A Prairie Home Companion 40th Anniversary Celebration

On Saturday Suzi and I were fortunate enough to to sit on the Macalaster College lawn surrounded by family — kids, grandkid, in-laws, nieces and nephews celebrating A Prairie Home Companion’s 40th anniversary.

The whole weekend was kind of a PHC festival with outdoor stages and indoor concerts in the Macalaster Fine Arts Center and the chapel.  There were food booths, including great corn on the cob, and radio booths.  At one the PHC sound effects man recreated the sounds we all hear on the show and had kids help him create the effect of a creaking ship, a crackling campfire and tinkling ice.

Suzi and I got to talk a little with Pop Wagner and Dakota Dave Hull, who, along with Mary du Shane, Judy Larson, and Peter Ostroushko, all of whom were on anniversary show, were frequent guests on the WCAL Folk Show and KAXE’s Jackpine Jamboree many years ago.

Garrison Keillor put together a program which included many of our friends.  Many more were sitting on the lawn.  One person heard me talking, recognized my voice and said “Rich McClear — WCAL.”  I haven’t been on WCAL for 39 years.  I met several WCAL alumni at the celebration.

I am grateful to Garrison for providing a bit of civility, humility and humor over the years we were abroad in places where we needed a weekly dose of those three things.  Well, there was always humor, thank goodness, but often it was of the darkest sort.

And I am grateful to Garrison for putting on a show this weekend that gathered so many friends that I could see perform and even chat a bit with.  I’m happy Garrison tipped his hat to two who went before, Jean Shepherd and Bob and Ray.  I am also happy for the tribute to the late Bill Hinkley, who was on the original Prairie Home show and on my show as well.  And Finally, Thanks Garrison for singing “Hello Love” one more time.

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