Garrison Keillor speaks about mosquitoes, suicidal raccoons, fishing in the dark, more at River Campus appearance

Thursday, May 6, 2010
Garrison Keillor sings during his appearance Wednesday at the Bedell Performance Hall. (LAURA SIMON)

One microphone, one stool, one man. Plenty of entertained people.

A crowd ranging from teenagers to senior citizens filled the Bedell Performance Hall on Southeast Missouri State University's River Campus Wednesday night to take in the sold-out performance by Garrison Keillor.

Keillor, best known for the radio program "A Prairie Home Companion," opened his performance with a series of sonnets that he sang, initially a prayer and discussion on heaven that turned into an introduction into his tales of Minnesota.

"The beauty of a sonnet is," Keillor sang, "that they teach us that sometimes fourteen lines is enough."

Keillor told stories of growing up in the harsh Minnesota winters as well as the brief but tortuous summers. Speaking of the mosquitoes, he told of how ordinary bug repellent wouldn't do the job. "A crucifix helped, but you had to hit them really hard," he said.

An early focus was on things being "good enough," referring to life in Lake Wobegon. "You're good enough as you are; your friends are good enough. Don't try to find better friends; keep the ones that you have," Keillor said. "There will come a time in your life when there is no reason to like you except out of apathy. You're fine as you are, and people believe in that."

Keillor's topics ranged from suicidal old raccoons and deer to phrases like "a $10 haircut on a 59-cent head" to fishing in the dark with Uncle Jack to sharing a bathroom stall with his cousin.

"As we Lutherans say, it could've been worse," Keillor said as he wrapped his performance to a standing ovation.

Joyce Theiss of Jackson said Keillor provides an "everyman approach" to comedy.

"It was very relatable, whether from the Lutheran aspect or just the Midwestern experience," she said.

KRCU broadcasts "A Prairie Home Companion" at 5 p.m. Saturdays and 1 p.m. Sundays.

Pertinent address:

518 S. Fountain St., Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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