Giving thanks for A Prairie Home Companion

I was driving out to REI the other night to get my nephew his b-day present and an assortment of other Christmas and birthday presents when A Prairie Home Companion came on the radio. It’s funny, I know that this is not the show that the cool kids listen to and yet I totally don’t mind outing myself as a nerd by saying that I really like Garrison Keillor’s show.

When I was little, my parents would listen to this and the Sunday crossword puzzle before and after church.  It was a morning ritual to figure out the puzzle and laugh along at the stories of Lake Wobegon.  In college I would turn NPR on hoping to find the show some weekends.  I think it is the only show that makes me understand why radio was so popular back in the day.  Not that I would give up TV– but I get it.

In Moldova, where we sometimes had nothing to do, there were several of us who would trade tapes.  We were all midwesterners and it was our version of baseball cards. I could have recited some of those episodes.  While I am not a fan of every piece or all the music and sometimes the religious references turn me off, the show always has something that makes me laugh.  The Catchup bit is always a favorite. The sound effects guy, featured in the above video, never fails either.  What a great job that must be!  Not to mention very little competition.

On Saturday, the last thing I heard from this show was the following piece.  It seems like a good way to go into this year’s thanksgiving holiday season.

Thanks poem

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Listen (MP3)
Listen (RealAudio)

I am thankful for ATM machines
For the smell of coffee beans
For the dishwasher and for the GPS
Thought up by the Pentagon, a great success
That makes it unnecessary for us men
To ever need to ask for directions again.

Thank you thank you thank you thanks a lot
For what we have and for some things that we do not

I am thankful for macaroni and cheese,
Of mac and cheese I have only good memories
Boil water. Put the macaroni in. It’s
A very nice meal in about ten minutes.

And speaking of food of low status,
Thank you for instant mashed potatoes
Which is simply dehydrated potato flakes.
Mashed potatoes in one-tenth the time it takes
To boil one and whip it up nice and smooth.
And if you want to know the absolute truth
That dry organic peanut butter — I hate it.
I like the kind with sugar and fat, saturated.

Thank you thank you thank you and merci
Peanut butter has always been merciful to me.

And for the U.S. Postal Service I say thanks
Delivering mail from Florida to Fairbanks,

I am grateful for blogs and other new media
And of course for the miraculous Wikipedia
Which puts information at your fingertips
An innovation as great as sailing ships,
Or putting a steam engine on the rails,
So thank you Larry Sanger and Jimmy Wales.
And thank you Larry Page and Sergey Brin
Who in 1997 launched a search engine
Google, which simply is superb
A noun that quickly became a verb.



  1. I love it now, but I still get a nostalgic feeling from when I was pretty young and it used to bore me because it seemed so old fashioned for someone of my age. I would plea for my parents to change to some more current music… I was older before I actually started paying attention to what they said.

    Plus Ive seen him in real life a bunch of times but I always get the “oh, i never imaged thats the guy behind the voice” feeling.

    I liked this post.

  2. Is it really bad that I am also a Midewsterner and have never listened to Prairie Home Companion? I also never really listened to the radio very mucha t all. I would always hide in my room with novels. Sort of nerdy, as well.

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