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NOTE FROM THE HOST

March 18, 2011 | 141 Comments

A note from Garrison on reports he is retiring in the spring of 2013.

I'm in London, walking around under an umbrella with my daughter in hand, looking at fields of yellow and white daffodils, the flower that excited Wordsworth. This morning a reporter rang me up, as they say here, to ask if I am retiring in the spring of 2013, as reported in the papers. There isn't a simple answer to that. The simple fact is that mortality is a helpful prod that keeps us trotting along, mindful of our place in life, and awakens us to the beauty of spring daffodils (there being fewer springs ahead than behind) and reminds us performers not to hang around too long. There is a point at which people start to worry for you onstage and that's when you should hang it up. It's a delicate illusion we create and if we dodder and dither, the game is over. We've all seen old gaffers who pushed the public's loyalty much too far and it's not a pretty sight. Some performers put out 20-year-old publicity photos. Mine show a 68-year-old man with bushy gray eyebrows and in some pictures he looks every bit his age. I was 32 when I started A Prairie Home Companion and now I'm looking down the road at 80. So what? Big deal. Welcome to the world.

I love this radio show, which has been a solid fixture in my bumpy life, and I want it to push on bravely into the future with new hosts and a new spirit, and to that end I am planning for the future. The spring of 2013 strikes me as a good time to step quietly into the wings and watch some younger livelier person step out. I am on the lookout for replacements. I hope to keep a gentle paternal connection to the show for years to come and to go on with The Writers Almanac, and meanwhile I am looking forward to Nashville on the 26th and then New York and a flowering spring.



141 Comments


I love you. It's that simple. I'm madly in love with your voice, your intellect, your stories, your humor and your soul (or what you allow us to see of it). And you are not doddering or dithering at ALL! My 31-year-old daughter and her friends go to see you every chance they get when you're in NYC...as do I! Now that doesn't sound like you are someone who has hung around "too long." As for looking at fewer springs ahead - well, of course, that's true and I think of it often myself. A bit depressing, sure, but that is this thing called life that is far too tentative and far too heady an experience to consider concluding. There can be no replacement for you, Garrison. That is not said to compliment you, but it is merely a fact. Can't you see that there IS no "younger, livlier" person on the face of this earth who would or could make a worthy replacement for you. Please reconsider your retirement or, at the very least, bow out very, very gradually -- and don't break my heart. Love, Ginny


Dear Garrison,

Unless you really have to or want to, please don't go. You are very much loved and needed. You remind us our American roots.

And, as an unfortunately disabled nurse, being retired is really not a piece of cake. I know we all say we can't wait to retire, but it is not all it is cracked up to be.

To many of us you are a real part of America. Please stay as long as you are able.

With love, karen


Thank you, Garrison, for looking ahead. You have created a wonderful radio show that deserves to go on long after you do. I can't imagine the show without you, but then I thought the same thing when you took a break from the show before. It will go on as it should. Meanwhile I will listen to you, read what you write, and keep you in my world as long as you feel you wish to be. You are always invited into my home. -- Helen


Dear Garrison,
For the brief 23 years that I have lived, you have been a constant source of entertainment, warmth and knowledge for me. Listening to your show on Saturday evenings was something I looked forward to since I was a little girl. I loved the fact that it brought my mother and I closer together, especially since I moved from Chicago to New Orleans last year.
I have met you twice when you played at the Ravinia Theater. I observed you as you were meeting other fans, you were attentive to each person you met, and genuinely interested in what they had to say.
I want to thank you for all of these things, and so much more. Whatever you decide to do, you have support from so many different people, and I can only hope that you continue to be the same attentive, caring, warm man you've been for me my whole life.
-Lily


I know why you are retiring. I saw you in Durham NC a few weeks ago and noticed that your red shoes are almost worn out. I guess you are going to go when they go, but if you stay I will buy you another pair of red shoes.
-Ken


I wouldn't wish any "senior" performer to go on without having the heart to peroform. We were lucky that you came back from your "first" retirement. As I drove home today in the NYC traffic, I listened to the show that Sara Watkins hosted. I felt as if she was being gromed to the audience. Lets face it, Sara is a great performer for her youth. She would take the show to another direction. Maybe more variety music. I'm 50 and working two jobs. I look in the mirror and ask myself, How long is my body going to hold up. At any rate, you have not lost any of your wit that came along years ago. I must thank my sister for putting the show on when (in 1984?) we drove from Richmond, up to New York. I fell in love with this wonderful show. You will know when you need the rest. Enjoy life, look at the faces of people you walk past. Somewhere in the croud you pick out someone's smile and it makes you feel good about yourself. You have our love, and please cherish it. It will keep on coming to you! Peace, Glenn


Thank you for sharing your big step in 2013. I too, intend for that year to be my retirement year, and am looking forward to mentoring, leading, listening, writing, and fully living each day. Oh, wait, that's what I have been "trying" to do my entire life! PHC reminds me of those living goals, and the Writer's Almanac reminds me of the past, but keeps me in the present moment! Thanks for your wonderful work, GK. Best wishes to you.


If you are tired and want a break, who can blame you. If you need a re-energizing, re-inspiring time away from PHC, who can blame you.

All artists need this from time to time. (And, you my friend are quite an artist) Take the time that you need and deserve for yourself GK. Get a temporary host to sub for you while you reflect and refuel.

But, if you are considering retiring because you think you are too old, or less relevant than before, that is simply not true.

Frankly, in this arid, conservative, and rapidly becoming souless climate we live in now, you and the cast of PHC are needed more than ever.

Others have said it, I will say it too. I love you and your work. I have been a fan for many years. I have a standing Saturday night date with you GK, and how I will miss you if you don't show up!

Ditto for everyone else on PHC!

That being said, because I love you, I want the best for you, whatever that may be. Only you know for sure. Whatever it is, you have my love and support of your choice.

Helen


Dear Garrison

Thank you for your years of service, I love your show and listen to the replay on Sunday as I drive home from Church and I always have a good laugh that people see me probably wonder what am I doing to laugh that hard as I drive. You warm up my cold winter days here in Michigan with a good laugh. I discovered you late in your carrier and wished I knew about you earlier. I love your voice and love to listen to you talk and sing also love your Guy and Dusty characters.
No one should deny you your retirement you have earned it entertaining us all these many years. And hope you will stop by once in awhile if you keep your show going with a new host, though I don't know who could replace you.

Thank You so much for all the laughs!

Kimberly


Mr. Keillor,

I saw an article on a wonderful teacher and community citizen from the Reno County area in south-central Kansas, where I experienced life for many youthful years. Mr. Robert Ashworth's response to the caring accolades showered upon him by his admirers reminds me of the understatement so often found in your monologues.

His story is found on the following web-page.

http://www.hutchnews.com/Print/moments2008-03-29T21-52-26

Four-decade firefighter

A community-wide party on March 22 honored Bob Ashworth, of rural Arlington, for his retirement after 40 years as a Reno County District 4 volunteer firefighter. He was also lauded for 28 years of service as a trained EMS volunteer with the Arlington ambulance.

A crowd of more than 100 attended the picnic of hamburgers, hot dogs, cake and punch at Arlington Elementary School.

Along with a gift of a gold-painted ax, Ashworth was presented his helmet - also now retired.

A 29-year industrial arts teacher at Nickerson High School, Ashworth also served as a volunteer firefighter in that district.

He's answered calls to grass and pasture fires, anhydrous ammonia emergencies, traffic accidents, train wrecks, and helped set up landing zones for medical helicopters, he said.

Retirement means Ashworth no longer has to get up in the middle of the night. However, he still has his pager and is ready to make midnight coffee for his volunteer buddies,

Ashworth said.

"It's been fulfilling," he said


It strikes me that you and Bob Ashworth have been doing your jobs for about the same duration of time, and both of you are swell fellers. Thanks to you both.


Dear Garrison,

My husband and I love your show, and we love you. We love your beautiful voice, your wonderful stories and songs, and we would hate like anything to lose you. We are around your age, so we know why it is you feel the need to retire, but you are by no means a doddering, dithering old man. You are a force of life, and living proof that you don't need to be thirty-two years old to provide hours of joy and entertainment. If you go away, who will sing to us about Rhubarb Pie? Who will tell us all the news from Lake Woebegone? And who will sing to us in a voice no one else can duplicate? There IS no replacement; there can BE no replacement. We understand it, but we will surely grieve if you're gone. Please don't be in any hurry to go.
But if you are serious about what you say, and really must go, then please never forget the millions of people who love you.

Love, Daisy & Charlie


You may not know this, but your show is getting better every week.


You have become our "Saturday Night out"...We sit outside on our deck or patio and listen to your show; while we share a bottle of wine. You have become an important part of our evening, and we dearly love your show. We are anxious that you will be coming to St Louis in April, and are taking some friends to introduce them to what they have been "missing" for so many years. Do what you must do--but please remember that you are a very special part of our life, and we love your show.
Peace, Don & Laura


Mr Keillor,

How can you go when I have just found you???? I have become a loyal and fierce fan. I adore your wit, humor, and voice and have started digging into the archives. I listen to the Writer's Almanac every night and cannot imagine a Saturday night without you. I do not find you to be old, dithering, or doddering at any level but intelligent and wise. I know we all need a break sometime and of course only want the best for you but know that if/when you go you will be truly, lovingly missed!!!

Kelly


It may be able to continue on, and it may very well still be a form of comfort and joy to many, but there is no way to seperate PHC & GK. Mr. Keillor you are, wether you like it or truely believe it, PHC itself. I do not attempt to spell doom to the show without you there, but it will either have to roll on the very same way with the same format or be something very different when you leave it. Teetering in the middle I don't believe will work. May your retirement years bring the joy to you that your program has brought to so many for so very long.

Congrats! and thank you Garrison for being a positive force in a growing world of negativity.


It may be able to continue on, and it may very well still be a form of comfort and joy to many, but there is no way to separate PHC & GK. Mr. Keillor you are, whether you like it or truly believe it, PHC itself. I do not attempt to spell doom to the show without you there, but it will either have to roll on the very same way with the same format or be something very different when you leave it. Teetering in the middle I don't believe will work. May your retirement years bring the joy to you that your program has brought to so many for so very long.

Congrats! and thank you Garrison for being a positive force in a growing world of negativity.


Dear Garrison,

You provide a gift to your fans that no one else could come close to replicating. The news of your retirement this week was not totally unexpected, but depressing beyond words. I think we all understand what a challenge it must be, growing more so each year, to travel and write and entertain your fans, giving 150%, we all wonder how you do it. (I am your age, only about a week apart celebrating birthdays, and totally understand everything you have shared about this stage of life and the attraction of retirement!).

As part of a group ("Table 135") of friends who met on your second cruise, we have all looked forward to each subsequent cruise, and have enjoyed them more each year ~ adding new members to our group as we shared our excitement. We decided in 2010 to take it a step further and travel to St. Paul to take in the opening show and we were absolutely giddy with the experience. Our group has expanded to the point that this year we will require two tables on the cruise. And of course we see all of the cinecasts and personal appearances in our neck of the woods as well.

One of the members of our group is facing more than one surgery in the upcoming months, but vows to be on board when we sail from Boston. They were the last couple to arrive in St. Paul, having been delayed because they wanted to see your show in California the night before they left, which required quite a drive, and then the flight to St. Paul the next day. Your fans are a dedicated bunch.

We'll take you any way we can get you - reduced time "on stage", less travel, whatever works for you. If it must be retirement, you will have earned a wonderful one. It is a hard decision, but at some point inevitable for all. We're thankful for the time we've had together.

PS - New CD's of your duets would help make this bearable!

God bless,
BL & HF


Dear GK -
I dreaded that this day was coming soon. All too soon for those of us who have grown up listening to APHC. To us, your fans, you are a great American institution. You may find a new host, but you will never be replaced - not in our hearts.
As for you, I could sense the fact that this decision has been like removing a great burden: you seem to be having fun again doing the show. Enjoy your final seasons and know that you will be sorely missed.

W. Scott Allen
SE Idaho


well, it's been a long profitable career for a 20th century Mark Twain. I'll miss the anecdotal accounts of the narrow-minded views of basically Calvinistic prairie settlers. I will not miss Garrison's attempts at singing... as he can't carry a tune in manure wagon... and early on a listener wrote a polite suggestion that he not do so as always joined in with legitimate singers... yo which he gave a reply that essentially said: "screw you too." Garrison has always been known in St Paul circles as self-absorbed. But then successful entertainers usually are. So bye-bye Mr Prairie Pie.. drive the Chevy off the banks of the Mississippi. I hope you can find a suitable replacement now that God declined telling you he already had a public career. Perhaps the other self-absorbed Minnesota Chosen on.. Al Franken will be available. or the native son Jessie Ventura. I hope you don't offer the job to rednecks like Jeff Foxworthy. is Tom Bodet available?


Dear Garrison: Thank you for these many years of radio bliss. We have listened almost every Saturday for over thirty years ! If we worked evenings, we carried a player to tape the show and listened the next day; If we were off, we flopped to the floor in front of the stereo and laughed maniacally. Even our trusty pooch, Bear, listened to PHC and every incarnation of it, wagging his tail and howling when your voice came on air. Such sweet memories. We feel so fortunate to have followed the show for so long. Best of luck ..
Happy Trails and Godspeed, Annie & Tom of Alpena MI


For the last 18 years, my Saturdays have been planned around APHC.....now what'll I do????? That being said, I too am 68 and my husband just retired this past Jan. so we know where you're comming from. We hope you will change your mind and you probably won't sooooo maybe you'll show up for many 'guest' appearances? We love you, the cast and the whole show!!!! Best of luck and enjoy you family...famlies are the BEST. Thanks so much for my Saturdays!
Judi Bergman
Black Diamond Wa.


Dear Garrison,
"O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!" Robert Burns
I don't think you are ready for Mr.DeMille's close-up camera yet. You still make this
middle-aged woman laugh out loud and that is
not an easy feat. Be well. Susan


We are the same age . My Grandfather worked in
his clothing store in Jackson, KY until he was
86. He was more or less forced to sell his store
by the Bank next door,
which wanted his property
for a drive-through window. When he sold the
store lock-stock-and barrell to the bank he was
left with nothing to do but sit on his front porch
and be bored. He died the next year.

We really need you, Garrison. Don't quit.
The show is what makes your being keep
itself together.


My heart pounds with sore sadness...you and your show have been so important to me over the years and were there from the very beginning of my entry into my chosen life as Vermonter. I discovered you, pottery mugs, goats, and wildflowers all at the same time. As others have said, we know nothing can last forever and certainly you deserve the best and most perfectly tailored-for-your-desires retirement, but there will be REAL grief. Although we all don't know you personally, you have touched us at a level so much deeper than mere entertainment. You have made us remember the intellectual, spiritual and humorous heights that we as people are capable of attaining - and all that during times of despair, increasing intolerance and financial crisis. You are so much more than an entertainer, though a very fine one indeed. I, too, fear that the show just can not be successful with a different captain at the helm, so I wish you the best an highest creativity as you and others plan for the next wonderful gift we may receive over the airways - no matter how different it looks. You have my deepest esteem and warmth.
P.S. Where do I sign up for the Lake Woebegone Grief Support Group?!


Mr Keillor: Like many others before me, my comment is simply, retire if you feel that you must,of course. But you are an example, not of a doddering celebrity, but rather of an intelligent, aging, sharply satirical man. Please do no leave because you sense that youth is demanded by this culture. You stand against that notion by every week performing brilliantly with your live radio troupe! Do not go gently into that good night!
janet kubancik
cleveland heights, ohio


Good call. We all exit this existential experience eventually. Good to see you handle it with your usual grace. Good work guy. Larry


Please don't go...


Dear Garrison,

My husband and I have been loyal listeners for at least 30 of your 36 on air years... going back to the days of "home defense hardware" (and how we've been waiting for that to resurface!)

APHC just could not be the same show without you at its helm.

But knowing what must be inevitable, and knowing the height of your talent and depth of your commitment, we look for the imprint of your incredible gifts on APHC – Generation 2

We hope you will share your plans as they progress.

Your red sneakers will be impossible to fill... such a person would have to have the quick, humorous uptake of Paula Poundstone, the storytelling ability of David Sedaris, the musical outlook of Vince Giordano.

Is there any possibility that for APHC – G2 you will design a "Keeping in Touch" segment for yourself?

Rock on, big guy – but not off into the sunset!

Your fans, Jaxon and Arlene Teck
Rockaway, NJ


Dear Garrison,
I'm sorry that my husband and I didn't listen to you sooner. We have listened to you since the 90's and that certainly isn't long enough. We have seen you in Madison, Wi and we were not disappointed! I have listened to you for the past 2 1/2 years without my partner in life and would not change that. You brought a normalcy to my life. Enjoy the thought of retirement and being with your family! We will miss you but you will always be with us. God's blessing on you for all the entertainment you have given us through the years. You are the "BEST".

Mary Plaisance
Neenah WI


You are wonderful and a blessing every time you perform and I don't know what I'll do without you but, knowing that you are going to stay involved is very reassuring!
Thank you for all the wondeful years of entertaining and thought provoking and truly hilarious shows.


I'm exactly your age and I've listened attentively to Prairie Home Companion for over 20 years. It's an important part of our life. I hope it's time for you not to think of retirement, but to go forward with your own life's work. Did Picasso stop painting and retire at 90? Did Titian?

My wife loves your program too. We look forward to hearing you every week, especially Guy Noir, Lake Wobegon, The Cowboys, Ketchup, etc. and your political humor which is needed in this crazy time.


Mr. Keillor,
I was introduced to your program by an English teacher that felt I was one of the few in class that would enjoy your program back in the '80s. She was right. For years I have enjoyed the variety of honest entertainment. I would ask, no PLEAD! that who ever carries on this program, that you'd insist that they carry on the "shout outs" for service folks; people serving this country in unimaginable conditions that are grasping for some toe hold of civility. Your program IS one of those icons of life our friends and family look for. PLEASE Keep these folks in your prayers and plans for the future. I'm sure they'd appreciate it. Thanks for the years you've given and good luck with your future.
Take care Sir


I am devastated at this news. I do hope you continue to play a huge role in the show after 2013. I also can not wait for more Lake Wobegon novels. I hope that you continue writing stories (not just Lake Wobegon ones) long after 2013!


If we all sat down and cried at the same time....would you recondsider????

As a 60 year old, I am finding fewer and fewer people who speak to me, to my concerns, my life, and the lives of people more or less in our age bracket...

someone new and fresh....sorry, I won't listen ...I am not young and fresh ....I have quite enough young and fresh people on all the media, they haven't been through enough life to be interesting enough to host PHC ....


I haven't written to say how bad your subs have been this year, cause I didn't want to hurt anyones feelings....but Garrison ....don't tell them, but between you and me, they sucked....if you are a 10, they were a 2 1/4 ( and that's being generous).....they sing just fine .....but HOST ????? ah, no...


....if you insist on retiring....and I beg on bended knee , please don't.....then I would listen to your old shows, but I have no interest in someone new and fresh .....

.... I have been dreading this announcement for years.....and hoping against hope that the time would never come....I worry about your health, and if that's the underlying case....I am so sorry. But that's the only reason that makes any sense to me....


....You have had a long and wonderful career, but remember that many of us who listen to you have grown older with you .....we relate to you like no other person in this country I can think of ...what you have to say is important to us.....who else understands and speaks of us ?


.....One of the happiest thoughts I have had while listening to your show over the years is that I picture people all over the country, sitting and listening to you on Saturday night....and how we are all connected by the music and laughter and most of all the sound of your voice, telling us what we have come to regard as our extended family....and your observations about life in the US during these most astounding and alarming of times.....


......Performers getting faded .....well, maybe most do ....but you are in a class by yourself....your voice, your show.....they do get better.....and have since I started listening to it in 1983....there is no decline in quality...there is increase....so that shoots that arguement all to h*** and gone....


.....the place you hold in the hearts of your friends out in radioland.....it is only yours....it cannot be passed on .....

please stay....we need you



I get it, I teach school (23 years) and I too am looking at "13 to "hang it up"...now while I may be missed by one or two it's not the same thing..as you my dear Mr. Keillor!

Retire if you must but much as you don't want to acknowledge it YOU CANNOT BE REPLACED and it will not be the same show...so for my husband and myself ( who have flown to St. Paul many times just for your show)we will find a station that features "re runs" of old shows.


Garrison,
In the words of Kevin Costner's character in 'Field of Dreams,' "The man's done enough."
If anyone has earned a retirement, it's you. Of course your many listeners will miss your humor and warmth. But you've given more than anyone can expect. One can only imagine the energy required to put on a live, two-hour show every week for so many years.
For now, we'll all enjoy the rest of this season and next, and wish you good luck in adjusting to a lower gear.
Thrive.
Jay


Garrison,
I wept when I heard the news and to read that you expect to find a replacement???? How on earth would that be possible? You are one of a kind in this world.
I am glad you have been a part of my life. I've listened to your show and raised my children with your voice in the background the last 30 years, you have been a gift. A bit of laughter and fabulous music in such uncertain times. My guess is your show might go on but it just won't be the same. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us, you will be sorely missed.
Barbara


A replacement? Surely you jest. A new host, perhaps. But somebody who can wander for minutes in and around Lake Wobegan? Who can be Guy Noir? It will be harder than finding a replacement for Charles Kuralt On the Road and while several have tried, not have matched him.

Yes, I cringe when I hear singers who should have stopped long ago (Julie Andrews doesn't realize it, but that operation saved her from this ignominy), but you are nowhere near that stage. More to the point, your show is way more than your singing voice. Give that part up if you must, but the rest? Unless your health is a barrier, keep going. Please.


Like the memorable sound of Twins' announcers Herb Carneal and Halsey Hall, droning through hitless inning after inning on warm August afternoons long past ... the quiet "presence"of your unique voice has brought a comfort and familiarity to my loved ones (since "A Prairie Home Companion" first debuted in November of 1971) - while driving, in the kitchen preparing dinner, or in the parlor of our 1900 Victorian while relaxing on Sunday mornings...

My children - who now have children of their own - "grew up" on your program,and continue to listen in their "maturity"...

In summation, I offer this tribute - inspired by (and with apologies to) Terrance Mann, from "Field of Dreams":

"People have listened, Garrison.

They've come to PHC for reasons they can't even fathom.

They've turned up the radio not knowing for sure why they're doing it.

They've arrived at your hour as innocent as children, longing for the past.

Of course, I didn't mind if you lingered and listened, you said. It's only 90 minutes per person.

They've passed the time without even thinking about it: for it was time they had and peace they lacked.

And they've walked out to the porch; sat in shirtsleeves on perfect afternoons.

They've found they had reserved seats somewhere - anywhere - for your Lake Wobegon reminiscences, so similar to those they experienced when they were children and loved everything about their lives.

And they've listened to your "game" and it was as if they dipped themselves in magic waters.

The memories were so thick they've had to brush them away from their faces.

People have listened, Garrison.

The one constant through all the years, Garrison, has been A Prairie Home Companion.

America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers.

It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again.

But PHC has marked the time.

Your program, this fixture: it's a part of our past, Garrison.

It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again.

Oh... people have listened, Garrison.

People have most definitely listened."

And we shall remember, with the greatest fondness and much gratitude...

Thank you, my eloquent friend!


Garrison, consider your ankles grabbed....NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!


Dear Garrison,
I have enjoyed Prairie Home Saturday nights and/or Sunday mornings for many years. You're a great talent, and you have showcased great talents. My wife and I saw you in Seattle a while ago. I hope to see you again.
Retire if you must, Dear Sir! Let us think that once in a while you will return,, even briefly and "appear" on a show or two. We'll miss you. We hope the show will go on. Good Health and Good times to you and yours!
Rick


As so many others have said you are irreplaceable. This might be the spur for me to come over and catch the show live as I have been promising myself to do for many years, I've never managed to get tickets when you have been in Edinburgh. I love listening to the show and Lake Wobegon just puts me so much in mind of small town life here in Scotland, though we do have to grow our tomatoes in greenhouses! I remain a devoted Scottish fan.


Since I am a younger listener, I will miss your show when you retire. I will miss your humor, News From Lake Wobegon, and all those funny jokes and skits you have shared on your program that I enjoy almost every Saturday. Your show will always be remembered as one of the best. I wish you a happy retirement!


Ah, now I have to agree with Martin, the previous entry, as I live in Wales and often chuckle at the pictures of small town life portrayed in Lake Wobegon (surely you must have been to our church?).

I would also love to step on a plane and come see the show before you step aside but I have a technical hitch, namely my departure next January to West Africa to work long term. In case I dont manage that transatlantic trip please consider visiting the UK with the PHC team but if not I shall continue to follow on line each week, either in chilly Wales or tropical Benin. Thanks for doing what you do with such grace.


Dear Garrison,

I am a twenty-six year old devoted and loving fan of the show. Memories of listening to Prairie Home Companion while helping my mom in the kitchen and playing games with my older brother are some of the fondest memories of my childhood in Oklahoma. I listened to you every Sunday in Iowa City as an eager, excited, and sometimes lonely college student. And then again every Saturday after I moved to work in Chicago. Now I listen to you each weekend with my girlfriend, a native Minnesotan and lifelong fan of the show. My mother and I are very close and rarely do we talk on the phone when PHC doesn't come up in our conversation. Please know how important your voice, songs, and stories have meant to me over the years. During both difficult and joyous times, your show has been the home I can take with me despite how far from home I often find myself. Clearly, you will be missed, but your voice is already woven into the lives of so many others.

Warmest wishes for your many adventures to come,

Conrad


Clean breaks are a bad thing. Your retirment shculd be a gradual one over the course of ten to fifteen years. Break a new cast and new characters in slowly. And then you can retire to Palm Springs or Oslo or anywhere you choose. We (your fans and the family and friends of fans who are forced to listen to your show weekly) will be prepared. Well, in theory we'll be prepared. But as for reality, well that's what we leave behind while we visit Lake Woebegone. I'm not sure if we'll ever be able to let you go. You'll always be in our hearts. Thank You for your gift of heart and humor and faith and making your career look like a whole lot of fun.


Thanks for breaking this to us a gently as possible...and giving us time for "the Norwegian goodbye." I'm going to be running alongside and holding onto your car door as you disappear down the old radio road. I highly recommend that you tune up your autoharp and let those happy vibrations accompany you into this next exciting chapter of your life!

Pass the ketchup!
Darlene


GK, for what it's worth, John Milton Hay, the American statesman, diplomat, author, journalist, and private secretary and assistant to Abraham Lincoln, wrote, "luckiest is he who knows just when to rise and go home."

God bless.


You will likely be an impossible act to follow.
Good luck on the rest of it.


Dear Mr. Keillor,

I was recently reminded of why it is so important to God that we continue to endure this life here on earth. It is for the sake of others we may be a blessing to. Your talent is ageless and therefore incapable of losing it's potency so long as you are physically and mentally able to perform it.

All the Best,
Rick


Garrison,

I love your show. I'm in my mid-30s and don't think you are tottering around on-stage at all. You've given this world a gift in PHC. I wish you would stay until you are 80+!

-Linda


Selfishly, I cannot imagine life without you and PHC. I have listened from the first show, and intend to make it to the last. Perhaps if you took up cigars (George Burns), it would give those who need to worry about you something else to worry about, and you can just get on with the show...I think most of us accept that you (and we) are getting older, so what? Most of us who listen would rather you old and still there...and if you think you dither...think again, buster, think again...
MP


The first person's comments couldn't have said any better than I could. I aggree with Ginny and if your ablt do continue, life last longer when your working and especially if you working at something you love, and you did say you love the show. Maybe live doesn't really last longer, but it seems longer. I love your shows and I still go back and listen to some of the older show which still entertain me.

Always,

Marcelino Gonzalez


Hi Garrison,

One of the constant blessings in my life since I can remember has been A Prairie Home Companion. My father used his tape recordings of PHC as the ultimate reward for behaving well in church: "If you're well-behaved then when we get home we'll listen to that show where they re-tell The Tinder Box fairy tale." It worked like a charm every time! I loved sitting next to my father as we laughed and tapped our feet, and that Tinder Box bit is still one of my all-time favorite segments.

As I've aged with the show its hilarious reminders not to take myself too seriously have been invaluable, and it has truly been my "home away from home" sometimes too.

Since hearing this news there are selfish moments when I fervently wish that you never retire, but you've given me so much joy over the years that the least I can do is warmly thank you, continue to support you until the day you do retire the microphone, and wish upon you and your family all the joy that you've provided countless listeners.

You truly are an American treasure, and whenever you retire your radio legacy for me will always be wonderful stories, words of wisdom, and great jokes about penguins.

Cheers,
Lauren


Garrison;

I don't think I realized years ago when I "sort of" made my kids listen to your show on a Saturday night, that it would plant something in their little beings that could only sprout in South Minneapolis. But there they are, down the street, so to speak, with a family of their own. Listening to your show connects me with them on many levels, all of which I will miss when your voice fades.

Fortunately, I've taped many many of your best stories..not all...smile..some are better than others. They rest in a shoe box on the shelf, some 68 tapes, a story on each side...did I say tape? Soon I'll retire as well and one of my long held promises to myself is that I'll transfer them to a more enduring format....I don't want to loose those old stories like "A Christmas letter"... written to a friend on the old typewriter.... a classic piece I can listen to again and again.

I know the feeling of something stirring, nothing urgent, just the feeling of seeing this great world from a different perch. I wouldn't expect anything from you but making this transition with grace and class and a splash of humor. I'll miss your voice; Jesse and George and many others wouldn't have been as tolerable without your humorous prodding.

Keep going till your heart tells you otherwise!

Al


Mr. Keillor,

You are an American treasure. You have changed my life and the lives of many others. Our eyes have been opened to new ideas, worlds of thought, and we thank you for that.

All the best,

Nick Levendofsky


Mr. Keillor,

Thank you so much for being a part of my life for about as long as I can remember. My father introduced me to your show when I was just a little boy and we would listen to it almost every Saturday night. He even took me to see your show live when I was little and I was enthralled by the production and the performances I saw. Even now, with my 30th birthday looming, I listen to Saturday's show every Monday morning at work and it helps me get through that most dreaded of days. It even brings me closer to home as I moved to New Mexico from Delaware about 6 months ago and I know that my father, my brother and I all listen to the show every week.

I will surely miss you after 2013, but I know you will be very happy in your retirement and your family will greatly enjoy having you all to themselves.

I firmly believe you are this era's Mark Twain and you have been a great source of knowledge and entertainment to all who have listened to you. Congratulations on your stellar career and I hope you are looking forward to the years ahead of you.


Dear Garrison,

I hope you see the commotion over your announcement as a true testament to how much the world values you as an artist and a person. I for one was fortunate enough to be introduced to your show as a very young man and I can honestly say that now, on the eve of my 36th birthday, I really have no recollection of an existence without A Prairie Home Companion. The show has been a constant over my entire life; at times the only constant. A couple hours on a Saturday night to escape to a happier place or on a quick hilarious misguided adventure with Guy Noir. Deep down I hope 2013 comes and you reconsider but a man has to do what a man has to do. Regardless, we are all amazingly lucky to have had you and the show for all these years and it will continue to be a treasure. Thank you & see you on the cruise in July!!!

Aaron

PS. 70 is the new 50, didn’t anyone tell you?!?


Dear Garrison: This news, which has been leaking out in dribs and drabs for a few months, saddens me like it does so many others who have commented. I started listening to APHC in the 80's and introduced my Norwegian father to it one Christmas night after dinner. The news from Lake Wobegon was a story about Einar having to read the Gospel of St Luke at the Lutheran Church. Einar was as terrified as the shepherds visited by the angel. It made my usually dour and reserved father laugh out loud.

Since then I have played your tapes, CDs, and live broadcasts for him in the car as we traveled back to his hometown in central Wisconsin. Even despite his hearing loss, he always enjoyed and laughed at these stories of small town life among the Norwegians...people he himself knew all too well. He even had an Uncle Pete Peterson who was a Norwegian bachelor farmer.

I lost my father six years ago at age 94 and really miss sharing you with him. Now I am losing you, too.

Saturday nights with your show are a way for me to re-connect with my father, if only for the couple of hours I know he would have enjoyed so much.

Maybe some of the comments by so many will make you re-think your decison to leave us completely in the lurch in just a few short years.

Whatever you decide, you have given me so much over the years. I thank you.
Linda


Dear GK,

I just read that you are considering retiring.

I only discovered your show about two years ago, and now I plan my weekends around it. It's the best entertainment around, and the only REAL thing left these days.

And I've made a study of people who retire.

Retirement is relaxing and fulfilling....for about a week. People who retire start out all superior. ("I don't have to set my alarm clock, I can do anything I want.....")

The next time you see them, there's a dullness about them, and they're telling you their grandson has the lead in his high school play.

Then you don't see them for a while.

Then when you do, they have taken a job at the Exxon Station on Howard Street, three days a week.

Can you imagine NOT casting about for ideas for the coming week's show? I suspect the moment you retire, an odd thing will happen. You'll be deluged with ideas. Waking and sleeping. Whole episodes. And the vacations you dreamed of might even feel a little hollow when you don't have to get back to work afterward.

Am I saying this for selfish reasons? Well...yeah.

I don't want to face a Saturday night (and again Sunday afternoon--I always listen twice) without hearing you say that it's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, your hometown.

I've been a TV news reporter in Wheeling, West Virginia for 31 years, and I know that writing on deadline and taking your stuff on the air day after day, year after year, sometimes feels like it sucks the life right out of you. But I suspect the reverse is true.

I think it might be life-giving.

And besides, you are certainly not about to fall off the stage.

A new-found fan,

D.K. Wright

PS....We have a fabulous Beaux Arts era theater in Wheeling (The Capitol Theatre) just rescued and still being steadily restored that would make an incredible venue for the show. We'd pack the house.


Garisson
Always a surprise to hear the real fact about retirement..baby boomers talking.
I was introduced to your show some 6years ago. I have always worked on saturday for some 25 years.I sure didn't know what I was missing but I have listened to more shows since I am retired.
My very good friend has introduced me to your show... I was hooked immediately
We have planned our saturdays for those 6 years around that 6:00pm show and have assisted to all your performances at Town Hall since then.

I personnaly wish you the very best and deciding on your own term is a gift..enjoy.
You will be miss beyond imagination.

PS..ketchup is a must on your grocery list
Irene P.


The solution is obvious. More ketchup!


Garrison,
I figure that you probably won't read the sixty-third comment, so this is more for all the other posters reading it.
Thank you so much for the wonder, amusement, laughter, and joy you have brought to me and the rest of this country.
While my heart aches for radio, seeing as they will loose the beautiful, gravely, vulnerable voice that has soothed my ears and heart for so long.
But you have worked hard. Your show has only improved as time continually tested it.
You deserve a break. Be with your family. Enjoy life abundantly. Drink sweet tea while sitting on a rocking chair on your front porch at sunset. Look around, inhale. And smile.
You do a good thing.
God bless you in retirement from PHC,
Nathan Phillips


All good things must come to an end, but that doesn't mean we have to like it. :-) However, we all respect your choice and applaud you for your years of 'service' to your faithful fans. You have so much fun with all of your guests - my wish is to sing a duet with you before you leave. I wish I wish I wish... hugs, Stephanie


Mr. Keillor,

It looks like all 5 stages of grief for the retirement of a beloved friend are represented well in the comments above. Personally, I am still in denial.

You, sir, are the voice for and of peaceful, even, moderate people around the world. You assist the voices of democrats who love this country yet are considered to love it less because we do not agree with the crazy screaming voices from the other side of the aisle. You provide calm for 2 hours a week in our seas of turmoil. You are our secular prophet.

Thank you for the warning. I do not think that we could accept the news of retirement abruptly. We all need time to grieve.

Leon Edmond


I'll wander lonely as a cloud without Guy Noir, et al....


It is a sad decision but one which we must all respect and accept. Great that Garrison plans to hand on the show and see it into good safe hands, as well as an observer-adviser in years to come.

One request- PLEASE consider coming to the UK to do a few shows-You were in London recently, please come again and I am sure UK fans could pack a theatre for a couple of nights at least for a PHC UK.

You have a large following here, through BBC 7/BBC Radio 4 Extra and all of us who tune in online

Thank you for all the wise words, laughs, tears and mellow moments so far, and here's to more...

Chrissy Brand, Manchester UK


Mr. Keillor,

You are a true inspiration for all of your fellow Americans. Few authors reach the same audience and acclaim that you have discovered, by reminding us each weekend of some important and simple truths: understand your roots, know where you come from and remember just how cute a Minnesotan accent can be!

The impact of a surprise pat on the shoulder, from such an American icon, still resonates in countless ways. I don't quite remember how my high school English class ended up down at the Landmark Center that day to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of F. Scott Fitzgerald. But I do remember stepping up on the podium and reading a short passage aloud from the "Great Gatsby" with a friend. Then there was a hand resting on my shoulder, and after glancing down, I noticed a pair of red shoes and socks. It threw me off at first as I looked back to see who was listening in so intently, only to find you standing there smiling down with an encouraging look.

Well, there must be something to your wit and humor, as it keeps me and many others tuning into to your program each week. It also has been a pleasant reminder of home via radio program. Thank you for all of the great work from you and your team of performers, and let's not forget the support from your family. So do keep writing and riding on, for as long as you and Dusty can remain in the saddle.

ps I wouldn't suppose you know of any rush ticket possibilities for your show this weekend at the Ryman?


What are we to do with the sweet sorrow of your planned parting from our lives? My first tears are already shed - first of many.

To me you are the Atticus Finch of radio - tall, strong and true with a wit unsurpassed and red shoes. I am a better person for having listened to you and I am grateful.

Thank you for the beautiful music, your sublime words and your enchanting, mesmerizing voice. Thanks for the wonderful laughter that lingers long after many shows end.

I love you Garrison Keillor and always will.

Most sincerely yours,

Nan Calvert


GK,
Thankyou for all the wonderful years of PHC. I am truly heart broken to see you leave because you have brought so much laughter and enjoyment into my mundane life. Personally, I feel you have brought back new life into radio with your shows. I can honestly say that PHC ranks right up there with Yours Truly Johnny Dangerously, Green Hornet, George & Gracie Allen,and The Lone Ranger (Just to name a few of my favorites). You may be gone, but I won't forget you. Thanks again.

Arthur Pendraggonne


There can never ever be a replacement...you are the best.


Does this mean you're running for President? :) Ah well, you're too smart for that and all...


Garrison, as I look 72 square in the eye, I can feel what you are feeling. I hate to tell you this, but YOU are your program. I want you to keep on keeping on. Our enjoyment is not because you are just full of clever quips. It is because we are desperate for some intellectual banter. You don't have to jump all over the stage, just keep on with what you are best at: good clean fun and intellect. Tell us what you are doing and how you feel doing it. We will understand.


I am a Georgian by birth, but my roots reach back to western Wisconsin. When I was a child I hung on every word in every story that my larger-than-life Norwegian grandfather told (in English and Norwegian).
I am 44 years old now and have not been to my mothers family farm in Wisconsin in many years, but the Prairie Home Companion takes me softly back to that magical place I knew as a child.
Every Saturday night (now more often on Podcast) I again hang on every word of every story.


Mr. Keillor, I respect your decision. Please know that my husband, son and I have enjoyed your show for years. We have enjoyed it twice a week on WGBH in Boston-the broadcast on Saturday night and the rebroadcast at noon on Sundays. We have seen your show live at Tanglewood for several years and have enjoyed every one tremendously. In fact, we will be attending the Tanglewood show again this year. You have been at our Saturday night supper table and our Sunday lunch table. You have enriched our lives with your intelligence and wit. You have been and are a generous author, performer, humorist and host. Thank you for letting us know now so we can prepare. Please know too, that we love your radio actors, musicians and sound effects men. Their talents are magical. We love you and will trust your choice for a new host. In the meantime, we will be listening to every word, sound and song. You have our hearts and we wish you the very best! God bless you.


I've listened to your show at least since I was 14 or 15. I am 28 as of this keying.

I am in no way shape or form famous or reknowned, but I have gotten some attention with my artwork. (This isn't a sales pitch; there's actually a point to this.) I've learned that the artist/performer that gets the attention of more than a handful of human beings has a very serious question put to them: How long do you do something for others before you stop and do something for yourself?

You start out thinking that since it's YOUR artwork, YOUR product, then the joke is on the public... that you're doing something for yourself constantly by performing.

Not so much. Seems a person's artwork is a piece of the soul and you can only give so much away before there needs to be something put back. Not everyone out there understands that the artist/performer isn't an unlimited reservoir of entertainment.

So when you speak of finally stepping aside, I understand completely. Well, almost completely... I am without the obligation of wife and daughter unlike yourself.

It will be difficult to see you go, but I am of the opinion that the REAL fans will appreciate that GK has years of giving to others to make up for, and years of giving to his own family yet ahead.

God Bless,

-Rick


We'll be fine. My friends tell me that restaurants have been open all this time on Saturdays from 6 to 8 (who knew?). And you'll be fine; your brain is too agile for you not to figure out something new.

My concern, though, is for the good people of Lake Wobegon. Are they to be frozen in time, like the unlucky souls of Pompeii? Doomed to be forever fishing through an ice hole, baking a hot dish, dealing with the dog who made a poor decision about that skunk? They'll manage, I suppose. They always have.


If you leave... who will be Guy Noir???

This could be the end of the world as we know it...

Best wishes
Chuck


To That Voice on the Radio-


The voice I heard on the way to my little league baseball games, basketball games, soccer games, trumpet lessons, and of course working in the yard.

The voice I heard driving across America with my family as a youth, "tune into the lower dial, find NPR" my mother would say. Ah, and there you were, 88, 89, 90 point something, taking the hours away.

The voice of reason as a high schooler lost for his place in society. My peers off partying and I off alone listening to the voice having my own little party at home with my folks.

The voice of consistency as I went off to college. The voice that reminded me of those little league games, those long drives in the family conversion van, those nights separate from my peers; I discovered the archives in college and you took me away every night in deep slumber and great dreaming with your monologues.

The voice of graduate school and falling in love. The voice of sharing as I brought my betrothed to hear you for the first time fall 2010 in windy Colorado; you walked so close I could see your nose hairs, she liked your shoes...she now wears a pair of her own.

Your voice is the voice of my life. From little league to marriage, from family vacations to work breaks, you are the voice that has been there every step. Your voice has made me a better brother, son, friend and husband. Forever your voice will be with me.

See you in Lake Wobegon, Lutheran speak for heaven.

Marty


Stephen Lee Phillips: Awesome job on the Field of Dreams rewrite...


Lordy me what am I going to do without you on the radio in my kitchen on Saturday nights.I have listened and stirred and sipped all these years.While the sauces and soups simmered, I danced a jig or two.
We love you and will miss you.We wish you all the best and perhaps a guest appearance occasionally,please.


Thank you for so many great memories, it has been so much fun. I can't imagine Saturday night without you! My husband and I have been listening to you for the last 13 years, have met you at Tanglewood twice, and thanks to you have come to enjoy so many different types of music that we most likely would not have listened to. In the summer we sit outside on the patio with candles and bug spray and listen with joy, in the winter we are in the kitchen all cosy with good stuff cooking on the stove. We will continue to enjoy every show until you decide it is time to go and then we will wish you well. We love you and all your people on the show-you are close to our hearts. Thanks again!


Geez Louise, it doesn't seem right for me to ask more of someone who has already provided me with a bright light at the end of so many weeks. I can only hope you wake up tomorrow and realize that you are a young man. You are, afterall, from good stock, and have led a life that will get you into the triple digits. At any rate, 70 is not 80! And, 80 is the new 60. There may be many wonderful talented people in the world ready to take your place, but it's just not possible that anyone could take the place in so many hearts that is occupied by you and your team, perfectly as it is now. Of course everyone owes you best wishes, whatever you decide. In the meantime, I am prefering to think of 2013 as more of a though, than a declaration.


We've been so blessed over these many years.

Been listening since the beginnning. Even got to see the show once, when you came to Ashland OR, w/ special musical guest Queen Ida.

To do what you do every week is astonishing.

Thank you.


PERRY: Kent, if you retire before you are seventy, you won't get my blessing, or as much social security as you would if you retire early.
JIMMY: Golly Mister Kent, if you retire, who is going to get your by-line? I mean, since you won't be using your name, can I have it? Do you think your readers will notice?
LOIS: Have you asked Superman for his advice in this matter, Clark? You seem to be the only one he speaks to around here. Perhaps he could replace you, unless he's retiring too.
PERRY: You don't see me retiring, Kent. Do you? This newspaper is called, "The Daily Planet", not, "The Old Rocking Chair". Remember, "Even when seated on a throne, you are sitting on your own a...!"


Mr. Keillor - The comments left here, beginning with the first one by Ginny Laskaris, brought tears to my eyes. They all said what I feel. I have appreciated you and your work, and I will miss you terribly when you go.


Dear Mr. Keillor,

I just turned 50 years old. I have been listening to you for about the past two years now. I discovered you as I was flipping through radio channels one day trying to find some good music. Out of curiosity, I stopped and listened to a channel you were on. I have been a listener of your program ever since. You are the good music that I needed to find. While I regret you are aiming towards stepping down, I also wish you the very best of health, happiness and peace of mind in your journey ahead. You have worked hard the past many years to provide us your audience with humor and joy. Now it's your time to get out and smell the daffodils...Thank you Mr. Keillor. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Dear GK,

Thank you for your message about your plans. This gives us, your listeners, time to ponder how we can possibly live without you. and grieve for your absence.

To echo what others have said, you do not seem old or doddering, but I know each of us has a very closeup view of ourselves, and we are entitled to feel what we feel.

I am very sorry you are having to deal with mortality. For me, it is an unpleasant shadowy figure who walks a couple steps behind me and may reach out and tap me on the shoulder at any time. There should be a better way to get to the next destination, such as ascending into the sky. But I don't think we can count on this.

I hope you will be able to do some enjoyable things after you retire. Thank you for your many years of creative presence in our world.

Julie


Dear Mr. Keillor,
It is almost tragic to think of a weekend without listening to your words, songs, and stories. I have listened to your show almost every weekend since I was a little girl and now, in the middle of my medical residency, I still switch it on every Sunday at noon to unwind, reconnect with my childhood roots, connect with Americana and the folk music I so love, and just pause to remember the things that are important in life. I suppose I can wrap my mind around the reality of your retirement given two years notice. If you insist.. but you will be missed!

~ A


Mr. Keillor: I have been an ardent fan ever since my beloved mother started sending me tapes of your show just short of your start. I understand about retiring as I faced the same situation after 40 years of service in the United States Army, following in my father's footsteps, General George H. Clark, Sr, now deceased as well as my mother. I am now 72 and measuring my mortality, but SirbI will miss you very much as you are so loved in my family. My two sons and my only grandson loves you also. God's Blessings to you and your family as The Clark Family have beeb Blessed by your presents through these years. Colonel George H Clark, Jr USA (ret) PS: THAT IS RETIRED. NOT RETARDED.


Damn It! I was with you when you started and I thought I would outlive the day when you retired! Oh well, I just became a SEPTUAGENARIN ( spell check taught me how to spell it but I still can't say it) but trust me my old friend..I know there comes a time....! I have little hope that you will ever see this ..but..it does me good to say it! I'm from the DEEP SOUTH..drop my {Gs)and can't turn a diphthong on a bet! I don't qualify to join as a member of POEM but, you DID inspire me to write the following:

The Challenge! Use every word in the Nov. '10 issue of Readers Digest's "Word Power"!!

The Homely Prince

OUR HERO!
Having attained middle age, The Homely Prince (THP) took stock of his circumstances. His randy father the King having mated with an extremely fecund Queen placed our hero seventeenth in the line of succession. His appearance was short, fair, and scrofulous and he had failed repeatedly to meet the graduation requirements of the “Charming Prince Academy” and, as a consequence, had been summarily dismissed. His maladroit equestrian skills had relegated him to the back of an equally maladroit Ass. He had been twenty five years a subaltern in his regiment, The Misfits, and his attempts at romantic advances were spurned at every turn 'foremongst them...having the bewitched frog choose to remain so!! He was seated well below the salt at the banquet table and, suffering from extreme bruxism, had been banished to the stables to sleep! In short, THP presented a sad and decidedly unprincely portrait!

THE QUEST!
Join now THP as he ventures forth on his faithful Ass in a final desperate attempt to regain his princely status. He will search for the “Sleeping Beauty”(aka) Lady Gaga (LG)! If legend be true LG, after accepting an LSD laced apple from the “Wicked Witch”(aka) Jealous Madonna (JM), lies in suspended siesta somewhere in the “Haunted Forest”(aka) Central Park (CP) awaiting only a kiss from some brave cavalier to break the magic spell caste on her by the envious JM! Though CP lies deep within a vaulted canyon of steel and stone guarded by a tribe of fierce “New Yorkers”(aka) The Huddled Masses (THM), THP braves the viscous and rude onslaught of THM and threads his Ass through them to gain access to CP! As THP enters the dark and sinister environs of CP he is set upon by winos, drug dealers, panhandlers, homeless persons, muggers, joggers, and dog walkers who are collectively known as “Central Park Residents” (CPR) but, fortunately for our story, he and his Ass(s) survive to continue his quest!!

THE PRIZE!
As THP wanders through its vast expanses in search of LG, he is attracted to a remote corner of CP where he discovers a rustic cardboard shanty from which emanate what could only be the monosyllabic and chaotic mumblings of a female somniloquist! Having secured his faithful Ass to a tree and trembling with anticipation,THP approaches, Ass-less, the rude structure and peers into its tenebrous interior. To his utter joy and amazement his eye discerns a beautiful maiden recumbent and quiescent upon a davenport and reposing 'neath a coverlet of eiderdown which fails to conceal her lovely form and modest negligee! Eureka!! THP has discovered the boudoir of LG!!

THE ENCOUNTER!
THP enters the humble abode and tremulously approaches the couch of its beautiful occupant! He stands transfixed by the lovely countenance of LG....made more so by her being in a state of REM. His first instinct, brought on by his enforced life of total celibacy and by having taken a toke from a CPR, is to ravage the defenseless maiden. However, the partially consumed apple clutched between her pearly teeth did in fact detract somewhat from her otherwise lovely countenance and gave him pause to ponder! “What the hell”, thought he...”if the legend be true, all I need do is remove the offending fruit and she will be mine, mine, mine forever more"!! Not wishing that she should languish in her present state longer, he reaches tenderly to lift the offending item. But, maladroit that he is, manages to tweak her nose in the process. Fortunately LG, being in a hypnopompic state, takes no notice and continues with her sensuous pandiculation. As she slowly emerges from her torpor she smiles and wondrously surveys her surroundings until...her eyes come to rest on THP! She stares incredulously at his leering countenance and exclaims to herself...*”merde, la fortune mu”... removes the sporific apple from THP's hyperhidrosic hand...takes a big bite...and immediately surrenders herself, once again, to the waiting arms of Morpheus!

EPILOG!
Should we...can we...leave our hapless hero thusly? Nah! Nah! The better angels residing in the soul of THP triumph!! He leaves behind the somnolent resident of the cardboard shanty intact and unmolested, the remnants of his shattered dreams, and a parting wish for the beautiful LG.. **”plus de chance la prochaine fois salope”!! THP removes his Ass(s) from CP, winds his way to Wall Street, and sells his Ass on the Commodities Market. The proceeds from this transaction enable THP to attire himself in a nice “three piecer” and this, along with his extreme maladroitness, catches the eye of a prominent investment bank where THP rises to become a true PRINCE of Wall Street!! So we bid adieu to our hero secure in the knowledge that he has regained his princely status and, as a bonus, now has acquired the wherewithal to procure the favors of ***“la dames de la nuit“ on 7th Ave and to negotiate for the acquisition of recreational drugs with the CPR entrepreneurs of CP!! finis!

If it happen to make it trough to you, I hope it brings a smile. You've given me so many. Big


Dear Garrison,
There is no one who can replace you!! I love PHC and think your work is wonderful and inspiring to everyone. It makes me thankful that there are still people who are truly talented performers. Your life is your own, but I hope you will reconsider and stay a little longer. Your loyal fan from Toronto, Ontario.


Dear Garrison,

I have been a listener for many years. All I can say while holding back my tears is Thank You so much for your wonderful performance. Thanks for all the laughter and joy you have given to us. Will definitely miss you and will keep listening after your retirement in the hopes of catching one of your appearances in the show.

Ruben Gonzalez


2013 will be a good year to retire 8-) My husband is a pastor and is So Tired of the grind. He would retire sooner if we could afford it. He intends to keep his hand in, continuing to spread God's love around. It is his calling.

I think your own calling will keep you involved in some way also. Enjoy your life - and remember that everyone who has heard you has been touched.
There is no greater reward than knowing you have changed lives.


I'm sorry to hear that you have finally set a date. Although I suppose we all should have known it would be coming someday.
Thank you for the years of wonderful shows. Thank you for being such a great host. I grew up listening to Prairie Home Companion and even today in college your radio show is a highlight of my weekend.
It's hard to imagine the show without you but I hope that it will be around after you leave it and it will grow and continue to bring laughs, music, and entertainment to everyone who hears it.
I have faith that you will find another great host to take up the mantle that is PHC. Until then I will enjoy all the radio shows you have to offer until the very end.
I just hope you make it up to Alaska before you retire!
Thanks again! You will be missed.


I have nothing to add--the comments above speak for me as well. However, it occurs to me that a person of your work ethic and talent and predisposition isn't simply going to disappear from public life when you take that final bow on APHC.

Here's to new beginnings Mr. Keillor. Life is always beginning. :)

PS. I'd encourage you to run for office--but on second thought, I wouldn't wish that on someone I admire. ;)


I have one thing to say to you, GK....There is no one in this entire universe who could fill the splendid "red shoes" of the brilliant and talented Garrison Keillor! You are forever young in the eyes and hearts of all the world. We look forward to seeing you in Tanglewood this summer...YOU are the highlight of our year and our family Reunion!! God bless Prairie Home Companion and God bless you.
Please stay? Your shoes could never be filled, and by the way, you look terrific, never old!! We all love you!!


I have this funny feeling that the reporter from Lake Wobegon is going to start being acknowledged by the characters he's created. I hope they don't turn on you or run you out of town! Have fun with it. We know it will be creative.


This seems like a good time for a piece of rhubarb pie.


Garrison,

Picture this-poolside at the Regency on Navarre Beach Navarre Florida (in the panhandle). Being inverterately nosey, I hear that unmistakable Minnesotan inflection from a nearby chair. So, I mosey over and blurt in 'where ya from, eh?'. Surely because of being the shy, modest type from Lake Wobegon, the person I addressed didn't give me the knuckle sandwich I deserved. 'Brainerd' was the reply. 'Oh', I said, 'the stop-over spot for those funny-looking guys'. She got it right away. We laughed.

As our conversation continued, I had to ask if they had ever been to Lake Wobegon. No, but they sure love the show. 'Did ya know Garrison is retiring?'

The news made my day a little dimmer, but 'all things must pass'. (George Harrison) I like the way you are doing it. I love you enough to let you go 'gently into that good night'(apologies, Dylan).

The little friendship made so far from our homes at a pool in Florida because of our shared experience of PHC is just one of so many reasons I and my new acquaintances agreed that PHC and you are a true national treasure (and being such, the Congress in their benightedness will surely try to defund you over our dead bodies).

Someday (sooner than later, because the inevitable happens as you so nicely say in this message), I expect you will get the Kennedy Center's Mark Twain prize for humor. It will be another of your great shows.

Allow me this paraphrase 'Old radio hosts never die, their voices just fade away.'

Yours truly,
Tom Hardenbergh
Bath MI


Jeff, so brief, but eloquent. Says it all. It brought a tear to my eye (as did other comments here).


Dear Garrison,

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I have followed you on the radio for a long time and have read a lot of your work. I love the show and the characters but especially YOU. I became disabled in 2009 and use a powerchair. When I read of your opening at the Fitzgerald last year with the invitation to join the Street Dance, I just had to go. I live in Tulsa, OK with my sister and husband. We are a non-traveling family. When I said I wanted to travel 800 miles to see you, I was pooh-poohed. But I said I'm going. My sister was ignorant of the show but is now an avid fan. Thank you for being there and pulling me out of my less-traveled life.

Yours,
Cathy Ramsey
Tulsa, OK


Dear Garrison,

You are irreplaceable, unforgettable! When Sara Watkins hosted several weeks ago, I thought about how -- although she is a fine performer -- she just couldn't hold a candle to you. Nor will anyone! It is YOUR character, mind and voice which make the show what it is! To me you are family, because we share Minnesota roots of Scandinavian-Lutheran immigrant ancestors, and are of the same generation. I received news of your impending retirement with tears and a deep sense of loss.

Your maturity, insight and wisdom are badly needed in this youth-worshipping culture! You are not doddering at all! I admire the keenness of your observations and wit, and your mastery of the spoken (and sung) word! I love your goodness and decency. I will very much miss my Minnesota brother's charming commentary and all the songs and vignettes I enjoy every week. Retire if you must, but know that you will be deeply missed, never forgotten, and never replaced in the hearts of those who love you.

Your redheaded "sister" in Florida, Jan F.


I thought I would go on until 65 or more before retiring. Fought any thought of going sooner. And then circumstances allowed me to go at 64. A great old friend of mine, my first love whom I had not seen in 45 years and who was retired already, said, "Go and do it now, Martha. You will love it." After years of demands, schedules, folks depending on me, and me depending on me, I retired 12/31/2010.

Life is grand. Every single day is one I look forward to because it is my day to decide how it will be. I am writing my book, finally, and cooking great food, entertaining with my husband so easily now, and loving the time texting with my sons, and being free to fly and visit almost on a moment's notice. How very cool is that?

I do have moments when I wonder, "Am I changing the world?" And then I look at the wind charging through the trees in a spring storm, and reply, "That's not mine, now. I did the best in the places I found myself. Now it's my childrens' turn, and grandchildren in their time." Such a relief.

Stay on or go on, Garrison. But only you can do this show. So when the time comes, please say, "It's not mine to give over. It is done and done so well." We look forward to 30 years of reruns. And we will listen every single Saturday night or Sunday afternoon, as we always have done.

With great affection and thanks (your Nashville show this week was unbelievably the best music ever --- The Civil Wars and Stuart Duncan all at once? We were in the fourth row, drinking it all in with joy adn fighting the urge to stand up and clap until our hands were pink -- thank you).

Stay strong and make your own decision. We will live with you as long as you want/need, and then, live without you, except in re-runs. Make the rest of your time all and completely, your life. Martha and Mark Nelson


Ah, and now your deadline is my deadline, as you are on my bucket list. Not that I want you to be contemplating buckets, mind, but that I want to see your show live, and now I must not tarry, as the options, like your springs, suddenly are numbered.


Well, being a typical down-to-earth practical New Yorker, I have several CDs of yours that are still sealed. I've been saving them in case you got whacked, decided to retire, or, well, took a sudden dirt nap.

I never thought any of those days would come. I've been listening to you for 25 or 30 years. You are all my Sundays. (Car Talk, You, then the NY Times puzzle, those are my Sundays). How can I have Sundays without bebopareeboprhubarbpie? I just wish you'd decide to take longer vacations if you're worn out, but please, please never retire. It's so heartbreaking to contemplate.


I am just in awe of you, Mr. Keillor. Not many people in this life time do what they were born to do. You are such an inspiration to me. The poetry that pours out of you, your storytelling and your music transcend. I am so overwhelmingly grateful to have met you and sung with you. I feel great joy looking back at the memory you gave me on your show with Elizabeth.

Thank you for making this world a better place.
xoxo
Connie


Dear Garrison,
I just read your post from London and a few of the responses from your fans. I got introduced to you in an article in an DELTA Airlines magazine back in 1982 while returning to Elmendorf AFB, AK. Being a "Hoosier" far from my midwest roots, I tuned in on a snowey Saturday afternoon at 2:00 pm and that started a long habit of finding your program on the radio. The first NFLW I heard was the "Dad's Prayer" and Mazumbo!! Being a father of three young boys and having gotten myself into situations where I prayed that "prayer", I was laughing so hard that I had tears in my eyes!
I'm retiring from a very short five year career as a science teacher in May. I went through a "transition-to-teaching" program after my Air Force career and I'm ready to start on my bucket list. Your on my list!! I want to see you in person again. I will be listening faithfully until your last live program. I too went through your first retirement with pain. The tapes got worn out!!!! Thankfully the "archive" will make my life easier if I outlive you!!! God Bless! Denny Hargett


You & PHC are truly an American treasures! Thank you for providing our family with a tradition through entertainment, and thank you for looking to the future so we can keep that tradition!

See you Wednesday night 4/6 in Easton, PA!

God Bless!
Michael


Dear Garrison and APHC,

THANK YOU for APHC! I have enthusiastically followed your fine radio show since first discovering it in the early 1980s. Movies and TV and such don't really interest me, but I've depended on APHC for all this time. I never "outgrew" it, but rather, grew with it.

I am saddened to hear of your upcoming retirement from APHC, but want what's best for you. You've certainly earned this retirement. It seems to me that great artists -- like yourself -- are lucky if they're blessed with about a decade of quality artwork. By my measure, you've surpassed this by at least 3 times!

For those fortunate enough to witness APHC live, it's quite a sight to behold! I've marvelled at the magic on stage year after year in Chicagoland. Amazing stuff! A highly recommended live show. A well-oiled machine with dignity, intelligence, mirth, heart and soul. Nothing else like it. And still so affordable.

Best wishes and God bless, Garrison Keillor! You are APHC. And APHC has obviously affected so many people in such positive ways.

BTW . . . unlike many other radio shows, APHC compilations/reruns hold up extremely well. Classic. Timeless. Just a comment.

Enough of my ramblings. See you at Ravinia!

Sincerely,

Nick Salatino


Dear GK,

I can remember on my first visit to Nebraska in 1997 on a railfan trip that I discovered you. I wondered who was this interesting story teller. As time went on and things changed in my job in TV broadcasting, I caught you some more times on my way into work on Saturday nights. Then came a time in 2003 where I got fed up with the homogenous state of music on the radio and started listening to your show every night on my way home from work. Each of your shows were divided up onto 2 cassette tapes, now CD-RWs, and it takes 3 trips going home to listen to one show. And to fill in the gaps between new shows, I dove into the archives and recorded them for playback. It may sound very strange to you that you are my entertainment going home every weeknight from work, and the drive takes about 45 minutes, but your show is quite relaxing and very enjoyable. I have had the privilege to see you twice at Tanglewood and see your 2nd cinecast in Denver while on vacation in the Midwest last fall. You truly will have a tough time filling those red shoes of yours, but I am sure the transition will go smoothly. I wish you good health and a continued good run up to your retirement day. Let it be known that the hottest ticket in the select towns and cities will sell out fast. Godspeed, GK. And thank you.


Well,Well

I hear exactly what you are saying about leaving.

Hopefully, you will look back with great pride and you can proudly day "Yah I did that".

Hopefully, you can look into the future and say "I can do that" .

Life is to short not to explore new things, make new friends, and learn something new daily.

One request that I have concerning the future of the show is MORE HEATHER MASSE!!! Oh no, have I exposed my little cruch on her? hahahahaha

Thanx sharing the fruits of all you hard work

Erich


Garrison

Please don't forget that you are not just an American treasure. You have fans all over the world - like me, who have been listening devotedly for decades. How can we replace our long, sweltering summer Saturday or Sunday evenings listening to your wonderful stories of snow-bound Lake Woebegone?

How can you retire without doing a series of live shows in Oz?

They've moved you from station to station on Australian public radio and rested the program for long stretches but they can never replace your essential listenability; music and humour that speaks to everyone all over the world.


Dear Mr. Keillor,

I am 27 years old, and you have been on the radio all my life. Your guidance, wisdom and grace have helped to steer my vessel around life's iceburgs; your poignant words have comforted me in my times of need. I don't have much in this world, but in you I have always had the very best of friends.

Thank you.


Dear Garrison,

I’m a regular listener of all the TV and radio years. I retired from the electronics industry a few years ago. The worse move I ever made. I’m 66 and have the grey bushy eyebrows but I have no hair. Not by choice by genetics.
I have introduced many people to PHC. It’s still new and fresh to them.

Garrison; someone needs to tell you the show happens to be you. There will be no PHC this time and maybe it is time for you to give up. But it’s a cold thought of not hearing young fresh talented performers each week.

There is no if, maybe, possibly or miracles that will keep PHC going without you breaking a sweat and feeling the pressure all week. I know it all looks like a good plan now but unfortunately PHC will be lost.

I hope the Show Archive is available in the future when you’re sitting on a Saturday afternoon realizing the new talent and shows are gone; never to be made.

I’m with you I couldn’t turn down retirement but unlike you I’m not the fellow who is the center of the show that I’m guessing takes most of your time. Don’t stop, you can’t make a comeback. I found once I sat down I couldn’t get up. Now I just watch the obits to see if my name is there each morning.

Please, please keep trying to find the pitch of the wobbly solo’s you do. That’s what makes it real and my imagination fills in the theatre and stage. Trust me on this; keep going a few more years.

Sincerely, Ron


Mr. Keillor,

I have listened and enjoyed you for years. I had a chance to meet you once when you stopped by Stockmans Farm Supply in Osseo, WI., but I could not remember your name. Your face was recognizable but alas my memory is just not what it used to be. That being said, it was a pleasure to see you, and I hope you enjoy your retirement as I am enjoying mine.


Get back here!


To a most talented man, I was fortunate enough to have been working on New Years Eve 1998 as a paramedic when I was introduced to you and the extremely talented cast of A Prairie Home Companion. I was instantly hooked on your wit, humor and genuine take on the ideals of an America that has since been lost to multiple income earners, a fast paced society and a world in turmoil. My wife became hooked as well when I came home and found your show the next week on our local NPR station. We look forward each week to your show as a time to step back from the hustle and bustle of todays world to a time that was much simpler and less frantic where local news and events of the community took center stage and was the most important topic at the diner table. I commend you on your success of APHC and respect your decision to step down after a long and distinguished career on the stage. May your show continue its tradition of quality entertainment for the entire family and allow us to remember a time that we may never experience again.


Dear Garrison,

Out here in California we listen to The News From Lake Wobegon on Saturday afternoon.
It's been part of our life for so long; we'll miss you.
We wish you the best -- enjoy your life, and your daughter.
I bet she'll be happy to have you around in person, not on the phone!
Oh well, there's still The Writer's Almanac.
Thank goodness...

Sandy
San Clemente, CA


Garrison
Around here in NH I'm usually in some church service somewhere when your show is on, and I rarely hear it unless I listen to archives online or some other station during prime time on a Saturday night. It kills the spontaneity of listening to you live whenever that is, but sometimes I just pretend I'm a younger man as I was when first heard you while at a Rugby tournament outside Montreal, Canada approximately summer of '83, maybe a year or two later. The point being I was on the prairie outside Montreal, beaten to a pulp and reclining in the back of my '82 Dodge Van which we used to haul half the team to the tournament. As I said, from playing two games on Saturday that weekend, I was pounded into a maleable pulp and while younger members of the team went into town for a good time, I rested and listened to you for the first time. It was wonderful, and I thought because I was on the prairie you were somewhere local to Montreal. I have listened to you ever since, and feel if I can keep going so can you. End of story, as the lady at the beginning of this blog said-no one can replace you and I hope you are loaded with guilt to leave us. thanks for the memories.


I have enjoyed your radio shows, movies, books, tapes, etc. my entire adult life. You will always have a place in my heart with the other true entertainers and authors that I love and cherish. I will miss this part of your contribution to my world.

I will not miss your political diatribes and veiled insults that have begun to permeate your shows and books. You and I differ in our political beliefs. I guess we also differ in the amount of respect we feel we should show others who think differently.

I wish you the best of luck and life in your retirement.

Take care...


Thank you so much for all you have given us. I was fortunate enough to see the Summer of Love tour in 2010 when you came through Denver. I hope to see you live one more time before you retire. I consider Garrison and APHC to be a national treasure and hope that the show will live on at prairieshome.org.

Best of luck

Tom


Thanks for all you have given to the Town of Lake Wobegon. It won't be the same at the Chatterbox without you.


I never want to see you retire. At the same time, I fully understand the need for you to at some point. I realized a 20 year dream when I got to see you on stage last August in Brevard, NC. I tried my darnedest to meet you, only to be turned away at the stage door. I hope to get the chance again before 2013. You have given me a deadline for my goal of meeting you and having my picture taken with you. I hope it will be at the Fitzgerald in St. Paul, my hometown, but I will settle for any other place. Anywhere, any time as it were.

The first time I heard you on the radio, I stopped to listen because you sounded so much like my dad, a man I really didn't have much contact with for most of my life. I found your voice a comfort as I listened in my little two-room apartment where I lived alone with only the radio and my books for company. I looked forward to listening to you every week, as I still do. You are wonderful, your show is wonderful and everyone involved with it is wonderful. Thank you for all you have done, and all you continue to do. I will not wish you good luck in your retirement, as that time is not here yet.


Wow, Parker! A was more than a little taken aback with what you stated you will not miss about APHC. And to some degree, I must confess, I am in agreement with you. I say this reluctantly, for fear of unintentionally offending a hero of mine.

I love Garrison Keillor and APHC . . . especially the wonderful, magical skits: Guy Noir; The Lives of the Cowboys; The Story of Bob; Catchup; etc. These skits usually do not deal with politics. Politics is mostly distasteful to me. I follow it some and understand it is a necessary evil, but perceive so much corruption and hypocrisy on both sides of the aisle. I used to like when favorite artists of mine got political. But as I got older and politics seemed to get dirtier and murkier overall, I appreciate this tendency less and less.

I've had the great pleasure of meeting Garrison and cast members after shows. All were extremely delightful encounters. Garrison has always been most kind, gracious and generous with his time spent with long lines of adoring fans. I've met a few celebrities in my time and GK was head and shoulders (literally, too!) above the rest. Always a complete gentleman.


Obviously, our beloved fellow English major, your work is not yet done-you have a couple of listeners who desperately need to learn the meaning of the word diatribe. You will have noted that you have to go through a lot of love letters to get to the complainers... As for me the very first note is perfect.

Don't do it-just don't....please.


I have been listening to PHC for about 25 years. I have enjoyed it immensely. Your big red shoes will be hard to fill and I will miss hearing you every weekend.
I think it is wise for you to start looking for a successor to take PHC companion into the future. Take your time and find the right person. I hope you will always be part of the show and continue to perform at least part of the time.

I got to see you during the Rhubarb tour. I hope
to see you in Colorado again.


PHC holds a very special place in my heart, for many reasons. Here are a few reasons:

dancing with my baby and then toddler and then preschooler in the kitchen as we listened to the music on PHC on a Saturday night.

Taking a bus trip to St. Paul when in grad school to see the show in person.

Taking my kids to see the show in St. Paul 22 years later.

My two kids, 15 and 12 have listened to the show for years (started them out very young, as stated above) and they love it! They have their favorite parts and are upset when they don't hear it --- "Mom, they didn't do the ketchup song!"

Retire if you must; I'm grateful for the years we've had with you.


Ditto to every heartfelt sentiment above. I have seen you every time you've come to or, close to, Columbus OH and enjoyed every minute. This past Dec. we saw you in NYC and I couldn't believe I was actually sitting in Town Hall. If 2013 is to be IT - then I'm accelerating my NYC piggy bank - wonderful city - wonderful you.


GK
I felt a mix of sadness for me, happiness for you, and a wave of nostalgia, when I heard the news that 2013 would, probably, be it for you. I remember the first time I discovered PHC on WHRB, a PR station in Boston. It was 1975,I was lying on my single bed in my apartment, feeling a bit lonely. I switched on the radio and there you were, talking about powder-milk biscuits. I've been hooked ever since. (Although I don't believe I've ever eaten one of those biscuits!) I was 35 then, I'm 70 now, and I'm still loving the show. I'll hang in there until you, or me, call it quits. Take care of yourself, good luck, and, thanks ever so, for the terrific ride.


I checked into the website this evening, Saturday after a show, to goad you a bit about things that I think you are now old enough to address. I was thinking there are going to be an awful lot of us moving into the twilight years, and there are precious few who give us good stories that shape these later decades. Mostly people (I hate to say "like you," but anyway) die or retire before that happens. So there are unstoried decades ahead. The punchiness of young April love with the kinds of missteps that younger people make have been the stuff of your stories, and maybe that part of PHC needs to retire, to be a legacy for others. But I wasn't writing in about that. I was thinking about -- well, I saw your post about retirement and thought, oh, forget about it. RIP. But I also think, apparently Congress in its wisdom is de-funding public radio. So we'll see what happens.


One more thing. As to people worrying about your well-being during a show: Are you more likely to catch your hair on fire like Michael Jackson because of increasing age? Are you more likely to leap off the stage? Or swoon from an overdose of something recreational? I think not.
How about the chances of you forgetting your thread of thought? I think you do that all the time. I think you have a whole well-seasoned blanket of thoughts to weave from and plenty of experience in forgetting, and no one runs from the theater in a panic.
I have been at the Metropolitan Opera when in Act I, Scene I, the singer in mid-aria, from atop a ladder, had a heart attack and fell to the stage and died. I did not demand a refund. Granted, I never again went to the opera, but I would like to point out that singer was about 50 years old, maybe younger. So. He did expire at his high point, literally and musically.
I was not thrilled because of that fact, however.


Garrison,
I understand your impulse to go for the long-term health of PHC. I found you on the radio in the mid-1980s and I have boxes of full-show tapes from those years to prove it.
I have been a writer all those years and since you have never heard of me it's obvious that I have yet to win my success even though I do have a book in print now. As you know, writing is a brutal, lonely business. You have done a lot to soften that. Thank you. For that reason, and because I believe that PHC is the funniest show in any medium, I dread your retirement. I remember when you left the show years ago and another host tried to fill your place. It didn't work because it takes a writer, firstly, to fill your shoes. Though I know someone might be able to fill your shoes, I doubt it. If you retire as host but continue on forever as a cast member, then it could work. But if you try to do a sudden "heart" transplant (you are the heart of the show), I'm afraid the patient will perish.

In any case, you should know there is a tribe of people in the United States and around the world who adore you more than any other person. It does not matter how old you are. Was it a good thing when Hemingway got up early that morning to put a shotgun to his forehead? No! In the case of an artist--which you certainly are one--age is meaningless. We don't love you for your grey eyebrows, Garrison, but for your humor and brilliance.


As some others have stated above, I too knew this day would have to come. That doesn't mean I have to like it. We are far too squirrelly in this country. We're too antagonistic about the paltry things like someone bringing 16 items in the 15 item grocery line and we're too passive about the important things... like governors who politely trash the working class (I'm from Wisconsin, so forgive that little quip... or don't) and our tallest and greatest living radio host hanging up his spurs and his fedora (one for Dusty n' Lefty, one for Guy Noir). Garrison, feel free to quietly go into the dusk all you like but don't expect me to sit with my hands in my lap and a grin on my face. I'll whine, I'll fuss, I'll complain and my poor loved ones will have to suffer through it. I've meant to come see your show live many times these past two decades but I was busy building a family and keeping the dishes washed and dried. Five kids later and I still haven't found my seat for a PHC performance. Your announcement, of course, will ramp up my efforts.

In closing I say to you with all brazenness and with every decibel of volume my pipes can muster, "DON'T LEAVE US!!!!!!"


I have listened to you since you were on the "college" radio station in the Twin Cities in the morning, when I had to get into fights with my dad over his wanting to listen to Maynard Speech(?) on WCCO. Even when he had left the house to get something done in his garage-shop, he expected the radio, that I was listening to while I was getting ready to go to school, to still be on 'his' station.
When I went to Moorhead State in '75, you came up to do your show at the Student Union, and a friend insisted that I come to see you, all bushy bearded and red tennis shoed and get a good laugh at all things Minnesotian.
The last time I was able to see you in person, it was a full-fledged show in Hawaii in the 80's. I wondered if the audience 'got it', since it was so different from Hawaiian humor, but what a showcase you provided for the rest of the listening audience! A belated Bravo, brah! Mahalo!
I know what it feels like to have the realization that you're slowing down without wanting to. Gravity hurts. The pipes have slowed from clogs, roots and other detrius.
Still, to paraphrase one of your favorite authors, come and grow old with all of us, the best is yet to be.


Dear Garrison (I'm older than you so I can be excusably address you informally), the Missus and I agree with just about all those other comments, and have an idea of our own: don't bother trying to find a replacement, just make a deal with NPR to rebroadcast your shows starting from the Scandanavian hiatus (and maybe not necessarily the Manhattan era before PHC resumed in full flower). That will safely last us until we are beyond the reach of a broadcast signal, and provide you with some occasional entertainment as well. We assume you will increase your writing output and maybe resume your weekly newspaper column featuring the Current Occupant.
Thanks for it all, David and Martel, Baltimore


Dear Mr. Keillor,

I have loved you from the first moment I heard your voice. I was just 17 years old and staying at an aunt's home for the summer and she would put your show on the radio. I was missing my family and friends and you gave me something to look forward to. By the time I returned home I realized that my summer had been wonderful, especially Saturday nights sitting on my aunt's porch, watching the fireflies and listening to PHC!

Through the last 30 years you and I have shared a lot of Saturday nights! And now my children love you too! My 6 year old calls you the Ketchup Man!

A lot of people have come and gone in my life and I truly hope you don't go...at least not yet. I just can't even imagine PHC without you. (I guess I don't remember you ever leaving before.)

If you have to retire, you must make a nationwide tour first and go to each state so everyone, including me, can come and see you in person one more time!

With love and gratitude, Maureen in Olathe, Kansas


A few years ago my husband and I were headed up to a remote village in the Jura Mountains between Switzerland and France - to go to an Alpine Cow festival. Anyway, while riding the train to this remote peice of the world we managed to communicate with a few in English as their English was far better than our French or German. They said: "We LOVE Prairie Home Companion!" and then asked if we knew of the show. It was amazing - another country and culture but they connected with it. It is more than a reminder of our mid-west culture but of something deeper we ALL share.
Thank you - and keep on going!

Karen & Dennis

PS: Could you say a hello for us?
Hello to Clint and Kim up there in Montana. The fish is doing fine. Love, Dennis and Karen


I cannot remember a time that a live PHC show has not in fact had the personal presence of Garrison Keillor. Whether he is on stage all the time or not, it seems audience members buy tickets not to Prairie Home Companion but actually to Garrison Keillor, or Garrison Keillor and his people.
This is truly amazing. Maybe he could make some kind of deal with his audience where he does not guarantee he will always make his own performances. He calls in sick and the sound effects people run the show, with stories piped in from the past.
For the longest time I've been thinking that the main problem would be intervals between pit stops, thinking in particular of a one-man show a year or so back that was about 2-1/2 hours without a single break, and standing O's at the end. I thought, he is going to have to start requesting intermissions. "Ladies and gentlemen, we're taking a two-minute break; feel free to stand and stretch.")
Now I'm thinking we're just going to have accept unexpected absences, for whole sold-out shows. It's that or let the man hang up the towel sooner than otherwise. (I'm not in the entertainment field, but I think this is a pretty unique case.)


I will miss you on Prairie Home Companion, but I imagine that the show will go on and you will find someone, or some group of people, to replace you. Perhaps some staffers from "The Onion" or "The Daily Show" or one of the many aspiring writers who contact you again and again will write for the show and one or two will perform, too. I do not think anyone is irreplaceable. You have become a competent manager -- how else to explain keeping an acting company together for 32 years -- and are perfectly able to find someone to take take your place.

The show will not be the same, but nothing ever is. When you visit the "new" show, it will be a special occasion and we, your listeners, will go even more out of the way to listen to the show when it is a live broadcast. Retiring may make you a bigger radio star. Who knows?

Alone among all the broadcasts on NPR member stations, when PHC is on, it is NOT interrupted for lengthy fundraising appeals. I hope that whomever you choose to replace you will be treated with the same level of respect. I hope that person manages to deal with everyday problems with your aplomb.

Thank you and mazel tov.


My husband and I have been listening for 30 years, and we are religious about listening to you on Saturday nights. We were devastated when we heard you'd had a stroke. And so relieved when you came back. Our children have all grown up with you, and listened every Saturday night. One is an English major living in Minnesota.
You continue to touch our lives every day with the Writer's Almanac, a revelation for those of us trying to keep up with both past and present poets missed.
We've seen you at Town Hall, in the movie theatre, and even in our town's middle school where you celebrated our church's 250th anniversary with humor and grace.
We watched and cheered as you roasted the President at the Press Corp's dinner, and will always, always, love your show, Dusty, Guy, and the Shoe String Band. You have made us laugh, cry, and hold our loved ones closer.
Any thanks in words is inadequate to express our love.

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