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.