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A Note from GK about Retirement

May 15, 2010 | 50 Comments

Saturday May 15 was a day off for the cast and crew and now the ship heads into the last month of the season, our string of big outdoor shows, plus the Fox in Atlanta, and then July vacation.

Back in September, there were some rumblings about the host of the show retiring and turning over the red shoes to someone else, and we've had fun with that on the show, with Erica Rhodes playing the airy designated replacement, but meanwhile life goes on. A 25-city Summer Love tour is scheduled for August and some of September. The annual State Fair broadcast is on the books for Labor Day weekend. The 2010-11 season is almost all inked in. We're discussing another Prairie Home cruise for 2011. I am working on a new Good Poems collection, and a memoir of 1966, a Guy Noir mystery, and have gotten a second wind on a Lake Wobegon screenplay. So life goes hurtling on.

I've been visiting an old friend at the VA hospital who is sinking, bravely, elegantly, even humorously sometimes, under a load of infirmities. On Sunday, he sat up and played on the mandolin a Scottish tune that he wants played at his funeral, by Neil Gow (1727-1807), his "Lament for James Moray of Abercairney." And he and I sang a duet of "Abide With Me." He and I were young when this show started in 1974, and when I walk away from his bedside, my step quickens. He is the same age I am, 67. One man goes down and his friends press on with renewed spirits. I am looking forward to Atlanta on Saturday and after that, Wolf Trap, Santa Barbara, Spokane, Cuyahoga Falls, Tanglewood and that beautiful crowd on the lawn, Ravinia, and I am excited about the August tour with Sara Watkins, Fred Newman, and the Shoe Band.

Onward and onward.

Garrison Keillor


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. You are our friend. We share a new stage of life together. We so appreciate the Fifties music and being transported back, for a while, remembering, feeling, and being young again. But now we are where we are, another new stage of life with it's own unknown challenges and knowledge, happiness and sorrows. Just think of all the new material possibilities. We really want to share it all with you, and are so very grateful that you are well and ready to continue. We love you and all of the cast, each one our friend.

Jim and Beth


Thanks for clearing up the retirement issue for now. We enjoy our time listening to the show, and you for as long as you care to continue. I have a little heart issue to take care of with a stent operation tomorrow(Wed) but hope to be there in-person for the show in Atlanta Saturday.

Would love to give Maia another Guy Noir t-shirt. Gave her one via you on cruise #1 while sailing from Boston to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Robert Ashley Martin, San Francisco, CA Born and raised in the Twin Cities. And a fellow English major! P.S. Your show is, even though I'm an atheist, my weekly "religious ceremony."

You are our greatest living writer, and put many dead ones to shame too. Thank you for the stories yet to come.

Don, please let us know how the stent op went.
Been thinking of you the last couple of days and hoping you will be there to enjoy the Atlanta show. Best wishes from an avid UK PHC listener (and thats something to be proud of GK) Maria - North Wales, UK

This is appreciated Garrison for these are kindly words and reflection by a person who obviously knows the frailty of our daily lives ... such sharing of a personal moment while contemplating the great unknown is an example of good fellowship .... thank you for that gift. that old song from my bygone youth says, "Breaking up is hard to do."

Little did I realize back then how true it would be for the good friends I've had to say goodbye to these recent days. Too many, too good, now gone.

But, plod on we must, buttressed by the many good memories of our good and caring friends.

Our show must go on.


Once again you have made a positive contribution to my life. Just knowing you'll be around next year is cheer when there is damn little out there. PHC has been a haven each week for as long as I care to remember and I'll look forward to continuing to go there.

Inevitably we all face that time in our lives when we want to shift gears. I've been semi-retired for several years now and find the ability to get involved with new things very rewarding. I'm sure you'll come to the same point eventually, but when it happens I hope it's more like a CVT than a manual transmission. Thanks for all you do.

Whew! I knew (hoped) you were in your usual jesting manner with the piece about retirement. I can appreciate your possibly having that on the back burner, having gone through the stroke process myself but was blessed with no lingering effects.

It will be a sad day when my wife and I can no longer get our Saturday night "fix" by listening to PHC while making pizza. From making the dough until the pizza comes out of the oven is two hours. I hope you will continue for many more years.

We, and Table 135 (3 cruises together), are elated that you are considering a 2011 cruise. You haven't done the Irish Sea yet and I can remember a show where the Boys of the Loch performed and you said something like, "Wouldn't it be great to take a cruise with groups like you." Sláinte!

Oh, to think three years ago I had never even heard of a PHC, but, by happenstance and a "little" movie of the same title, I have been a fan ever since. Growing up in Wisconsin I too remember the stories being told by neighbors and friends - how much each one impacted me and how I longed always to hear more. I am 40 and realize that for someone my age who not only grew up with television, but, color TV at that, I am most likely not the "typical" PHC listener/follower. My husband grew up on a dairy farm in the SW part of the state and we dream of going back to that simpler way of life when we God willing retire - but, in the meantime we have PHC to make us feel, if only for a few hours a week, that life is simple, good, and worth living. We saw you on the "big screen" and are thrilled to have been able to purchase tickets to the Summer of Love Tour in Indianapolis - you make me want to be a better person! Thanks, Garrison.

Everyone deserves a pleasant retirement when he or she is ready, but in your case, my wife and I (selfishly) hope you go on and on.

We have been married twenty-eight years, and are of very modest means. One of the great joys of our life is Saturday evening and Prairie Home. We have danced together in our little kitchen to the opening theme for as long as I can remember, and when I kiss her after, it's like she is still twenty.

You touch many lives which you will never know, though that makes it no less vital. So keep those shoes on, we beg you!

Warmly yours,

Paul & Jackie Burgess
Homewood IL

As someone who has let his 100,000 mile warranty run out (I just turned 60), I wish you best.

You are a national treasure. Stay well.

I hope to listen to your wonderful show for many more years. It always makes me smile and laugh, and often moves me to a tear or two. As for your friend, may the Almighty shower him with blessings, and keep him safe and pain free! We have all lost dear friends and family through the years, and it never gets any easier. In the meantime, though, my very best wishes go out to you and your wonderful group of folks at PHC. You all are deeply appreciated!

As a native Minnesotan, transplated to (gasp!) California, I've been a little worried you might think of retiring. Every time I take my sushi and designer bottled water out to the hot tub to soak I worry. Whenever I here a hear one of the yogis in the neighborhood order a hot dog saying, "Make me one with everything" I worry.

"Who else is there who can help all us Lutherans and Norwegian bachelor farmers out here appreciate that delicious love/hate feeling we all have for our old home, that Gateway to Central Minnepolis?" I ask myself.
"Nobody. That's who!" I answer myself.

There's no Ralph's Pretty Good Grocery, no Chatterbox Cafe where I can go find people who think like I do. I may be wrong, but I don't even think we have an Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility church around here. I guess Pastor Engquist might know, but I don't have his phone number. Or I could check with Guy Noir, if I could find the Acme building, but with my luck he'd probably tell me he's retiring too."

So go ahead, retire. It's only what I deserve. God never meant us Lutherans to have so much fun. Not natural, if you catch my meaning.

Bill Moyers just retired. Just about the only thing worth watching on teevee. He claims he's 76, and has a couple of other things he'd like to do with his life, but you know how those pundits lie. You, on the other hand, are exactly my age, and I'm still working.

But don't let me make you feel guilty. I'm OK. Don't worry about me. I'll just sit here in the dark. We Lutherans are a hearty breed; we know we're intended to endure hardships like this.

Hey, I don't even hold it against you that you've always been broadcasting from that podunk suburb of Minneapolis. If you'd only asked, I could have told you that all you have to do is go across the Lake Street Bridge and you'd have BEEN there. Too late now.

So go ahead. Retire. All I've got to say is "So long, then, see ya later ya know."

Sunnyvale CA - "Gateway to Central Santa Clara County"

PS Please forgive my grammar errors and misssellings. It's not my fault - I'm an English major.

Dear Mr. K. Thanks for all the great writing and performances over the years. The first time I heard of "Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility" I said that I have been a member all my life!

I particularly remember your radio program over 20 years ago when the letter came from a law firm in Texas (I believe it was) for Mr. Berge. The postmaster spread the word. You have the Midwest "nailed".

Best wishes from a longtime fan.

Hey, gang!

I love your show! As a former student of the fine arts, I know that there are a lot of things that go on independently of each other and I thank you all for making sure that all that work finally comes together every week.

I started listening to your show about 10 years ago at my mother's house (of all places. . .). Since that day, I have made it a point to listen to the Show every Saturday. Thanks for letting my mother and I get closer. I can call her every week and ask her if she listened and what she liked. We have grown closer together over the comedy and drama that is the Show.

Thank you for all of your effort! It is greatly appreciated.


Many pleasant memories of afternoons & evenings having been spent wisely & wildly entertained standing lakeside in Kenosha, a Zenth portable transistor radio in hand tuned into PHC, while watching the dogs constantly on the move from the biting sand flies circa 1979. Or road trips in various cars, vans, & trucks packed with double digit dogs and a working radio tuned in to some NPR/PRI station between Wisconsin & Berkeley/Santa Cruz. Being as old as the A-bomb (Aug. 45) now with a roof overhead more often than not, and with the dogs all having changed channels; some thing wouldn't be quite the same if those red sneakers didn't keep on truckin in & out of this one's head. P>S> Lake Wobegon's Traveler was on a Star Trek, The Next Generation episode just last nite! You da man Mr. Keillor.

Dear Garrison:
I first heard the PHC as a young geologist drilling coal gas wells in central Alabama in the early 1980's, listening to a Tuscaloosa station on the rental car's radio. I've been tuning in on Saturday evenings ever since, through stations from Washington DC to Albany NY where I live now.

My kids grew up listening to cassette tapes of PHC shows played in the car on long pilgrimages to see the grandparents in Ohio, and they can still sing the Powdermilk Biscuit song! They are almost 30 now and know better than to call Mom on Saturday evenings during the PHC hour because my husband and I are listening to the radio in the kitchen, making dinner, dancing to the music, and waiting to hear how everyone made out this week in Lake Woebegone, your hometown.

We are delighted to hear that you have no plans to retire and wish you many more years of sound health, creative good humor, and supportive underwriters like Bertha's Kitty Boutique and the
Catchup Advisory Council!

Hugs and best wishes,
Jeanne Hewitt

P.S. In the interests of full disclosure, all my cousins were Lutherans; I, however, was raised as a Baptist!

I won't object to your retirement when the time comes. I'm grateful it's not this year. But, please never stop writing. You write what is in my heart.

Dear GK,

Retirement? Webster's says it is the act of withdrawing into seclusion and solitude, and then what would you do for fun on a Saturday night? (Also, what would we do?)

The fact is that we each get dealt a hand of cards; we play them as best we can until we come to the last one - and no one knows when that will be. Your friend may be folding early, but you have many cards left to play, including the ones up your sleeve.

I feel entitled to pass this wisdom on since, like George in Sunnyvale, I'm also older than you are and I'm still out there playing the piano every day. I mourn the passing of many friends and relations, but as you say: Onward and onward!

With endless gratitude from a 30-year fan.

March on GK!
I'm 57.
Recently, I began to live my life in
quarters, four sets of 13 weeks to every precious year I might have remaining.
It helps me feel younger, imagining I have 4 times more life units left.
I stay more focused now, trying to squeeze as much as possible into each of my "3 month" years.

I'm looking forward to seeing you ALL again, both at Santa Barbara and Tanglewood in 2010!
Two shows in one quarter, coast-to-coast.
Now, that's what I call living!
Seeya soon young man,

Hi Maria,
Thanks for your concern. Good news is that my doctors said I can go to the show in Atlanta and I'm very grateful as it's our 22nd wedding anniversary present that my wife and i gave each other. The not so good news is that they found 4 blocked arteries and couldn't do the stent, so now I have to go back next wk for bypass surgery. At least they caught it before something really bad happened. And i get to go see GK and the show.

Thanks again,

Thank you Mr. Keillor,

Just coming up on the tender age of 45 in the middle of June and feeling excited like a 20-something, jumping into new ventures and territories unknown. Thank you for your and everyone's posts; I am glad to know that I have more to look forward to at 65, 85, 105 and beyond!

Looking forward to the show this eve,


Thanks for the encouraging news. Keep talking, and writing, and singing and doing what you love, for as long as you love doing it.

See you at the annual Meatloaf Dinner and Street Dance, but please avoid Sept 25th, I have a date with the lady I fell for hard when she said "I LOVE listening to PHC", and it's kind of an important date (she said yes).


Why not just retire for half the year? Then you can have the best of both worlds, time to relax with your family and to work with the PHC team and share yourself with us. Some days I really wish I could just sleep in.

If you had a guest-host internship, maybe we could end up with 10 or so spin-off radio shows to enjoy.

Love as always....

Garrison and cast, the show is the highlight of my week. I just finished The Christmas Blizzard. Oh Man! Excellent! This one almost tops Pilgrims and Pontoon and I didn't think you could write any better than that, Garrison. Your shows have been a lifeline through some very dark days and I never miss listening.

I have a question - don't you and the cast get exhausted traveling so much and doing so many shows in the summer? What strategies do you follow to get through what seems to be such a long tour?

Is your State Fair Show coming to MN in August?

I just wanted to say Thank You for your show, I enjoy listening to it. I know you hear the applause from the audiance but you can't hear it from the people who listen to you over their radio's. Thanks for all the years you have put into your show.

To my good friend, GK, We have never meet, and I have had the privilege of attending a live show only once,but you are my friend on the radio. Your show brings comfort and stability to all of your listeners every week. All I can say is keep going, we need you! Thank You and God Bless You, Bill, Butte America

Garrison, I've been listening to Prairie Home Companion faithfully for many years before this internet became so widely popular. I'm so glad I can get online and catch up with a show I missed in my hectic schedule.
I still love your warped sense of humor. It is great to laugh over stories that have unexpected endings. I also love music and really enjoy the various musicians and artists on your show. Your tastes are impeccable.

You truly are a national treasure.

Garrison, your karma bandh binds you well. I don't infer that in a mystical sense, but simply your past actions have built you a village that extends well beyond the demographics of Lake Wobegon. What to do with all those hearts?

John Eddie the singer posits the benefits of letting one down hard vs. letting one down easy opting for the former. What is our request to you? Ha, I believe that is best left unanswered lest we introduce some sense of resolution into PHC. We cannot have Mr. Noir getting married can we? Although what a spectacular conclusion, all loose ends tied either in bliss or destruction. To either query, a fearful thing either way so do not feel too tightly bound.

You are an American guru, better yet a midwest guru, surreptitiously showing us reality and breaking our illusions of key performance indicators, personal development plans, strategic goals, progress in general. Showing a reality of the continuum of life, its lack of resolution, our foibles and pains respected, the beauty of now. You are one more incarnation of Vishnu the preserver, imagine that, but don't let it go to your head.

I panicked when I heard the snippet of the show on May 15 that referenced "retirement." Not that you are not entitled to it, but I felt a hole open up. Where would I hear the hymns that remind me of Sunday evening church services at First Presbyterian. Who would carry the flag for progressive and public life. And rhubarb! Am I the only person who keeps stewed rhubarb in the fridge?

Happy to hear that you are still with us.

I just discovered this "Sat" evening gem. I get off work at 6pm, and as I travel towards home which takes me 45 min, my co-worker and I enjoy the entertainment. It's our Sat night laughs. However we also listen to all of the show on Sun. morning.This is sort of like listening to the "radio show" like my parents did before TV was invented.
As per your retirement and your replacement,please find a "clone" of yourself. You will be hard to replace. I wish I had found you earlier in life, but now in my late 50's it's probaly more appropriate as my interests in life have changed.
As with life, the best "jobs", are the ones that put a smile on our face, and are the hardest ones to leave, as with mine. It puts a smile on my face each day I work there.

So many people look at retirement as finally getting to do what they want all the time. My son just informed me the we are retired, and I guess waking up each morning getting to do what we want could be regarded as retirement were we not making a meager income from doing so! If you are enjoying what you do, and there isn't anything else you would rather be doing, why retire~

My good friend Garrison:

I feel I can call you that since you've been coming into my life on Saturdays for more than 30 years now. I'm not going to bore anyone here by retelling the story of how I was first introduced to the PHC other than to say it was while riding a bicycle in Iowa; I was passed by a group of Minnesotans (also on bicycles) riding in formation and singing the Powdermilk Biscuit Song at the tops of their lungs.

You, my friend, do not owe us anything; rather, it is we who are in debt to you for the couple of hours every week when it is OK to huddle around the radio like an electronic hermit; to hear the names of mystical icons like "Powdermilk" and "Ahooya"; to share in the secrets of arcane gatherings such as the Sons of Knute; and to be privy to the private — and not-so-private — thoughts and lives of the citizens of the not-so-mythical town of Lake Wobegon.

Once a week, when Lake Wobegon again rises Brigadoon-like from the ether and the airwaves, I have been transported to a quieter place, a happier place, a friendlier place, and — dare I say it? — a better place than so much of the modern world. And for this I thank you.

Sooner or later, the day comes when the life, the career, the hobby, the avocation, or the merry-go-round comes to a stop. When that time does come for you, Garrison, and you reach the end of that final show, stand up straight, square your shoulders, tell us all "good-bye", then turn and walk out of the spotlight.

Even though the voice may stop, the words and the memories will live on.


If you retire then Click and Clack or Tavis Smiley will take over your slot and they are insufferable. If you can take on that burden then go ahead.

Christopher Gray

My dear late mother, Theodosia, also an English major,in Minneapolis, introduced me to the show in the 1980s. The very first show was broadcast from my brother's alma mater, Macalester college, in St. Paul. So we have a connection. It was so nice to speak with you after the reception at the Lennox hotel in Boston, MA the night before cruise #1. I am, what a shame, one of the few black people I know who is thoroughly addicted to the show. One Norwegian friend called me the "whitest black person she knows." Not sure if that's a compliment or a put down!! I suppose she said that because I honor the English language and love classical music, and "act Minnesotan," whatever that means! And as I wrote earlier I gave Maia a Guy Noir t-shirt. From my CA license plate photograph. I was a late bloomer finally finishing my English lit degree in my mid-thirties at UC Berkeley. Barely made it out of there as Shakespeare was a challenge. Let me know Maia's t-shirt size. It was only yesterday when I stood in line with my friend Helen Steyer at the Herbst theater in San Francisco and you passed out photos of your two year old daughter. Now she's around twelve!! I have a son who is in his forties!! Thanks for bringing me back to Minnesota, my home, each Saturday night. Robert Ashley Martin P.S. Meant to write "aspiring atheist."

Garrison, you are the BEST story teller that ever lived. You make everything come alive, just as if we were there. There is very little to look forward to in life......thank goodness for PHC.

With the exception of death and the I.R.S., there seem to be few constants in life. However, one constant that I have relied on each week for more than thirty years are Garrison's dulcet tones which, even if for only two hours, take me to a better place. The PHC images created in my mind's eye are vivid and comforting and provide respite from the pressures of this work-a-day world.

As a transplanted Philly boy in Iowa, I first heard PHC in the late 70's and it has been a constant companion through all my moves around the country. You have been with me through jobs, successful and failed relationships, helped me raise my children, and made me laugh and cry. Over the years, I've been blessed to attend shows in a number of locations and will again be part of the crowd at Wolftrap on May 29th.

I would hope that your doing the show brings you pleasure in equal measure to that which we receive by listening. I hope that for many years moving forward, I will still be able to turn on the radio on a Saturday night and "hear that old piano".

'Thank you' cannot begin to describe the gratitude for what you've given us each week. When you decide it's time to give it a rest and/or feel that you have other "promises to keep", please know that Ralph Waldo Emerson's quote on 'Success' applies specifically to you.

My husband and I have to submit vacation requests for 2011.
As first time APHC cruisers this year, I can only say WOW! and thank you! It was incredible and we are so thrilled that you are thinking about doing it again! Please post the dates as soon as you have them so we can work it into our schedule. It doesn't matter where you go, we will follow!!! Can't wait for the morning glee club again, and see you in Tanglewood!

My husband and I were at the Wolf Trap Saturday night show,and so enjoyed it. To be there on Memorial Day was especially meaningful as my husband celebrated his 40th Alive Day anniversary on May 19th. He was shot and paralyzed in combat in Viet Nam and has been a proud wheelchair rider since then. We are now retired and cruises work well for us. We hope you do have a cruise in 2011 and post it soon so we can capture one of the few wheelchair accessible rooms on the ship. Please don't you retire anytime soon!

Dear GK - We agree with all the thoughtful comments here. Your take on life is so important to so many of us who find Lake Wobegon a very pleasant alternate universe. We can never let you retire. If you need a little break, you'll just have to go part-time.
As for your cruises, after two of them we're addicted. So we can only say - with sincere apologies to John Masefield and all real poetry lovers:

We must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all we ask is a tall host, a true star to steer her by,
The Shoe Band's kick and the Glee Club's song and the Powdermilk Biscuits baking,
And Tim and Sue, soundFX from Fred, and Lake Wobegon news breaking.

We must go down to the seas again, for the call of the pretty good joke
Is a wild call and a clear call - but it must not be over-worked;
And all we ask is at least one more cruise with the PHC crew sailing,
For fun days and sleepless late-nights with Robin and Linda's sweet wailing.

We must go down to the seas again, to the realm of Guy Noir.
For Dusty and Lefty, and Jearlyn's pipes, and Norwegian bachelor farm-oirs;
And all we ask is some merry yarns from a red-shoed fellow-rover,
And a good night's sleep and more Wobegon dreams when each cruise is over.

Hope to see you again at Tanglewood later this month. You could someday? retire and begin your final tour, like the Rolling Stones et al, and just continue to tour until IT stops. Thanks for every moment.

I started listening to your show in the mid-80's while I was in graduate school. A classmate was listening when I walked into his lab. Soon we had parties where we would eat dessert and talk and listen to the News. Anyone who spoke when you were talking was glared at. Not a single English major among us - we were all scientific types.
When you talked about ending the show I started recording the shows. I have a 20 gal box filled with cassette tapes of your shows - in addition to all the CDs I have purchased. Now I have it all digital - so I can listen to the shows I am not near a radio to hear the first time.
I have enjoyed the variety of musical talent you have had on your show - it has broadened my taste and my collection. I wish I could have had an English teacher and a music teacher like you. I do not have any talent in either - but the lessons would have been wonderful.
I miss Buster the Show dog a lot. Also, Bertha's and a few others. I made a CD of a variety of songs from your show - just funny songs that made me laugh so hard I couldn't play them when I was driving because I was afraid of having an accident. I gave a copy to a friend who I thought might enjoy some of the songs. He asked me for a second copy because a friend of his was homesick when she heard it - she had left the Midwest for California, for uncertain reasons.
I can only bear the thought of you retiring because I have collections of stories and songs to listen to. Even my 11 year old son wants to listen to you on Saturdays.
I like your work.

Dear Mr Keillor -

I have just sent you a Message via another channel, after viewing the 'PHC' Film on BBC TV in England.

I can recommend semi-retirement, which is what I am currently doing.

You have a perfect right to ease down a bit, and I wish you well when you do so.

However, it's very difficult to totally Drop a Venture to which one has been very Devoted, and I hope that you and your Colleagues can work out a Compromise for a little while longer, as PHC would be very sadly missed by its many Fans, were it to finish.

Why not broadcast Online only?
My Colleague and I do this, with our Internet Station: ( -
This allows us to do Shows when we can, without the Stresses of Live Shows.
(Admittedly, we don't experience the Excitement either!)

All the Best - Lynne, in England.

Dear Mr Keillor,
Listening to PHC Sunday afternoon broadcasts on WPLN in Nashville is our best way to begin each week. I was fortunate to be in the PHC audience on New's Eve in Nashville's Ryman Auditorium several years ago and enjoyed so much that special occasion. Since then every New Year begins with PHC. Thank you for providing so much joy and entertainment.
Technology with allow us to hear your voice and read your words for many generations. Hopefully you will follow your heart and your love for life and wake up each day doing what you wish.
Judith Luna

PHC is one of the reliably entertaining and enlightening times that i look forward to every week. As long as you want to continue your work, I will appreciate every moment. The regular crew and guests are top notch. Eventually this will come to an end, but ability to replay past shows will provide some comfort. I hope people support the digital ability of your website as much as they can. It will be a testament of the PHC family.

I'm a longtime listener who has just started coming out to your shows. My husband and I are ecstatic that you're considering a 2011 cruise and hope fondly to be part of it.

I also listen to the show because of an old friend Robert Ashley Martin who I have not heard from in years. He has written on this site, If you see this email, Robert, please contact Bob and I and we would love to hear from you. We are still in the same place with all the same info you have always had. Look forward to hearing from you.

To all the comments which precede this one, amen. With the passing of Tom Keith I'm sure the idea of retirement gets serious thought.

When you do retire, if you do, I'll sit with a glass of wine -- or perhaps a fine single malt -- and think with joy of all the times you've come into the home, bringing laughter and light. I'll remember the elephant with its trunk in the window of the VW and its lesson about love -- the Christmas show with Scandinavian songs and "news" about your return to your childhood bedroom set up like a little kid museum -- the graduation show where Pomp and Circumstance becomes a beautiful song about family joy -- and the next to the last of the first shows, with Whitman, and the "news" about the grain elevator and risk. I gave that last one to each teenage son as a kind of reassurance package and they loved it.

We've been friends now for decades; if you do move on, there are memories enough to keep us laughing and loving as long as this life lasts, and I thank you and yours with infinitude gratitude for it all.

Well, if GK does retire, you could try actually going to a church to sung some hymns. Many of them are still there, some do still sing the good old hymns. One can't always let other carry the load of our own cherished memories.

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