night garrison keillor sang me a song
by laurey masterton
first week of February was NOT a quiet week in Asheville, my adopted
home town. Garrison Keillor and members of his Prairie Home Companion
gang, came here on a Monday night to do a show. Oh my, what a night
of all, let me go on record as saying that I have been a huge Garrison
fan since that show started being broadcast how ever many years
ago that was.
time, a number of years ago, right in the middle of what was supposed
to be an extended mountain-climbing excursion in The Bugaboo Mountains
of British Columbia, I decided that I did not want to die climbing and
that, frankly, the previous days 19-hour climbing excursion was
going to be my last. I calculated that, if we left that moment, and
drove non-stop, we could be in St. Paul in time for the Saturday live
broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion. My climbing partner/girlfriend
grudgingly agreed to go (she wanted to stay and climb more) and we drove,
stopping only for gas and minimal sleep, until we reached the box office
just a couple of hours before the show. We got put on the waiting
list and only squeaked in at the VERY last minute. My heart still pounds
remembering standing in that line, hoping, hoping, hoping we would get
show was glorious. I sank into the story. Loved the music. And basked
in the evening, thrilled, most of all, to be far away from those treacherous
rocks. I never looked back.
All this came rushing back the other night when we got to provide the
food for the morning, noon, and evening meals of A Prairie Home Companions
Asheville show for our public broadcasting radio station: WCQS. John,
our delivery driver, did full days work, shuttling back and forth
with more coffee, fresh cookies, and such. It was my day off, but, curious,
I went by in the mid-afternoon to check on things and happened to walk
by Garrisons dressing room.
door was open.
skidded to a stop.
Im SO glad youre here!!! My name is Laurey and were
cooking dinner for you tonight! I blurted out.
Garrison looked up.
was a nervous wreck! (He IS my hero!)
was just up your way on a dog-sledding trip, I said. (Boy did
I sound nervous!)
had a conversation of sorts. Politics, dogs, food, and the book I am
might just be my lucky day, I blurted. (Was my voice really shaking?
whys that? he responded. (He probably gets this all the
time, I scolded myself.)
I have been working on a book and today is the day the agent will receive
it. She told me shed read it this week and let me know what she
thought next week. Im pretty excited about the whole thing.
kind of book is it? Garrison asked.
called Elsies Biscuits: simple stories of me, my mother,
and food. I said, still nervous.
see. (Right, I thought, probably EVERYONE who talks to him has
a book in the works. Why are you rattling on?)
any of it dark? he asked.
question!, I thought)
Yes, I said. there are dark parts.
Its good if some of it is dark.
your name, is that L-A-U-R-I-E? he spelled.
L-A-U-R-E-Y, I spelled back, like the show Oklahoma. The
protagonists name was spelled that way and my father was reading
a review of the show while my mother was in the delivery room.
I see, he said.
Masterton is Scottish. Master of the town, or something like that,
nice talking to you. I need to run now. (I didnt, but I
was feeling stupid.)
left the theater, wandered around town, dazed at my conversation. I
floated all afternoon, thrilled. Boy, so many years ago I had gone out
of my way to see him and wow I had just talked to my hero.
Wow, wow, wow. And then it was time for the show. What a show! The sound
was amazing. The music blissful. Stories flowed. The time flew away.
said Garrison, everybody stand up. Its time for intermission.
Leave if you need to, but, for all the rest of you, lets all just
sing together, shall we? I mean, how often do you get to sing together
in a big room with all these people?
we all sang. What fun! How rich we sounded!
now, he said after wed all sung for a long time, lets
do one more song. Id like to dedicate this one to, he paused,
Laurey Masterton. She made our dinner tonight which is why the
music sounds so good. So, he continued without explaining why,
lets all sing Oklahoma.
then we me and everyone else, all 2400 of us (give or take) sang.
still cant. Wow. Wow. Wow.
The agent called, right when she said she would, and said that yes,
she DOES want to work with me. So it looks like it WAS my lucky day
in so very many ways.
Laurey Masterton, Proprietor, Laureys Catering. This
piece was originally printed in the Newsletter for Laureys Catering
and Gourmet to Go. To sign up, please visit laureysyum.com
where you will see a sign up box.