From the American heartland to the vast urban centers, humorist, writer, and hard-core Minnesotan Garrison Keillor offers an old-time variety show as homespun as it is savvy. Broadcast weekly before a live audience, A Prairie Home Companion combines live music, radio theater, and yarns spun from the fictional Lake Wobegon, complete with cowboys, Norwegians, starving artists, Lutherans, jingles for Powdermilk Biscuits, weekly solos, and singalongs.
"It's been a beautiful week, the sun was shining and on Wednesday it got up to 70. There was a couple down by the lake, they were making out as if nobody could see them." A bear wakes from hibernation and wanders into town, the Swansons return for a visit after 30 years away, and Pastor Liz announces that she is leaving to become the pastor at a Lutheran Church in Rome.
"The fourth Sunday of Lent was last week and Easter is a couple of weeks away so that snow, that big snow that they got on Thursday was really tough on people." The town deals with an early spring snowstorm and Mr. Berge finds himself in a tricky situation out on the rapidly thawing lake.
"It's been beautiful this last week. The sun was shining. It's been a gorgeous, gorgeous winter. We got a little snow on Monday, Thursday, just a decorator snow." Mr. Berge tells a few jokes to ducks out on the lake, the Men's Prayer Group gathers at Bunsen Motors, and the Lutheran Church holds its Lenten soup suppers.
"Spring: spring came in on Thursday. We got little snow on Tuesday. No problem, no problem. Just a little decorative, designer snow on Tuesday." Thoughts on the sin of sloth and the 1965 World Series, Carl Krebsbach considers robbing a bank and receives a mysterious phone call, and Darlene worries that her cat may have rabies.
"It's been warm. It's in the 40s. The snow has been melting and the sidewalks are clear, and people are out walking around town after all these months of imprisonment." Clint Bunsen continues his fight to prevent Millet from becoming the county seat, the Lake Wobegon Whippets acquire a new center fielder, and Pastor Liz goes sledding after an energetic sermon.
"It's been a cold winter but now it's warmer, it's up in the 30s. So it's not all that bad as long as it's moving in the right direction." Mr. Magendantz tries a dangerous new method of snow removal, Father Wilmer catches Darlene napping at the Chatterbox Cafe, and Clint Bunsen tries to prevent Millet from replacing Lake Wobegon as the county seat.
"It's been chilly, been cloudy this whole week but we're used to it. It doesn't really matter." Lake Wobegon High School's class of 2013 graduates, tales of graduation ceremony pranks from years past, and thoughts on being a commencement speaker, in a monologue from June 2013.
"It's been cold and gray, just a little bit of snow falling, children reluctantly going back to school. Lot of things had to be canceled because of that blizzard a couple of weeks ago." Texting disrupts a choir concert, Darlene resolves to find a man this year, and Clint Bunsen visits his wife's uncle in Omaha, in a monologue from January 2013.
"We've had snow. We've had a lot of snow. People are discouraged. People are beaten down, they're cranky on account of this snow." Jimmy Krebsbach helps Arlene Bunsen deer-proof her yard, Pastor Liz makes house calls to hear the town's complaints, and a surprise in Mrs. Olson's purse interrupts the sermon at Lake Wobegon Lutheran Church, in a monologue from April 2013.
"It's been beautiful out there. We're coming to spring here and everything's gorgeous." Fishing season begins in Lake Wobegon, the host learns of his mother's online Scrabble habit, and the history of the annual Willis Bunsen Grocery Run event, in a monologue originally from May 2013.
"It was cold Monday and Tuesday. Kids were out of school Monday, Tuesday so I guess the school year is going to go on until the middle of June." The town experiences a propane shortage, Myrtle and Florian Krebsbach have marital troubles after 61 years of marriage, and the Bunsens deal with a raccoon problem.
"It got ferociously cold here on Thursday--Wednesday and Thursday--so school was canceled on Thursday. They heard about it Thursday morning on the rise-and-shine show Ole and Toivu." Senator K. Thorvaldson prepares for a trip to Arizona, Carl Krebsbach considers giving up the carpentry business, and Pastor Liz's boyfriend Cliff attends another service at the Lutheran Church.
"All the kids are going back to college now. College kids who are going back exhausted after having had almost a month off from school." A "Wayward Moon" makes the town restless, Pastor Liz's boyfriend attends a service at the Lutheran Church, and Darlene visits a man in Windom.
"It was cold—COLD—Monday and Tuesday. So cold. It was minus 40, minus 50, counting the wind chill." Father Wilmer gives a two-and-a-half-minute sermon, the town's dogs enjoy a break from the cold weather, and Jerry Dehner does some thinking during an ice fishing trip.
"It's been very cold out there, hate to say it, but it's true, and it's about to get colder." The governor preemptively closes schools because of the big cold front, TV crews from California visit to find out why people live in Minnesota, memories of cold winters past, and the town celebrates New Year's Eve.
"Sort of balmy, balmy weather early in the week and then we got some drizzle and then finally last night we got some snow, snow, beautiful snow." Mavis and Vern continue their relationship despite Irene's objections (and become the talk of the town in the process), Pastor Liz visits elderly residents for the holidays, and the Chatterbox Cafe's potato sausage gives the town a festive aroma, in a monologue from December 2012.
"There was a beautiful big moon up there on Tuesday, Wednesday, and the light from that moon was so bright on the snow that some people woke up in the middle of the night." Tales of late-night baking and strange dreams, and the recently improved Lutheran Church Choir sings a few hymns during their Christmas banquet at the Moonlight Bay Supper Club.
"They got snow out there and it turned good and cold and people are cheerful. People are more cheerful when it's bitterly cold out there, because what is the choice?" Sidetrack Tap patrons perform some impromptu satellite dish maintenance, Irene and Clint Bunsen prepare for the holidays, Pastor Liz hosts a caroling party that gets the town talking, and memories of early television in Lake Wobegon.
"We finally got our decent snowfall here on Wednesday night and now Minnesota can look Buffalo and the Yukon in the eye. We need not be ashamed any longer." Mr. Berge enlists shoveling help after the season's first big snowfall, Corrine Tollerud breaks up with her boyfriend, thoughts on modern child rearing, and memories of harrowing school bus rides.
"It's been chilly, but then we expected it would be. It's been clear sunny days, cold, clear nights. You can look up and see the stars up there." Lake Wobegon celebrates Thanksgiving by sharing a few stories from years past, the Tollefsons prepare a turkey using their grandmother's recipe, and Pastor Liz's boyfriend attends a service at the Lutheran Church.
"It was the most beautiful snowfall in yesterday morning in Lake Wobegon. It was just gorgeous, it was like something out of a children's book." The town pledges for the annual "Big Plunge" fundraising event, Lake Wobegon High School students learn about owls, and a local English teacher makes an enriching discovery while walking in the woods, in a monologue from February 2013.
"It's gotten cold up there, just genuinely cold, and we can tell it's cold because the teenagers are now putting on jackets and scarves and mittens and hats and so forth." Fred contemplates giving up furnace repair and moving to Texas, Lake Wobegon Lutheran Church prepares for its lutefisk dinner, Myron has knee replacement surgery, and Pastor Liz receives a strange call for help in the middle of the night.
"The big wind came along this last week and blew all of the leaves down, so there's no more illusion that we might get another, y'know, week of warm weather." Deer hunting season kicks off in Lake Wobegon, Daryl Tollerud and Roger Hedlund head to Carl Krebsbach's hunting shack where they share a few stories, and rumors fly about Pastor Liz's new boyfriend.
"We had our big frost and it turned cold. All the flowers are dead. They say we'll get some snow before Thanksgiving." Donnie Krebsbach heads to Minneapolis to visit his in-laws and his son and a distraught girl arrives in town to learn more about her uncle (who, it turns out, was secretly engaged to Tina Lundeen).
"Our beautiful fall has come to an end. We got a frost here on Monday Night. People were talking about it down at the Chatterbox Cafe." Eloise Krebsbach runs for mayor, the Lutheran Church updates its directory, Carl Krebsbach does a few odd jobs around town, and the Hedlunds dig up a Lake Wobegon ghost story.
"We said goodbye to summer here this last week, there's just no doubt about it. It just turned cold, the north wind blew in, and cold air, and the sun went down behind the cloud." The town's residents reluctantly turn on their furnaces, parents attend parent-teacher conferences, and a story about being left behind in Seward, Nebraska.
"It's been warm for us -- what we would consider warm -- temperatures in the 70s and sunny. Sort of like New Orleans but with essential differences." The town considers the benefits of a move to New Orleans, Roger and Cindy Hedlund clean out their cabin for winter, Mavis finally breaks up completely with Vern, and Pastor Liz hosts a delayed Confirmation mass and heads to Minneapolis for a massage.
"Homecoming week this week at Lake Wobegon High School, not that we expect alumni to come back--they don't. They come back, maybe, for the holidays." High school students prepare for the homecoming dance, Laurel returns to town from Long Beach, California after 22 years, and Pastor Liz worries after giving a sermon that everyone enjoys.
"It's been absolutely perfect, perfect autumn weather--temperatures in the 70s and a mist coming up off the lake in the morning and drifting on up the hill into the woods." Dorcas Hansen rehearses for the school play and Pastor Liz dreads a meeting with her friend Carol.
"It's been this gorgeous, gorgeous September, this beautiful time--so much happening." Lake Wobegon welcomes the arrival of fall, a bear surprises Irene Bunsen, then stays in town, starting a debate over who will pay to have it removed, and high school students take the ACT exam.
"It's fall at last. It was very warm--very warm--early in the week. It got hot. People were even thinking of bringing back their air conditioners but that would've shown weakness." College students return to their campuses, the oldest man in town takes up smoking again, Pastor Liz leads a camping trip, and Mr. Dehner's dog plays shortstop for the Lake Wobegon Whippets.
"Oh, we knew it was going to snow. We could see that sky--that was a snow sky. People who have lived here for more than five minutes know what that snow sky looks like." Plus, discovering hidden treasures under the floor of Lake Wobegon Lutheran Church, Pastor Liz delivers a sermon on one of her least favorite Gospels, and Lake Wobegon exiles return home for Thanksgiving, in a monologue from November 2011.
"It's getting on towards fall. The flowers are turning dry. Nobody's mowing their lawn anymore -- there's no need to. It's been kind of dry the last few weeks." Darlene becomes a vegan after accidentally killing a frog, the Schroeder family makes wine from wild grapes, and the Sons of Bernie visit the State Fair, in a monologue from September 2008.
"It was kind of a hot summer here for a couple weeks. The Norwegians got all pale and innervated and were gasping for breath like fish on a stringer."
"It's been warm out there. It's been in the 40s, so we had a brown Christmas."
"Unseasonably warm early in the week but now, thank goodness, the temperature has dropped into the single digits, which is to everyone's satisfaction." The town's ice fishermen deal with an unexpected lack of ice, residents gear up for the Winter Festival, Lake Wobegon sets a world record, and Darlene is forced to stay close-mouthed, in a monologue from January 2012.
"We got a little snow out there this last week -- six inches but we don't care. We're not shoveling. The shovel's been put away. The snow plow is parked in the garage." Spring comes to Lake Wobegon and town constables Gary and Leroy respond to a dispute at the Magendantz home, in a monologue from March 2011.
"It's been warm out there. The flowers are up -- the peonies and lilacs, and of course the tulips are up. Those beautiful golden songbirds come back from their migrations." Uncle Will and Aunt Miriam move to Pasadena and Carl Krebsbach takes his new boat out for a very cold fishing opener, in a monologue from May 2000.
"It's the week of the fall equinox, when we turn towards the darkness -- and we have this week. It's been chilly, it's been cloudy, and the sun -- less of it." Darlene encounters a coyote that resembles her Uncle Jack, Val Tollefson delivers a strange prayer at the adult bible study group, and a visit to the Lake Wobegon Town Dump, in a monologue from September 2011.
"Beautiful, beautiful weather out there. Sun: bright, highs in the 60s. It's been perfect. Farmers are combining the corn and the soybeans as well, and the alfalfa is still green." The Lake Wobegon Leonards lose their big homecoming game against the Millet Marauders and the folks in town react to fall and cooler weather, in a monologue from October 2010.
"Spring there--spring came on suddenly as spring always does. It just took one thunderstorm and green spears, tulips poking up in the flower beds and all the winter clothes went away into boxes down in the basement." Irene Bunsen does a little gardening and the high school prom coincides with the local farmers' manure-spreading week, in a monologue from April 2005.
"Summer has come on, the raspberries are ripe, there are hummingbirds everywhere--it's been getting warm and humid here." Wally brings a case of mead to the Sidetrack Tap, the parents of Lake Wobegon deal with high school and college students home for the summer, and the perfect cover story for laziness.
"Midsummer's Day--daylight, daylight, daylight--going on into the night and then there was a full moon on Sunday, the strawberry moon." The children of Lake Wobegon Lutheran Church leave for bible camp and Pastor Liz takes two weeks of vacation, but first, she pays a visit to Mr. Lilledale, who has not been himself.
"It was a quiet week. It was a contemplative week, a week of meditation--in other words, it rained a lot." The host finds his own book at the Hedlunds' garage sale, Lake Wobegon High School valedictorian Louise Larson celebrates graduation, the Halvorson-Josephson wedding is called off, and a few thoughts on Father's Day.
"It's been chilly, been cloudy this whole week but we're used to it. It doesn't really matter." Lake Wobegon High School's class of 2013 graduates, tales of graduation ceremony pranks from years past, and thoughts on being a commencement speaker.
"It was cloudy and chilly here this last weekend--Memorial Day weekend, which was a sore disappointment to people..." Myrtle and Florian Krebsbach take a trip to Iowa, Amy Tollerud graduates high school and prepares to leave for college, and Clarence Bunsen has an automotive encounter with a June bug.
"It's been rainy out there It's been raining most of the week and so everything is blossoming and blooming. Everything is green." Father Wilmer hosts a picnic at Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility, the Lake Wobegon Whippets open their season, and the story of Wally "Old Hard Hands" Bunsen.
"It's a gorgeous, gorgeous fall here. Gorgeous nights--warm days, cool nights." Pastor Liz hosts a bonfire and Mr. Lofgren's orchard produces an exceptional harvest of his "Julia" apples, in a monologue from September 2012.
"It's been beautiful out there. We're coming to spring here and everything's gorgeous." Fishing season begins in Lake Wobegon, the host learns of his mother's online Scrabble habit, and the history of the annual Willis Bunsen Grocery Run event.
"It snowed this last week. It was harmful, it was hurtful to people, and people suffered from it. They were angry at it." The town attends the high school's production of 'Our Town,' Sarah Peterson worries her parents by becoming successful, and Mavis investigates Vern's past.
"Spring has finally arrived and the crocuses are up and the flowers are up and there's green grass and people are hanging their sheets out on the line, just for the smell of it, just for the beauty of it." Donny Krebsbach ventures onto the lake in search of early spring ice fishing, Christopher Inqvist gets a summer job at Ralph's Pretty Good Grocery, and thoughts on the importance of yard work.
"We've had snow. We've had a lot of snow. People are discouraged. People are beaten down, they're cranky on account of this snow." Jimmy Krebsbach helps Arlene Bunsen deer-proof her yard, Pastor Liz makes house calls to hear the town's complaints, and a surprise in Mrs. Olson's purse interrupts the sermon at Lake Wobegon Lutheran Church.
"Got a big snow here this last week. Snow in the middle of April just pushed people right to the edge--just so terribly discouraging." Myrtle Krebsbach monopolizes the microphone after winning the "Pick the Pope" contest, Mavis and Vern break off their relationship, and the Pettersons embark on a 60-day juice cleanse.
"It has warmed up there. There's still some snow on the ground but there are signs of spring. The loons have come in to the lake and they're singing to each other." Spring is on its way and Donnie Krebsbach gets into trouble while attempting to rescue his fish house.
"Had a little bit of frost on Monday just to remind us where we live but otherwise it was warm. It was up in the 60s -- people had their windows open." The Lake Wobegon Whippets take some spring batting practice, Bud learns a lesson about friendship while putting the dock in the water, and Pastor Liz has an exciting evening on Easter Sunday, in a monologue from April 2012.
"It's been a cold spring here, the ice still out there on the lake but the pelicans have arrived and other migrating birds have come in anyway." The milk truck gets stuck in Mr. Hoppe's driveway, Carl Krebsbach builds a house for a stockbroker friend, and it's a tough time for marriage, unless you have a ritual argument like Myrtle and Florian Krebsbach, in a monologue from April 2009.
"We're all used to disappointment and heartbreak in Lake Wobegon. We're all used to being left behind, of course. It's really the story of our lives." Clint Bunsen tries to free a skunk from a trap, a booger joke causes Larry to shoot tapioca out of his nose, and Eloise Krebsbach buys an artificial limb to replace her boyfriend Fred, in a monologue from October 2009.
"Drove up here this last week in the cold and the ice because I needed to get some of this 'plaster' that has been in our family for years..." A bad cough requires a cold remedy made from fresh mustard and Aunt Flo makes soup because her daughter is visiting from Minneapolis, in a monologue from March 2002.
"It's been getting warmer up there. The tulips are up a little bit, and the irises, and the lily of the valley as well." Pastor Liz and Clint Bunsen spend some time together while digging a grave for Liz Tollefson, and Pastor Anderson weeps during her funeral service.
"It was the most beautiful snowfall in yesterday morning in Lake Wobegon. It was just gorgeous, it was like something out of a children's book." The town pledges for the annual "Big Plunge" fundraising event, Lake Wobegon High School students learn about owls, and a local English teacher makes an enriching discovery while walking in the woods.
"It's been warm here this last week, been up in the 30s. Just the right temperature to keep the snow on the ground--keep it from melting." Vern visits Mavis for Valentine's Day, Pastor Liz hosts a dinner for the local singles, and the story of Louis Powell, the town's rare Unitarian.
"The snow coming in... It's been kind of a warm week. It's been in the 20s, and a little snow here this last week, a little sliver of moon up in the sky." Marilyn and Bud Bunsen worry about their daughter's unusual plans for the annual Snowball Dance, and a few members of the 1952 Lake Wobegon Leonards football team reminisce about their 1-8 season while visiting Naples, Florida.
"It's been bitterly, bitterly, bitterly cold in Lake Wobegon. It was so cold that they did not do the fire drill up at the high school." A group of Miami tourists arrives in town on a bus tour, Dorothy puts together a last-minute meal for them at the Chatterbox Cafe, and Renee Rasmussen's husband Delbert returns for the first time in years.
"It's been cold, it's been cold. It's been in the low teens--highs in the day. We don't do wind chill in Lake Wobegon. It seems like bragging to us somehow." Memories of the terrible winter of 1951--including sheltering local deer in the high school gym and Seena Halvorson meeting her husband while ice fishing--and Margie and Carl Krebsbach have an awkward encounter with their son, who has just moved home.
"It's been cold out there but it's a dry cold, you know, so it's not painful or anything and of course we are used to it. But, the battle of the thermostat goes on in every house in Lake Wobegon." The town gathers firewood to prepare for the cold weather, Mavis celebrates her 75th birthday in Los Angeles, and Clint Bunsen reflects on missing the opportunity to move to the Southwest.
"We've gotten some snow, even better than that, we've gotten frost--frost, when you have a clear night and you have high humidity, you wake up in the morning and everything is covered with frost." Terrible flu hits Lake Wobegon, memories of ice skating and smoking in the warming house, storytelling around a bonfire on a frozen lake, and the Lutheran church ends the year with a surplus.
"It's been cold and gray, just a little bit of snow falling, children reluctantly going back to school. Lot of things had to be canceled because of that blizzard a couple of weeks ago." Texting disrupts a choir concert, Darlene resolves to find a man this year, and Clint Bunsen visits his wife's uncle in Omaha.
"We got a little snow -- a little snow Monday night. What a beautiful snowfall it was, and not all that cold out." In a monologue from January 2012, warm weather puts those who suffer from "Pump Handle Phobia" at ease. Plus, Mr. Hansen lends a hand around the neighborhood while his wife visits her sister in Florida, and reveals an unusual secret.
"It's been kind gray and cloudy, sort of drizzly, this last week, waiting for snow to come. We've had a little bit of snow but not as much as we deserve." Mrs. Hansen makes an anonymous donation, the Tolleruds are forced to change their Christmas dinner plans when their daughters invite a Brazilian exchange student, and Pastor Liz hosts guests who have nowhere else to go.
"We had our first really good snowfall of the year. It was predicted in the Gospel from St. Luke, which was last Sunday morning." The Lake Wobegon public schools get a snow day, Lake Wobegon Lutheran Church's seasonal decorations cause discomfort in the congregation, Pastor Liz visits the town's elderly residents, and the Bunsens comfort their daughter after her terrible week at work.
"Sort of balmy, balmy weather early in the week and then we got some drizzle and then finally last night we got some snow, snow, beautiful snow." Mavis and Vern continue their relationship despite Irene's objections (and become the talk of the town in the process), Pastor Liz visits elderly residents for the holidays, and the Chatterbox Cafe's potato sausage gives the town a festive aroma.
"It's been cold out there. It's been in the 20s and the 30s, big full moon this Wednesday, people putting up Christmas decorations." Dorothy and Darlene swap Thanksgiving stories, the Bunsens host a Thanksgiving dinner for people with no place else to go, and Mavis and Vern spend some time together despite their political differences.
"It's Thanksgiving this week and the exiles up from the cities for the traditional Thanksgiving, whatever that may mean nowadays. And then on Thursday, this ice storm hit and the roads became slick and slippery." Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility hosts the town's joint Thanksgiving service, women gather at the Bon Marche Beauty Salon, and Clint Bunsen puts up his Christmas lights.
"Winter came in Sunday night. A cold front moved in and the snow fell. Big beautiful flakes still falling on Monday morning." Memories of sledding in Lake Wobegon, Daryl Tollerud goes deer hunting and attends the Annual Meatball Dinner (formerly the Annual Lutefisk Dinner), and Pastor Liz discusses Gabriel García Márquez at a dinner party.
"It's been cloudy and chilly, a little rainy. It's been November weather and all these geese flew in--about 500 of them in a flock, along with about 10 swans." The election puts a damper on conversation in Lake Wobegon, Clarence Bunsen proposes the cancellation of the Christmas Lutefisk Dinner, and Mr. Hoppe dies on his way home from the Sidetrack Tap.
"The world has taken a turn towards the cold. The sun comes out but it's not warm anymore -- we've taken the big turn towards fall." Art's rules for staying at the Night o' Rest Motel, Dorothy urges Chatterbox Cafe customers to try pumpkin bread pudding, and Pastor Liz meets a carpenter named Michael at a bar in St. Cloud.
"It's been chilly and kind of gray and drizzly. Winter sort of arrived in a big rush on Thursday. It was briefly sunny, back on Sunday." Irene Bunsen and Mrs. Anderson argue about the ownership of an enormous pumpkin, Lyle points out a hard-to-see meteor shower, which draws a crowd of onlookers, and the last boxelder bugs of the season find refuge in Lake Wobegon Lutheran Church.
"It's been chilly and drizzly and rainy here this last week, and windy as well, so a lot of the leaves have fallen in town." Falling leaves herald conflicting yard work styles, Clint Bunsen makes some improvements to his deer stand, and memories of ill-gotten poker winnings.
"It's been chilly. It's been sunny out there. The gardens are all in--everybody's picked everything there is to pick. People are working on their yards now." Pastor Liz avoids giving a sermon about a difficult verse, the Bakkes move to Arizona to care for Jack's mother, and Darlene bumps into her old English teacher at the El Dorado Casino.
"It was warm and beautiful early in the week, and then Wednesday night you could feel the earth turn and the world change." The Pettersons host an enormous bonfire and Orville makes a friend while on a train trip to California.
"Fall has come on. There's a definite chill in the air and there are people who have to get up in the night and close their bedroom windows." The Hansens take a road trip to Yellowstone, Kurt visits Amsterdam after retiring as the janitor of the Lake Wobegon elementary school, and Pastor Liz goes on a date with a youth minister.
"A big wind came in yesterday and brought in a little taste of November for us. It turned chilly and cold almost right away." Jimmy Krebsbach returns from Texas to visit his friends and family (leaving behind his large collection of Cadillacs) and reveals the origin of a strange scar on his chest.
"It's a gorgeous, gorgeous fall here. Gorgeous nights--warm days, cool nights." Pastor Liz hosts a bonfire and Mr. Lofgren's orchard produces an exceptional harvest of his "Julia" apples.
"Mozart's 250th birthday this year. All over America, even in Lake Wobegon: choirs celebrating, singing Mozart." Recollections of choirs in Lake Wobegon, plus songs for "Mary Jo" and "One More Spring in Minnesota," in a monologue from 2006.
"It's been warm and humid this last week and we've gotten a lot of rain, which has been good for the gardens in my town." The town apprehends a band of mailbox vandals, Bruno the Fishing Dog tears through Irene Bunsen's tomato patch, the Whippets start their season, and thoughts on fresh produce in Lake Wobegon, in a monologue from 1999.
"It turned cold this week, to everybody's great relief -- to finally have winter here, for sure. No doubt about it. No going back and forth between fall and winter, but just winter. The real thing."
"We're coming to the end of this warm spell in November and it is none too soon. Need to get real here. If we go on much longer with this sort of weather in November and it just encourages people to entertain all kinds of illusions." A monologue from November 2001.
"The Whippets won last Sunday afternoon. They played the Freeport Flyers and they won by a score of 3-2. It was a great game--it was one of those close, tight games where everything that happens means a lot because it's so close." Babe Ruth visits the town for an exhibition game against the Lake Wobegon Schroeders, in a monologue from 1985.
"It's been warm out there--what we call warm. It's been in the 90s. It's been good tomato-growing weather." Irene Bunsen grows a crop of unique tomato plants and a potential buyer bartends at the Sidetrack Tap to get a feel for the place, allowing Wally to enjoy some time on his pontoon boat, in a monologue from 1999.
"It's been warm out there this week. Been up in the 80s--unusual for October. The trees are at their peak and everybody should've been happy." Clint Bunsen endures a talkative duck hunting companion, the Lake Wobegon High School football team faces a feared rival, and Pastor Liz chooses between three very different sermon topics, in a monologue from October 2011.
"It's been warm out there--warm enough so that people are now able to sleep at night with their windows open, which changes everything in a person's life." High school graduates prepare to explore the world, and a life-changing trip to the Grand Canyon, in a monologue from 2003.
"It's been gorgeous, it's been perfect, it's been sunny, it's been warm. The raspberries and the strawberries are coming in. The tomatoes are not too far away." Lake Wobegon enjoys the summer strawberry crop, and the story of Bernice and Earl, who served as missionaries in Ecuador before returning to a Minnesota rhubarb farm.
"It's been warm--got up to 100 degrees on the Fourth of July so everything has slowed down in town. Dogs are not chasing anything anymore." Pastor Liz checks in on the students at her Lutheran Bible Camp, the Lake Wobegon Whippets defeat the Avon Bards and their unorthodox third baseman, and the town celebrates the Fourth of July.
"It's been a beautiful, beautiful week. It's been warm and sunny--gets up into the 90s in the afternoon but the mornings are perfect." The town deals with a heat wave and the meanest woman in Lake Wobegon passes away.
"A lot of heat at the beginning of the week and storms -- sheets of rain coming down -- it was a beautiful, beautiful thing." Lake Wobegon celebrates Father's Day, Lake Wobegon Lutheran church celebrates the baptism of Roger Hedlund's granddaughter, and the sounds of the town interrupt the Sunday service.
"It was very brutally, brutally hot here this last week and the deerflies came in, which is a form of plague." Powerful storms roll into Lake Wobegon, Luanne Peterson copes with the arrival of a new patient in the pediatric intensive care unit, and a story to comfort Luanne when she breaks down under an overpass during the storm.
"It's been warm there -- what we would consider warm. It's been up in the 80s and it's been kind of rough on these Scandinavians." The high school graduation ceremony moves out of the air-conditioning-less gymnasium, the students are disappointed by the transit of Venus, Hannah Rasmussen overuses a metaphor in her valedictorian speech, and the Mueller children return to Lake Wobegon for their mother's funeral.
"It's been beautiful. It's been dry. It's been in the 70s, a little breeze coming in, very low humidity." The class of 1962 returns for a reunion, the class of 2012 plans their senior prank, the story of an epic food fight, a tent caterpillar infestation hits Lake Wobegon, and Corrine Tollerud discusses Kierkegaard and Christianity with Pastor Liz.
"It's summer at last and the rhubarb is coming in and the lilacs are in full bloom. Somebody's been cutting alfalfa. The crickets, you can hear them, and the frogs are singing." A rainstorm drenches the town, the Lake Wobegon Whippets begin spring training, local families open their lake cabins, and the Lutheran church switches to its summer service schedule.
"It's been hot out there and we're not used to it. Gets up into the 80s and it's very humid and people get nauseous walking back and forth into air conditioning and back out." The strawberries and blueberries are plentiful in Lake Wobegon, the junior high boys go skinny-dipping in the lake, and Pastor Liz arrives to much celebration and curiosity, in a monologue from 2010.
"It's been spring and the grass is lush and green and the flowers are up. It's just gorgeous. It's that time of year in Minnesota when it's too warm to snow again and not quite warm enough to go swimming." Corrine Tollerud returns from college having discovered Kierkegaard, Mr. Holmberg avoids a public speaking sentence, and Father Wilmer receives an unusual bequest.
"Kind of wet this week but nice and warm, up into the 80s. It's the real start of summer here. Spring is just a very brief season in Minnesota." Lake Wobegon Lutheran Church holds its annual book sale. Plus, the story of Dean Levine, who dreamt of becoming a cashier.
"It's been a beautiful spring. It's up in the 60s, been a little rainy but it's warm enough for us." Deer become a nuisance in Lake Wobegon, local high schoolers prepare for prom while the Good Shepherd Nursing Home holds its Sweethearts Dance, and Clarence Bunsen inherits a modest sum when his Aunt Astrid passes away.
"It's been kind of cold and rainy there this last week. We got a little snow on Monday -- we don't need to talk about that at all." The high school seniors prepare for their Senior Prom, the Sons of Knut do some spring cleaning, Pastor Liz ponders her encounter with a highway patrolman, and Mr. Nelson goes on a strange journey.
"Had a little bit of frost on Monday just to remind us where we live but otherwise it was warm. It was up in the 60s -- people had their windows open." The Lake Wobegon Whippets take some spring batting practice, Bud learns a lesson about friendship while putting the dock in the water, and Pastor Liz has an exciting evening on Easter Sunday.
"It is spring. The lawns have turned lush and green. The loons have arrived -- loons, who are monogamous, and one pair of loons will command a whole wide expanse of water out on Lake Wobegon." The town celebrates Easter, spring yard sales begin, the local Norwegian bachelor farmers wash their sheets, and Pastor Liz delivers an unexpectedly powerful Good Friday sermon.
"It's been warm out there. It's been windy. The ice went out on the lake a long time ago and even the old grumblers in the Chatterbox Cafe have had to admit that spring is here." March was a month of "firsts" in Lake Wobegon, Pastor Liz plans for Easter, and the story of aviator Wilbur Scott, who finds a final resting place at the Sidetrack Tap.
"It's been a big week in Minnesota weather. We had a little snow at the beginning of the week and it was cold and then it got warmer and the sun came out." The story of Mr. Turnblad, who built a sailboat, sailed the Gulf of Mexico for three months, and returned to Lake Wobegon a changed man. Plus, Darlene falls for a new bread deliveryman, and the town deals with rain on the night of the junior/senior prom, in a monologue from 2009.
"It's been warm out there -- temperature's been in the 50s and the 60s. The snow has melted, a good deal of it, except for very stubborn snow that hangs out in the woods." Lucille Tollerud leads a protest against changes to the post office, and other examples of "Irishness" in Lake Wobegon, in a monologue from 2000.
"We got a little snow out there this last week -- six inches but we don't care. We're not shoveling. The shovel's been put away. The snow plow is parked in the garage." Spring comes to Lake Wobegon and town constables Gary and Leroy respond to a dispute at the Magendantz home, in this monologue from 2011.
"We had a little snow here on Tuesday to try and freshen up our snow cover somewhat -- which was getting a little threadbare." Thoughts on ice fishing preparation, and Lake Wobegon Elementary students suffer the airborne effects of an unfortunate school lunch, in this monologue from 2007.
"It was a new moon on Monday so it was purely dark for three nights and there was very little snow on the ground to reflect any starlight or streetlights." Clint Bunsen turns to a vegetarian diet after his wife discovers a dangerous German cookbook, Pastor Liz makes a few pastoral calls, and they share an awkward encounter when Clint visits to repair her toilet.
"It's been warm there. It's been in the 30s — just a little trace of snow here and there, a sunny sky here today. Not winter as we know it. We will survive somehow." The town's Fourth of July committee meets to plan this year's parade, Daryl Tollerud encounters an angry skunk, and Clint Bunsen has a revelation about his ancestry.
"Valentine's Day coming up on Tuesday, so love is in the air." Cold weather returns to Lake Wobegon, the Lake Wobegon Leonards basketball team suffers a disheartening defeat, the Bunsens baptize a new granddaughter on Super Bowl Sunday, and Marilyn Tollerud tells the story of her grandfather, who outlived a dire prognosis.
"Barely-not-quite-winter -- in the 30s, low 40s, so there's not much snow around. People are kind of cranky as well." The Tolleruds have a gerbil loose in their house, reflections on hiding embarrassing photos and personal effects from your children, the town continues to deal with a warm winter, and Darlene defends a hair color mishap.
"We got a little snow -- a little snow Monday night. What a beautiful snowfall it was, and not all that cold out." The recent warm weather puts those who suffer from "Pump Handle Phobia" at ease. Plus, Mr. Hansen lends a hand around the neighborhood while his wife visits her sister in Florida, and reveals an unusual secret.
"It's been cold out there. It was one below zero here the other day and everybody felt pretty good about that." Kenny does some soul searching after leaving the Sidetrack Tap and getting stuck in a hidden snow tunnel, the Women's Circle switches from quilting to writing, and Pastor Liz has a revelation while "night swimming."
"Unseasonably warm early in the week but now, thank goodness, the temperature has dropped into the single digits, which is to everyone's satisfaction." The town's ice fishermen deal with an unexpected lack of ice, residents gear up for the Winter Festival, Lake Wobegon sets a world record, and Darlene is forced to stay close-mouthed.
"The crocuses are up and the tulips are up and then we got a little bit of snow overnight but nobody said a word about it." Dorothy wins the "Guess the Ice Melt" contest, the tundra swans return to Lake Wobegon, spring yard work begins, and Pastor Liz is forced to use her emergency sermon, in a monologue from April 16, 2011.
"It's been warm out there. It's been in the 40s so we had a brown Christmas -- we had no snow." Hawaiian visitors head to Lake Wobegon for a taste of winter, the Tolleruds and the Hansens fight over a good deed after a freezer malfunction, and some advice for 2012 as the town celebrates New Year's Eve.
"The snow is falling even now. I can imagine it -- snow falling across the lake, which is just starting to freeze here just a few days ago." The "city mice" visit the "country mice" for the holiday, and stories from four memorable Lake Wobegon Christmases.
"It's been much too warm out there. It's been raining. It looks dreary -- it doesn't look like the festival of lights whatsoever." Plus, a series of misunderstandings draws a crowd to Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility, the Tolleruds reluctantly accept a gift from a NYC relative, Lake Wobegon Lutheran Church celebrates St. Lucia Day, and the high school choir goes caroling.
"It's been cold and that snow that is on the ground is now there to stay and we're happy about that." -- Winter comes to Lake Wobegon. Plus, thinking twice about offering hospitality after a visit from Aunt Cooter, the Bunsens forego their usual holiday arguments, and the Living Nativity returns to Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility.
"It's been getting colder -- into the 20s. It's been trying to snow and we've been seeing a lot of Christmas lights." Plus, Pastor Liz reluctantly serves as a "healer" after a miraculous event at a Lake Wobegon Lutheran Church women's retreat becomes the talk of the town.
"This Thanksgiving--a fairly uneventful Thanksgiving, a little excitement up at the Magendantz home." A fire prompts reconciliation between the Bunsens and the Magendantzes after years of animosity, Clint Bunsen accidentally restores the Moonlight Bay Supper Club's neon sign, the Tolleruds welcome their daughter home from St. Olaf College, and thoughts on Thanksgiving meals.
"Oh, we knew it was going to snow. We could see that sky—that was a snow sky. People who have lived here for more than five minutes know what that snow sky looks like." Plus, discovering hidden treasures under the floor of Lake Wobegon Lutheran Church, Pastor Liz delivers a sermon on one of her least favorite Gospels, and Lake Wobegon exiles return home for Thanksgiving.
"This was the week that the weather turned. The big ship swung off to the North." Plus, Lake Wobegon prepares for winter, reflections on Veterans Day, and newly widowed Becky Beckman keeps a final promise to her husband Bradley by taking his place on an annual deer-hunting trip.
It's been gray, it's been chilly, it's been cold, and we had our first real frost out there -- frosty sidewalks early in the morning. Lyle Janske discovered that the other day. He came out to take his garbage out and he walked across the deck out behind his house, and suddenly without his anticipating it, his feet were up above his head.
It's been chilly here this last week--it's been very chilly. We got some rain and a little bit of snow. People were putting in bulbs for next spring when the first flakes of snow fell. Just a little tiny sliver of moon up in the sky so it's going to be very, very dark for Halloween on Monday night.
The world has taken a turn towards the cold. The sun comes out but it's not warm anymore -- we've taken the big turn towards fall. People are wearing hats in Lake Wobegon. People are turning on their furnaces.
This was the week that the chill moved in and the big full moon up there Tuesday night. And then on Wednesday a big rain came pouring down and the wind blew and so a lot of the leaves came down. That red maple tree out in the front yard of the Lutheran Parsonage just almost was stripped of leaves.
It's been warm out there this week -- been up in the 80s, unusual for October. The trees are at their peak and everybody should've been happy. Of course, the old complainers who sit and nurse their coffee in the Chatterbox Cafe found a way to complain about it after all.
It's been cloudy. It's been chilly out there. The sun has come out now and then. And then on Thursday this powerful wind came up -- it was very dramatic. Some people lost phone service and weren't even aware of it at the time and leaves blew off some of the trees completely.
It's the week of the fall equinox, when we turn towards the darkness -- and we have this week. It's been chilly, it's been cloudy, and the sun -- less of it. The sun going down, people eating dinner by lamplight again and all sorts of odd things happening when the darkness comes on us.
It's the beginning of fall. It's been cool -- good sleeping weather when people crawl into bed at night. It's warm under the extra blanket if you're sleeping with somebody else and you tuck yourself into your little envelope on these cool fall nights.
For a while I grew up the son of a Swedish sharecropper in North Dakota and I got on a toboggan in January and there was a prevailing wind out of the northwest which blew me down to Minneapolis and it just seemed like too much effort to go back. And they didn't seem as if they would miss me anyway so I stayed here.
Fall is in the air. The last of the gardens being brought in--bumper crops of tomatoes. Irene Bunsen had the great satisfaction this week of walking out of her back gate, out of her garden, and across the alley, and down the way, and into the back gate of her brother-in-law Clarence Bunsen.
It's gotten very cold there this last week. The temperature's been highs in the 20s. Cold, bitterly cold weather. It's the kind of weather we're used to. The Northern Lights have been so beautiful--these tongues of green, tips of orange at night.
We've had snow out there. We had about a foot and a half of snow here this last week, which just sort of killed some people who are just tired of winter. But it snowed anyway, despite their objections.
We got a little snow out there this last week -- six inches, but we don't care. We're not shoveling. The shovel's been put away. The snowplow is parked in the garage; Bud is not going to bring it out. That snow, it's just going to have to melt on its own.
The tundra swans came in this week -- hundreds of them. Beautiful white birds came sailing in and landed on the lake. They spend the winter in North Carolina -- most of them -- and they're on their way up to their breeding grounds, which is in the Canadian arctic.
Clint Bunsen sneezed so hard he threw his back out and he had to miss work for the rest of the week. At the Sidetrack Tap Wally, behind the bar, sneezed with such force that he blew a cigar the whole length of the bar.
It was so hot, a real change of life for people in Lake Wobegon. It is too hot to work -- it just is. And how do you stop doing what you have been practicing to do all of your life?
It's been beautiful out there this last week. You know, here we are: the end of March, the beginning of April and suddenly it was getting warmer and warmer and the ice was off the lake and the redwing blackbirds were everywhere and the crocus was poking up and still there were people in Lake Wobegon who were saying, "Just you wait, we're gonna get more snow."
It's been cool up there, been a little bit rainy—but not nearly rainy enough—and so the lake level is still very, very low, which means there's an enormous expanse of beach there.
It's been hot and humid out there. Some people are sitting around limp in the face of their air conditioners with their arms wrapped around them and a lot of people are not so troubled by 105-degree heat.
It's been a little wet out there. We got plenty of rain here this last week and it was cool, if that's the sort of weather that you like. It was the summer solstice on Tuesday -- Tuesday around noon.
Perfect weather -- absolutely beautiful, perfect weather out there. The sort of weather that makes some of us with dark imaginations feel uneasy, as if something is just about to happen on a day so perfect as this.
The gardens are starting to come in now. The first little radishes are coming in. The first asparagus has been cut already -- a great delicacy.
It's been gorgeous, just like it is here today -- temperatures in the 70s and blue skies, the smell of lilacs in the air. It's just perfect, perfect days that two months ago we would have spent a king's ransom to go elsewhere to find.
It's been gorgeous, beautiful weather. The lilacs are in bloom now -- that clean, sweet smell of lilacs in the air, the smell of fresh-cut alfalfa as well.
It's been a cold spring. Tuesday morning here, the temperature was five above zero, which was the lowest low from that day in history and the high temperature was 13, which was the lowest high in history.
Spring, spring. Spring came in -- came in on Monday, came in with that gorgeous spring thunderstorm. You never get tired of these gorgeous spring thunderstorms.
It's been warm out there. We've seen the first butterflies. The first wood ticks have shown up. The daffodils are up. The crocuses are even starting to fade right now.
It's been chilly this last week and we got a little snow on Tuesday, snow after Easter--and Easter was late this year.
It was warm. The week started out warm and then we got some snow here on Tuesday and we just ignored it, of course -- as you would ignore an embarrassing relative.
The crocuses are up and the tulips are up, and then we got a little bit of snow overnight but nobody said a word about it.
It's been warm out there, and sunny. It's been up in the 60s -- not all week, of course.
We are happy it is warmer; it is beautiful to see green grass again.
It is spring; we had a little snow, 6 inches, but we are not going to clear it as the shovels have been put away.
We were hit by an enormous snowstorm on Thursday.
The snow has melted a great deal except for stubborn show that hangs out deep in the woods.
It has been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon. In anticipation of spring... we expect spring in April, but are always disappointed.
It is snowing again, despite people's objections.
The snow is melting and people are able to walk around town again.
We need snow this time of the year, everyone gets cranky during the month of February.
Our skin and politeness is becoming thin and crackling as the winter goes on.
School teacher Margie stays home under her quilts in a form of hybernation to escape the winter.
Danger and cold weather brings out humor in Lake Wobegon.
The slick roads in Lake Wobegon makes for some sudden introductions.
Pastor Liz tends to Mr Carny's final moments.
Four memorable Christmases.
Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility prepares for their annual Christmas pageant, minus the "slaughter of the innocents" from last year.
Lutheran's don't like to pretend to be happy, they would rather just stay home.
In Lake Wobegon, even a huge snowfall doesn't cancel events - most of which would bring more pleasure if they were cancelled.
Thanksgiving in Lake Wobegon brought fresh snow and a stream of exiles returning home.
33 years after embezzling $200K from the Lake Wobegon State Bank, 92 year old Myrtle Anderson wants to come back home.
Guy visits Saint Augustine where he is given a offer that is difficult to resist from Rupert Murdoch.
The first large snowfall of the year finds Lake Wobegon residents unprepared.
It's Halloween in Lake Wobegon, things get crazy, and we all learn a valuable lesson.
Recollections of a trip to Aunt Eva & Uncle Jack’s farm about chickens, sad songs and a 30 foot fall (in the buff) from the haymow.
Marilyn Tollerud decides not to go commercial with her famous pumpkin bread.
Pastor Liz makes her way around town and loses $200 bucks in the Side Track Tap.
The Lake Wobegon Leonards lose their big homecoming game and the folks in town react to fall and cooler weather settling in.
Clint and Irene Bunsen are away in Indiana, and the tomatoes in their yard are just perfect. But they won't last. So the folks in Lake Wobegon turn to pastor Liz for the right thing to do.
Dorothy at the Chatterbox Café is raising eyebrows with a new hairdo.
A review of summer vacations -- the historical low point of any good Lutheran's year.
Fall settles in around Lake Wobegon, which is a good thing, because we could only bear so much summer.
The wild grapes are ripe along the East side of the lake and the Schroeder's have set about making their wild grape wine.
The smell of freshly mowed grass becomes Proust's madeleine, conjuring up memories of young love on a summer afternoon.