A Big Day for Two Professional Shepherds

For weeks all I’ve been focused on was preparing for the fundraising event that would bring Garrison Keillor to our little town last Sunday, October 11.

Finally the day arrived and boyohboy was I anxious about how this show would work.

Melissa and I had the task of greeting Garrison when he arrived, giving him a quick tour of the movie theater, then getting him backstage for a sound check, then to the green room for practice with some of the musicians, then after the show to the press area, then walking one block to the dinner building, then back to a private dining room, then to mingle with the crowd, then back to his car. Easy, right?

Let me say this. It was nearly an impossible task, even for two professional shepherds. Amateur shepherds would have melted or exploded.

Once in the theater, the guy made a beeline for the popcorn machine, and from that moment on, he went where he wanted, when he wanted. Melissa and I just tagged along, murmuring helpfully that it was really time to go here, and now it was really time to go there. At the dinner we were having trouble getting him through the crowds to the private dining room, so Melissa took his arm and said sweetly, “Follow me or I’ll scream.”

It almost worked until one of the guest musicians insisted he pose with them for a photo. Arghh.

Anyway, moving Garrison from spot to spot was like herding cats.

The show, by the way, was amazing. He kept 270 people enthralled for nearly three hours, and some people were laughing so hard they were crying. The music was great, and the volunteers were amazing.

Even the radio script actors and the sound effects people stayed relatively calm as Garrison began rewriting the show 30 minutes before it began.

For example, we were doing a Lone Ranger radio script, and we’d asked Garrison to be Tonto. (Ha!) He agreed, but decided that it would work better if Tonto was Norwegian. The audience roared every time he opened his mouth and delivered Tonto’s lines in fake Norwegian.

Here he is singing with the Sawtooth Bluegrass Band…

And giving a hysterical Lake Woebegone monologue…

And accepting a painting of Zumbrota’s Covered Bridge as a gift…

And the finale sing-along….

And the sing-along at the dinner… (which he started spontaneously)

And finally, here are the two professional shepherds and their charge, a herd of cats disguised as a very tall, very talented storyteller.

12 thoughts on “

  1. Oh Catherine, why oh why didn’t I buy a ticket, hope on a plane and BE THERE? I wanted to be there. I knew it would be wonderful, magical. I was pea green jealous and I closed the Sept 13th blog as quick as I could. I put it out of my mind, determined to not let it take a minute of my brain power, or a tiny speck of my heart. I had done a really really great job of forgetting about it. And now this. The proof of the wonder, the magic, the laughter, the spontaneity, the quips, the creativity, the Garrison of it all. I am going away now, to put my fingers in my ears and LA LA LA loudly for a while. Hoping to purge the post from my brain.
    (I am glad for you that it went so well though!! Good for you!!)

  2. OH MY! I was laughing at your post! It sounds like it was a wonderful show and I wish I had been able to come down to see it. Your theater is lovely from the pictures.

  3. Melissa R,

    To make you feel better, I should really say it was a horrible day and you would’ve had a terrible time…. but I can’t say that, for even though I write memoir, I try to avoid lying if I can!

  4. I’ve read your blog for some time now. Your farm has always made me jealous .. now I have another reason to be so .. Sheep AND Garrison Keilor. sheesh .. You two are awesome! Thanks for sharing your adventures.

  5. I am so glad for you–and for the entire community that, after tremendous effort, was able to bask in the creative glow of an Artistic Instigator & High-Caliber Raconteur such as GK.

    I have heard rumours that GK was a challenging person to host– some folks compare him to Odetta in that regard– but it sounds like you two shepherded him with considerable wit and aplomb. BRAVA to you both!!! Time to lean back on those laurels for a bit!

  6. So glad you got a picture of you two and GK. Looks like the gentleman was feeling pretty comfortable with you both!

    What a great coup! Where will you go from here? Seriously, what a wonderful thing to do for your community.

    If you ask me, it seems like Mr. Keillor had the time of his life. And he didn’t even have to threaten to scream (way to go, Melissa) to ensure things kept rolling smoothly.

    Wa-hoo! What a feather in your cap!

  7. How wonderful you had this event and with Garrison Keillor, one of my favorite entertainers and authors! So glad, being an event organizer myself, that you survived it!

  8. Catherine, was the dinner part of the evening in that space next to Wild Ginger? We were out of town that week and couldn’t come, but my folks went and said it was a lovely evening. Congrats!

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