I've listened to Minnesota Public Radio's A Prairie Home Companion off and on for most of its 42 years on the air. Tonight, coming home from the grocery store, I caught the last hour or so of Garrison Keillor's last show. And I got a little misty.
Scott Simon reflects:
The Lake Wobegon that Garrison Keillor has brought to life and built word by word, in millions of imaginations, is not a rustic refuge from the modern world. It has been gentle, but edgy, midwestern, but not middlebrow, calm but scarcely dull. People get sick, grow scared, pass through, and pass away in Lake Wobegon, to live on in stories.
For 42 years, Prairie Home Companion and Garrison Keillor's monologues have turned radio from a medium some considered to be faintly old-fashioned into a new form—an art, I'll even dare to say—of telling a story that a new generation downloads today.
In a line of work that always looks for what's flashy and new, Garrison Keillor created a rare thing out of the radio waves that skip through the air and disappear into the night: something that endures.
And it was a good show.