Category Archives: Lake Wobegon

Is It Too Soon?

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Really, is it too soon?

 

Can we all laugh and joke about the subject a bit?

 

We are in the midst of it. . .

In the thick of it. . .

Knee deep, chin deep and over our head in it. . .

 

Yes, right.

Snow.

Chilly Weather.

Sub-zero temperatures.

Relief on the horizon.

 

I enjoy wordplays and this one just jumped right at me.

In the middle of the night, literally.

 

When the snow plow was noisily scraping the ice off the

Ohio Wesleyan Parking lot, when a big chunk somehow

bounced off my bedroom window pane.

 

Wish that chunk were like my good middle school friends,

ones who would break out of their houses, give a ‘chink’ or

‘clunk’ at my window on the second floor of my house.

 

Wish it were my Romeo, who would make me fly to the

window and ask,

“Why are you Romeo?”

(Aside: You do know that the words,

“Whereforth art you Romeo?

Means,  “Why are you a Capulet?”

or “Why are you my enemy?”

Right?)

 

Know this is not so esoteric or meaningful. It was written

as the hour passed three a.m. and I was to get up at 5 a.m.

 

It is all about “Chill.”

 

Hope you enjoy the way my mind played with the letters

and the meaning of this word.

 

Fog can give me a chill.

 

It produces an icy thought.

 

Chills going up and down my spine are both thrilling and

frightening. It can be eerie and baffling, too. Some things

create emotions which give one person chills, while another

one won’t react or show stimulation in their fear zones.

 

definition of “acrostic” is given to mean a poem or other form

of writing in which the first letter, syllable or word of each line

spells out a word or name.

 

Acrostics of alphabet using the theme of Winter, drew a wide

collection from my mind.

 

I numbered each one so I could ask you if you liked any of

these, you may refer to them by number.

Or feel free to use another word as a “springboard” and make

up one of your own.

I chose to use the singular letters adding up to the word:

 

C

H

I

L

L.

 

Let me know if any of these give you ‘chills.’

 

1.

Clouds

Hasten

Icy,

Lacy

Lakes.

 

2.

Clouds

Help

Icicles

Linger

Longer.

 

3. This one I doubled the letters, “CCHHIILLLL!”

(Br-r-r!!)

 

Creeping cold,

Heaping helpings,

Icy igloos,

Latticework licks,

Liquid lightning.

 

4. Again, double the letters, double the challenge:

 

Crisp crystals,

Intricate Icicles,

Lightly laced,

Lazy liquids,

Hilly heaps.

 

5. This one was one that uses a slang meaning of “ice”

or “to be iced.”

(Just in case this doesn’t translate to another language; it means

‘kill’ or ‘to murder.’)

I like to think of it as a dramatic, yet simple way of expressing

ending a love affair:

 

Cold

Heart

Iced

Love

Lost.

 

*The above five little playful uses of “chill” letters are my

own creations. Please give me credit for the silly word

sets of acrostic poems, if you should wish to use them.

~reocochran thanks you!

 

When my kids were going through middle school, they used

this often expressed combination of two words. It is a friendly

and caring expression, using the word, “chill,” in it:

 

“Did you forget to take your ‘chill pill?'”

“Boy, that man needs to take a ‘chill pill!'”

 

In the seventies, we probably didn’t create or originate the way

my friends and I would use this word:

“Hey, ‘chill’ out!”

“You need to ‘chill,’ man!”

This meant to let the other person know in a non-threatening

manner, to calm down or relax.

 

Isn’t it funny how we may ask someone to “refrigerate something”

for us, but if we have something special, we may ask them to “Put

it on ice” or “This needs to be chilled before serving.”

I sometimes forget that red wines are supposed to be served at

room temperature, while leftover wine usually is placed in the fridge.

 

When you think of an icy situation, you may wish to handle it in

a different manner than a chilly situation. I feel that “icy” people

are very much frozen and cannot change. Somehow, though, I

feel there is more ‘lee- way’  in ‘chilly’ people. Any thoughts on

why?

 

When it is really cold outside, we all wish to bundle up. We

may wish to serve warm soup or sip on a hot drink.

Why do we love to make big pots or Crock Pots of something

that is hot, sometimes meaty and nutritious? This is due to

wishing to create warmth throughout our body.

But, wait. . .

Tell me this. . .

Why is one of our favorite toasty warm meals called, “Chili?”

 

When my grandchildren, who I nickname and often call my

“Grandies” whisper in my ear, it tickles my fancy. It gives me

little goosebumps and it makes me warm all over. This gives

me sweet and innocent ‘chills,’ too.

 

When a man is wishing to be romantic, or is a special part of

my life, he may whisper in a theater, the ‘chills’ are more of

a sensual and arousing kind. Maybe it is due to Pavlov’s

theory of using an impetus and an outcome. It is like such a

wonderful prelude, beginning to what may come later on.

 

My favorite middle of the night thought about “chill” was this

funny one. It is a ‘great rhyming word for First Graders.’

 

Have I got you thinking about “chill” or “chills?”

 

Did you think of a five or six word collection that creates

an acrostic for either of these words?

 

Last but not least, do you forgive me for bringing up this

‘touchy’ subject while Winter may circle back and freeze

us out?

 

I saved it until I saw Spring was just around the corner.

 

We are going to have a “Heat Wave” this week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer, 1924: Whimsical Children’s Poems

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The book that I referenced for Father’s Day, 2014, included a poem

about an inquisitive boy who became a father. The gist of the poem

was about curiosity and the wonders of the child, who grew up into

his role of Father.

This book that I love to look at, has a deep azure blue cover, with gold

lettering and pictures, engraved on the binding and above the title of

the book. I wrote about these details before. . . so I will introduce once

again, a ‘found’ book from the discarded pile of the library.

The book’s title is, “Fancy’s Hour,” written by Norman C. Schlichter,

published in 1924.

 

I have never told you about the Dedication Page, which I feel is so

charming:

 

“TO ALL CHILDREN

Sure Guides

in

The Kingdom of Fancy”

 

Here are two late Summer poems to rejoice and enjoy childhood memories.

The first one is about another name for “Pinwheels.”

 

“Whirligigs

 

Whirligigs, whirligigs,

Turning in the sun,

Light of foot, happy-eyed

After you, we run.

 

Whirligigs, whirligigs,

Laughing in the wind,

Tight we hold the little sticks

Unto which you’re pinned.

 

Whirligigs, whirligigs,

We and you are one.

All you have to do is turn,

We need only run.”

 

This reminded me of how when little toddlers have colorful

pull toys, like that one that ‘popped’ little balls up into a clear

ball, those ducks with rubber feet that flapped, ‘slap, ‘slap’

upon the sidewalk, and the joy of sparklers, too! I think that

as adults we forget how we liked to hear repetitive verses.

That sing song sound of words, makes it wonderful to chant!

 

“Song for Sleep Ears

 

Where runs the river,

Where rolls the sea,

There go the lovely boats

In which I’d like to be.

 

Some with gentle winds are sailing

Some with storms are rocking,

Some in bays are lying still,

Like an idle stocking.

 

Some with masts, and some with none;

Empty, full they’re going

Where the sea waves roll and toss,

Where are rivers flowing.

 

Cozy beds in every boat

For little ones like me;

Light I’d sleep upon the river,

Deep upon the sea.”

 

After a busy day of running around, finally children lie down to hear books,

stories of poems like this one. I used to read, “Wynken, Blynken and Nod”

to my children. I also enjoyed, “The Owl and the Pussycat,” to relax them,

telling them to close their eyes and listen to the rhythm of the words.

I enjoyed, last of all, this reminder of boats. I liked to sing the bedtime

song, “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.”

It takes a special kind of author to create and choose to write poetry for

specifically children in mind. It is a challenge and requires a unique ‘ear’

and talent for what would capture their minds with magical words.

Little ones enjoy the words, as they sink into their pillows into dream land.

 

A Portrait of Garrison Keillor

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It is so hard to imagine life without Lake Wobegone or all the

assundry characters that Garrison Keillor created with his wild

and interesting imagination. He was born in August, 1942, in

Anoka, Minnesota. His dream was to be a ‘poet and a genius.’

Garrison Keillor is best known for his radio show and many

books written.

In Garrison’s plainly written words in the book, “The Keillor

Reader,” (2014, Viking Books, part of Penguin Group) you find

yourself looking up to him. You feel that he has wisdom to

impart. I think that Garrison could be considered a ‘feel good’

author! Listening to his stories can make you wish for the

‘good old days,’ where life was simpler.

While he describes the townspeople of Lake Wobegon,

“I invented a town where the women are strong, the men are

good-looking and the children are all above-average.”

In July, 2014, “A Prairie Home Companion” will celebrate its Forty

Years’ Anniversary!

This iconic Minnesota Public Radio Show caught my attention a long

time ago, when I heard it playing on our local public broadcasting

channel.

His program has been syndicated and listened to by people, around

the world!

Have you ever sat, with possibly your eyes closed, as I happen to

choose to do, and listened to Garrison Keillor?

I like to picture the various places in his town, with their clever

names like “Bertha’s Kitty Boutique,” “The Chatterbox Café,”

“The Sidetrack Tap (the local tavern), “Skoglund’s Five & Dime,”

and “Bunsen Motors.”

Garrison’s fine voice, with its unusual dialect, distinguished

in his readings to us. His words kept my interest, about the

people in the town that once had only been a figment of his

imagination. They must have been rolling around, among his other

young, diverse thoughts, just waiting to escape and come to life!

When Garrison applied for the early morning shift, he had been

one of only a handful willing to get up daily at 4 a.m.

His wry, ascerbic wit and sometimes darker version of the world

were not acceptable to those who were on their way to work, ones

who may have needed a second cup of java to get them going.

So, out of this understanding of his audience, Garrison became

“Old Scout,” the narrator and observer of a small town.

I liked the movie, “A Prairie Home Companion,” (2006) which believe

it or not, included Lindsay Lohan, amongst a wonderful, comedic

ensemble group! The list of actors and actresses alone, made it

worth watching this “B+” movie! I cannot help listing the ones

who were part of Robert Altman’s cast of dreams. (By the way,

this was Altman’s last film that he directed. His list of many

accomplishments is incredible! He died later in November, 2006.)

Here’s the list of “Who’s Who” in the movie: Lily Tomlin, Meryl

Streep, Woody Harrelson, Maya Rudolph, John C. Reilly, Kevin

Kline, Garrison (himself) Keillor, Tommy Lee Jones and Robin

Williams with his wife, Linda. There is an interesting “angel”

character, played by Virginia Madsen. At the end, when the play

is closed down and the theater no longer exists, there is a

special scene… (I won’t “spoil” this, if you choose to rent

this from your local library.) I just want to say, the scene

in a diner, was rather “fortuitous.”

I love Garrison Keillor’s book, I recommend it and it would

be considered a memoir, with some facts about his life and

the phases he went through, growing old while being the one

who told the world about the town that had once lived in his

mind.

I like to make lists so here are some of the things I learned

from his autobiography, including some quotations from his 2014

book.

“Life Lessons I learned While Reading Garrison Keillor’s Most

Recent Book”~

1. Incorporate a sense of humor in your day!

Garrison mentions the contrast of his own morning persona

compared to what was acceptable to his listeners.

“Irony and a dark world-view are not useful in radio early

in the morning…”

2. Be cheerful and it will help others to be happy.

Garrison explains why he created his character,

“Old Scout, who rallied listeners to rise and shine and face the

day with a smile.”

He goes on, “It was a good persona and in time I came to believe

it myself.”

3. Be nice in your town to friends and neighbors.

The town he invented has pleasantries, helpful and kind people.

Garrison’s people are respectful, despite their quirky natures.

4. Work hard, ‘make up for lack of talent.’ and forge ahead.

Garrison tells his readers,

“Soon I was forty, which is too old to die young, so I forgot about

immortality and headed down the long dirt road of longevity.”

5. Parents are important. Remember to thank them!

Garrison realizes,

“It dawned on me that the cheerful radio host I invented was derived

from my parents’ example.”

6. It is good to enjoy what you have and realize things could be

worse.

Garrison describes his parents,

“They were children of the Great Depression, John and Grace. They

knew how to savor their life and not complain.”

7. Don’t complain about how your children lead their lives.

Garrison reveals,

“They (his parents) never complained about me though I know they

hoped I’d go into a more distinguished line of work.”

8. Find what you like to do and continue doing it!

Garrison likes his life and his stories with comedy relief.

“I like it, (his choice of profession) though. Comedy does

give good value. There are so many discouraging facts around

for example, half of all people are below average, and jokes

relieve some of the misery.”

9. Sometimes making up parables can be amusing.

Garrison’s humor shows in this example:

“The race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong nor

riches to men of understanding, but time and chance happeneth

to them all.”

10. As you grow older, you truly believe ‘age is wisdom.’

Garrison says this example is the ‘essence of comedy’ in

25 words or less:

“You’re fast, you trip and fall down: you’re strong and you

poke your sword in your left foot; you’re smart and you go

broke.”

At age 72 this year, Garrison Keillor has reached an age that

his words ring with truth and wisdom, leading us on in our

creativity and encouraging us to keep trying to find our way.

When he came up with the town’s name of Lake Wobegon, I wonder

if he was thinking that it was “woe-be-gone.” Telling us to

leave our burdens and turmoils behind us.

These are the lessons I received from reading his book, “The

Keillor Reader.”

I felt so blessed to have had a chance to ‘visit’ for awhile

and ‘listen’ one more time to Garrison Keillor.