You'll recover from the stroke...from these limericks, I'm not so sure! Be well, do good work, and keep in touch! We love our GKPHC...oh, yes we do!

Betty in Memphis (August 19, 1942)

"Oh, what a beautiful morning, Oh, what a beautiful day...!" Even if everything doesn't appear to be going "my way", resilience and surrender, combined, bring us through. May simple pleasures abound in your life each day. Thank you, Mr. Keillor, for all your gifts to me.

We are so glad the stroke was not serious and you are recovering - you are an amazingly creative person - each Saturday we are impressed with the great new material you have created - keep on keeping on.

Neesie and Dick Calkins

Dear Garrison,

So glad you're well - smokin'!

San Clemente, CA

We're so relieved to read your limerick and find that you are doing so well. Your work is an inspiration and the radio show is a highlight of our week. Take care of yourself- many love you very much.
Sallie Jo and Greg

My friends and i were really concerned Garrison, i'm glad you recovered so swiftly. When I first saw the story on CNN, i nearly had a heart attack! I guess if art inspires art, then illness inspires illness just as potently. :D

Forever listening,
Connor Haley

Hi Garrison -

Worried when I heard the news; glad to know you're okay. Sorry to hear you've become a smoker. Of course not thinking at all would cure that, but then you'd be a scarecrow and your PHC delivery would be off.

Stay well!


I'm so glad to hear that you're back home and already writing!! Did you really need the experience of a stroke to be fodder for writing? You're brilliant and I doubt you really needed material of that ilk. Yarmouth, Maine has you in its thoughts!!!!

Dear Garrison,
It's so rude of you to keep reminding us that we all die. As a recovering midwesterner now studying Buddhism I can talk about this and insted of telling you how glad I am you're still alive and all that, here's what I've been thinking since your stroke - you're going to have one hell of a funeral, you know that? and it's going to be so good for the rest of us - no political lies for the media to go wild with (although I don't want to underestimate their creativity and who knows),just a great opportunity for us to cry about the meaningless of life.
So, please arrange for your funeral to be televised, okay?
We're going to miss you like crazy. Not so much for the bathroom jokes.
Linda Dee

So sorry to hear of your stroke,
But glad that you're back with a "croak"!!!

The limerick was bright,
And full of delight,

So follow it now with Baroque!

Thank you for years of entertainment.
Ed Peck
P.S. How does one get onto the ketchup advisory board?

Please feel better and watch your health. I just found you at age 42 and do not want to lose you!
West Hartford, CT

Dear Mr. Keillor,

Our whole family has listened to you religiously for more than two decades now, and we're all relieved and delighted you're on the mend.

I know it's against your heritage, and I'm delighted you're up and running again, but take it a tad easy, OK? We need to keep you around as long as possible.

I was sitting in Ogilvie station in Chicago, on the stone tile floor, at midnight Sunday morning, waiting for my train home to begin boarding. News of your stroke and release were broadcast on a crawler below an add for Dunkin' Donuts or something.

'That's unbelievable,' I thought. 'Buy two doughnuts and get a free small coffee.'

Also, 'Garrison Keillor released from hospital following minor stroke.'

I've got to find a Dunkin' Donuts immediately, thank you so much for bringing this deal of a lifetime to my attention.

Joking aside, I am so very glad to hear that you are alright. My very best to you and your family.

Your Saturday night shows are swell,
We love all the stories you tell,
Your joke show's the best,
But the penguins need a rest,
So join them, and all will be well!

Wishing you a speedy recovery. You are the highlight of Saturday night!

"And the other penguin says, 'What makes you think I'm not having a stroke?'"

So very relieved to hear that our greatest living writer still is.


Glad to hear your doing well. Hope your back on your feet soon.

I didn't get to the Twin Cities as planned this summer so now I'm hoping to get my favorite Minnesotan to come visit me. You wouldn't be able to stop by Abbott Northwestern and tell her she needs to take a vacation and come visit, would you?

Best of luck for a speedy recovery.

And we didn't even know you played golf...
(ba-dum, pish!)

Very happy to read that you are back in the swing.

Thank you. Best wishes always. Have fun.
Holly Tucker

Glad to hear you're fine. Looking forward to the next PHC.
Blessings all around. And don't think too hard around any smoke detectors.

What a great blessing your listeners have to hear all the talents you give to us each week. I am wishing you a speedy recovery and looking forward to hearing you again on KQED in San Francisco.

Because I'm an avid "Keillor Fan," I have been searching online for news of you.... so happy that all of us fans get to hear from you personally. Thanks for the words. I, and probably a million other people, feel better now.
Saturday evenings here in Los Angeles are spiced up by you.
Naps and sweet dreams will do the trick !!!

I don't have time to write a limerick, just want to say from the heart that I hope you recover fully and as quickly as possible. We love you, we miss you!


Astrologicaly speaking this month is the pits. Venus in Leo is opposing Jupiter and Neptune in Aquarius while the Sun conjunct Saturn in Virgo is opposed to Uranus in Pisces, but that all ends on Tuesday the 15th or thereabouts. Then it has to wear off. Early last week Mars was in square with Mercury in Libra while Mercury squared Pluto in Capricorn, which Mars opposed. Pluto went direct, but Mercury went retrograde, counterclockwise, and so Mercury will square PLuto again this week and again next month after returning direct, clockwise orbit returns. But Mars in Cancer is neutral and happy for now and won't be any trouble. No wonder your speech was affected, effective, I don't know. Maybe you should join the health care debate, you won't have to make sense. Just say that brain tumor's a rumor, it hasn't destroyed any humor. Blame it on sinning, and turn it to grinning. By winning, you'll be a late bloomer. Good luck with your new season from Sioux Falls South Dakota.

Welcome home,Mr.Keeler!
The smoke you see when you think is burning clutch plates.Happens to me all the time!
Thank you for Prarie Home Companion!
Steve Rathbun
El Paso,Tx.

All of your shows, past and present -- as well as your books and commentary -- have always meant so much to me since I first discovered your unique voice while turning the radio dial as a sixth grader. So many quotes from you to cherish, I hope there are still many more to come. Do get well soon.

Thanks for giving everyone an update.

Jason in Evanston

The next greatest thing about these brushes with death (right after not dying) is finding out how many people love you. I could pretty much echo what others have said, but they've already said it, so I'll just add, especially re Linda Dee: "That Friend speaks my mind." (When are you gonna start ragging on us Quakers?)

Mr. Keillor,
The United Methodist Women from Ransom, Illinois, are praying for your continued recovery. We have a few casseroles on stand-by, in the freezer, that we can whip out and cook up in no time, should the need arise.
Thank you for so many wonderful years of PHC and the Good News from Lake Wobegon, and we look forward to many, many more years to come!

God's continued blessings,
Ransom United Methodist Women

I am so happy you are on the mend! Just wanted to send you best wishes for a speedy recovery--your sense of humor is still intact I see!

Gotta get the "cholesterol-free" Powdermilk Biscuits! We need to you stay in great health. Glad you are on the mend- sounds like the neurons are all firing again. Take care- please!

Best wishes and prayers for many, many more years of weekends on the radio.

We're all just getting old - or older, at least.

My parents watched 'A Prairie Home Companion' on the PBS channel. This was back in the 80's, and I was still in high school. I remember this guy with dark hair (the guy didn't have any gray yet, or he covered it up well) standing before a crowd telling a story, with a soft voice, about a little town called Lake Wobegon. Such an easy-going demeanor this guy had, I knew he couldn't possibly be a Baptist. This was the kind of voice you would expect to hear on one of those self-meditation tapes, because not only was it an easy voice to listen to, but it also grabbed your attention and held it. You could just listen to this guy and close your eyes, and it was like you were there.

Stay well, GK! The World still needs you.

I've been a fan of your show for 25 years, glad to know you are on the mend, looking forward to another 25.


I was a nurse for 20 plus years and it was in doing that work I learned what it is to make a positive difference in someone's life. The difference may be significanr or miniscule but it matters. It's from that lesson learned that I want to share my prayers of thanksgiving for your recovery and for your work. It makes my life brighter.

Peace be with you,


Dear Garrison,

There is a great storyteller from St.Paul
who is lean and humerous and tall.
He recently visited Kilkenny,(Ireland)
a night remembered fondly by many,
and thoroughly enjoyed by us all.

Delighted to hear you're on the mend. Take care of yourself!

Deirdre, Dublin

Hey GK.

I'm always the last one to learn. Was at church dinner, Sunday... eating potatoe salad and told the Pastor, "hope GK's having some too." Then he told me you were sick, I wondered 'bout that replay Saturday night. Still didn't add nothing up. Take care Old Scout... Not many Old Scouts left you know. Dammit.


Just as Will Rogers and FDR captured and held the attention of our great nation for many years, Mr. Keillor you have done the same in an era of twenty second commercials and half-hour epic tv dramas. I listened to most of your show Sunday and after promising myself to try a double lentil latte, i just heard the news of your incident this evening. We're still waiting for the grandiose, sprawling, diatribe of a novel from you so, your not goin anywhere, not yet.

Thankful to be from the Midwest, where all your jokes makes sense.


P.S. The Baptist Church doesnt with your views on rhubarb, so I will have to mention you in prayer with an unspoken request.

Take it easy, GK. Wishes for a speedy recovery.

A Little Quiz

Q: How many guinea pigs have attended your concerts over the years?

A: At least one---"Speedy" who in the summer of 1988 was secreted away in the back of our Buick station wagon by my 7-year old son and who arrived at Wolf Trap, VA with the rest of us to enjoy the evening with you.

Q: How many 28-year old men would take their mom to listen to Garrison Keillor stories in Boulder, CO on Mother's Day 2009?

A: At least one---a fulfillment of one of Life's circles!

Be "well-er" dear Garrison!

Dear Garrison,
So glad to hear you're well.The first time I heard you was during the winter. Tales from Lake Woebegone was on the air as I arrived home. I let the car run a little longer so fasinated I was with your story, to stay warm.
Snow was falling as I sat listening to your voice.
I laugh even now as I recall your tale of moving
a house, towns folk gathered to watch the spectical.I thought Lake W. was a real place at first, I come from a small town myself, so the story had crendence.
I digris, I love voices, yours is in my top ten
list.#1 Love from Kalamazoo, Mi Barbara

Get well Garrison. My friend Dee and I listen to your show in Texas on Public Radio, Kera.We listen to your show as we travel back from our lake house at Lake Texomas. (on the Texas side) It is a great two hours. (every Sunday morning) We worship with the Lutherans from Minnesota.

We are big fans and hope that each day improves for you. We send a big Howdy and lots of love.

You are completely right. This will make an interesting story later.
Hope you feel better, your show helped me through my parents divorce.

Mr. Keillor, I'm a Midwestern girl, now miles away, and you have a special place in my heart. Take care and get well. Loved your Salon piece.

I listen faithfully to you every Saturday night for the past 8 years - AND THIS IS THE THANKS I GET?
None of this stroke nonsense - thank you very much.
Please do all you have to do to recoop.
I put the coffee on... have both a crossword puzzle and sudoku book... a Piccoult novel started... oh, and of course Facebook!

We'll sit here(for as long as it takes)in the listeners waiting room while you heal.

And then I'll expect you to hop right back in to my radio, dammit!

Please feel better.
Hugs and kisses - Bet

Take care Mr. Keillor. You are a good man, and have made so many people happy. I will be thinking about you everyday. M. Knerr-Edwards

So happy I get to hear more of you. Hang in there and enjoy your time here on earth. You have certainly made my life better each and every week-end since I can remember. I saw you live in Bend, OR (an anniversary present from the mr.) and hope to again this year.

Mr. Garrison:

Wishing you a speedy recovery. As a stroke survivor, I am running/walking/slow jogging(slogging) the NY Marathon to support the National Stroke Association and raise awareness amongst women and men about stroke prevention. I was 46 when I had my stroke and as a mother, business owner and caregiver to my elderly mom, I would like see that everyone has the resources and support that you and I likely received in our care. Take care and enjoy this new venture in life!

Katie McCarron

P.S. I was having my stroke while at your performance in Portland Oregon, Sept 9, 2006. I will always remeber that performance!!!!

Dear Garrison, How fortunate I feel that you have survived, are mending and will continue with us. You and PHC are family to me. How blessed we all are with your incredible gentle humor, always speaking the truth and sharing it with millions. Thank you for sticking around...and I wish you many, many long years ahead of good health.
With gratitude, Gracie

Garrison, we've been with you since the 70's-- in Iowa City, St.Louis, Seattle,and even in Alaska and Norway. As we get older, we may follow you to Mayo's, as well :-)
We hope to see you again in Springfield, IL, whenever your schedule permits.
We are thankful to God that you are recovering...we're ready for more penguin jokes!

There is this here guy called Garrison
Who can tell a tall tale like no one can
He'll be missed something awful
When the Grim Reaper doth him call for
What ho! Our fine Praire Home Companion

But... please stay with us yet a while
Tell tales, sing songs, make us smile
Whatever rocks your boat
Tends to make our hearts float
And no one but no one has your style.

Carry on GK, t'was merely a flesh wound.
- Laz, a longtime loyal listener in Montreal, Canada

Glad to hear that you are still in good spirits, though now a smoldering fire hazard when your thinking cap is on. We just aren't ready to see you go! Who else will keep us company on long, painful trips?

Best wishes!

-The Novak Family
Hubbard County, MN

We're sorry to hear you got sick
This knowledge cut us all to the quick
But you soon got better,
You glorious man of letters.
The small stroke - you easily licked!!!

Love 'n Hugs from Tillie
and Joyous Woof-woofs
from Zack!

What can we say that hasn't been said previously. Glad you are on the mend and look forward to listening to your show on September 26th!

The Martin Family
Chris, Michelle, Miranda and Benjamin

So it was true that you were in the hospital?
Speedy recovery! May the Lord be at your side as she/he alwyas is. Thanks for your years of service. Been listening since 1976 and your are a national treasure.
Was so glad that your "retirement" many years ago was a false one. I wish you a good life, but hope that you will not be slowed by your stroke. Do what is right for you, but selfishly, I hope you never stop for us in radio land.

Phew! Glad to hear you are still firing on all engines.

I am happy to hear that you are on the road to recovery.We love to listen to your show in Kentucky.
Take Care,

Dear Mr. Keillor:

You have brought joy to my life and humor to my soul. I want my grandchildren to grow up listening to you, so please take care of yourself.



Please take care of yourself. I cannot imagine Saturday nights without you.

I asked a friend if she heard who had a minor stroke from public radio. She said "Carl Kassel"? Advice, don't go on vacation because people might think you've had a stroke! Welcome back, looking forward to making a meatloaf next Saturday so I can be with you all in spirit. I won't dance in the street though!

Best wishes for a speedy recovery. my mother in Harrisonville,MO listens to you faithfully and so do I. We need you to keep cheering us up and remind us that the radio is still a source of entertainment as we make our powder milk biscuits. - Lisa in Kansas City

You are living (thank goodness) proof that attitude is (almost) everything in life. I am looking forward to many more years of listening to you on the radio.

Garrison, Please get better and take care of yourself. We love you and listen to you almost every weekend here in Southern California. Your show warms our hearts and tickles our funny bone.

Dave and Margie

Thank you for your many years of "service to our country." So glad to know that you are doing well after your stroke.

Please do remember, no stroke is "minor." There are big strokes and little strokes but all strokes are significant. So glad yours was the latter.

Can't wait to hear you today.

Welcome back GK! Glad your feeling better! Did you get my get well card? (sorry about the postage due thing..) BTW..Have you heard the one about the epileptic oyster shucker?
Hear you soon,

I discovered your show shortly after the September 11th tragedy. It was difficult to be humorous during that period and I think you and your players handled it very graciously. I am a dyed in the wool conservative, but I have appreciated the poke in the eye humor and have even laughed out loud at some of the skits. The show is first rate, the talent makes me turn up my radio. I appreciate you, and Lake Woebegone is precious. Good luck to you, the musicians, actors and support staff for another successful run.

Dear Garry,
I have been a fan for some years now. I live in Perth Western Australia, From time to time I log on to your site just to see how the Wobegonians are going. I 'm thinking of you during your time of convalescence and wish you a speedy recovery. Keith McDonald

Mr. Keillor,

I'm so very delighted to hear you are doing well! You are my Sunday, and Saturday night.

Love you,
Marianne Snygg

Hello - I've listened to your shows for more years then I can count (would make my brain smoke..) I'm 53. VERY glad to hear that you are doing well. Don't think I could laugh without you!!



I think you are great.
You put me at ease with your words.
You bring me to another place I often forget.

I thank you!

I wish (and pray) for you a very speedy recovery. And I look forward to hearing you again soon.

I think the smoke is a very good sign is it not?


Mr. Keillor is a gift to America! I can't imagine a world without him.

HO GOLLY! Had a dream about you just before heading out on Amtrak. I've been away from the laptop with a power cord that went out the week of the seventh. Caught a train and plane North and a ferry to Alaska. Drove South again this week via the Yukon and BC, arriving with daughter ready for college yesterday and what do I find?! Can hardly stand the notion of you blinking that way Sir, not unless I get to blink along with you.
Planning to attend the upcoming street dance but the miles accumulated may require my return to dream mode.

Please be well and thank you for the sonnets, limericks and well written days still to come.

Hi Mr. Keillor,

Of course we're all delighted to have you back up and around. By the time you've had a couple more of these setbacks perhaps you will get to the diminished level of activity the rest of us old folks operate at every day. Then maybe you will have time to properly enjoy and reflect on all your magnificent accomplishments, and finally take it easy.

Best wishes and highest regards,

Welcome back to your home and mine -- you are a family member. (Do you want whipped cream on your strawberry shortcake?)

I hope for you, that angels are, and always will be hovering 'round you and your family. Blessings.

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