I have been a fan of Garrison Keillor’s since I was first introduced to his radio show as a 7th grader at South Winneshiek Public Schools. I moved to Ossian, Iowa in 6th grade due to my father’s job as the Lutheran pastor in that town. I sat at home on Saturday evenings at 5:00 PM to listen to one of the only remaining live broadcast radio shows that featured comedic skits, bluegrass and country music and soothing and humorous stories told by Mr. Kiellor. As I grew older, my love for the show never waned and I always would try to find the time to listen in and hear the news from Lake Wobegon, where the men are good looking, the women are strong and the children are above average. The stories from this imaginary town somewhere in northern Minnesota always made me feel at home in that people of Ossian seemed to be very similar in nature to those that lived in Lake Wobegon. Both communities had strong Scandinavian ancestry and traditions and the strong Lutheran culture was almost overwhelming in both communities. It always seemed that the crazy things that happened in Lake Wobegon could have very easily have happened in Ossian as well and even to this day, I image that little town of 700 people that I lived in whenever Garrison starts to talk about the happenings in his imaginary community.
I have always had a desire to see the show live, but never was able to get it planned. There always seemed to be too many obstacles preventing it from happening. As my kids started to get older, they too were introduced to this culture and also seemed to grow attached to it nearly every weekend. It was hard not to as recently we purposefully isolated ourselves from television and the only media outlet we had at home was the radio (now the internet seems to have surpassed the radio…)
Finally, about a month ago, my opportunity to see the show with all the children was realized. Michaela’s boyfriend, Colin joined us as well. We stayed in an Embassy Suites in St. Paul located several blocks from the radio show venue. That evening, I ran to the Fitzgerald Theater with Sophie since the weather was bitterly cold! As we were waiting in the lobby for the others to arrive, a tall, older man with red tennies and a coffee cup walked in after us. Sophie looked up, not sure who this strange man was, but was thrilled when I asked her to introduce herself to Mr. Keillor. “Sophia. What a wonderful name. I haven’t heard of a Sophia in quite a while.” he explained to her. She gleemed and the rest was captured in the photos below. A fantastic weekend we had! Oh, and the Packers won right after the radio show! Click HERE For additional pictures from my gallery.