Garrison’s Show Was Close By & Above Average, But I Missed It

Garrison Keillor stopped by High Point, NC last Friday night. He did a show with Robin & Linda Williams & a couple other troupers, as The Hopeful Gospel Quartet.

I wanted to go. But Covid.

I’d seen the Hopeful folks once, in Virginia, they live up in the Shenandoah somewhere, and heard ‘em on PHC many times. Like old friends.

I wanted to go. But age.

Bet the group belted out, “I’ll Fly Away,” a favorite, with GK doing his “Oh Glory!” Bass.

I woulda loved to join in, sotto voce. But tired, even though I didn’t do much that day.

And then hear the news from LWBGN, even if some old stuff was recycled in the new. I’d still chuckle.

But ‘near 70 miles each way, in the dark, with patchy rain, stretching the battery in Wendy’s newfangled electric Chevy. “Electric Chevy” — it still sounds like a Sixties psychedelic band that never quite made the Top 40.

I bet it was a pretty good show. I saw him right here in Durham some years back, just by himself, with only a backup guitar for a few numbers.

Got this picture of him too. They almost kicked me out for it, but I stayed, and it did too.

I think his hair is now almost as white as mine. I forget the guitarist’s name, tho; sorry.

Then today, in his weekly letters email column, Garrison mentioned it:

GK:  I intended to be a satirist but the job doesn’t pay well so I went into radio and eventually found a way to sort of merge the two. I’m still trying. Did High Point, NC, last week and it was pretty good. Maybe not a high point but certainly above the mean.

“Above the mean”? The city of High Point once was to the furniture business like Detroit was for cars. Now tho, almost all of that’s moved offshore . But they still keep up the theatre. They’re still trying. So is he. I’m GK’s age, pleased to be eking out the random blog post.

“Above the mean”? Would have been a high point for me. Will I ever see him live again? Don’t know. And I’m not in a quartet. But I’m still hopeful.

2 thoughts on “Garrison’s Show Was Close By & Above Average, But I Missed It”

  1. Robin and Linda Williams performed at FGC at Virginia Tech about 12 years ago. They were kidding the Quakers, “Statistics show that only a few percent of Quakers believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ but 98% of you listen to NPR.” Or something like that.

    1. I remember that performance, Bill. And they snitched that line from me: I used to take a three-question show-of-hands survey in Quaker workshops: Question #1: How many here have read all or most of the Bible? (Typically a third or fewer hands went up.) Question #2: How many here identify as Christian — and use your own definition of “Christian”? (Rarely half the hands.) Last one, Question #3: How many here listen to NPR?? (Every hand up, every time; usually with some nervous giggles.) My response: “Gosh, isn’t it wonderful — once upon a time Quakers were divided, but now, just look at this unity!” And by the way, I quit NPR cold in April 2004, and never looked back.

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