The Midwest Comes South: An Evening with Garrison Keillor


Garrison Keillor is best known for his Prairie Home Companion, but he occasionally goes on the road without his entourage.  Even solo, he is quite the entertainer.

Keillor stopped n Houston on Wednesday, January 27th, and he spent a wonderful two hours discussing his background, his career, and all the while telling wonderful stories, singing the occasional song, and telling jokes.

Although Keillor has written for The New Yorker, he is best known for his midwestern musings, discussing the qualities that make up middle America: religion, literature, and family life.  Central to his stories is “Lake Wobegon,” a fictional place where all the women are strong, the men are good-looking, and the kids are above average.”

Among his songs, jokes and tales, our favorites:

  • Song: The Ballad of Sergeant Musgrave
  • Jokes:
    • Where do you find a dog with no legs?  Right where you left him.
  • Tales: Several tales, really, involving his aunts and uncles.  The wedding tale involved a duck decoy that doubled as a duck-blind; a naked para-sailor; a poorly-dressed lover named Raul; Babe Ruth’s last home-run ball; and a car wreck by the prospective bride and groom.

Keillor closed the evening to the strains of “Red River Valley” and “Goodnight Irene.”

Following the event, Keillor signed books and other memorabilia.  He spent much time with individuals.  Rather than have the line come to him, he would sign and then move himself to the next person, even going up the stairs of Jones Hall.


To Ryan Brim, who is in a quest for the right college, Keillor offered: “You’ll never need math.”  Following a couple of minutes of conversation, Keillor signed Ryan’s book, “Lighten up, Ryan.”




Author: mikeyawn

Mike Yawn teaches at Sam Houston State University. In the past few years, he has taught courses on Politics & Film, Public Policy, the Presidency, Media & Politics, Congress, Statistics, Research & Writing, Field Research, and Public Opinion. He has published academic papers in the Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Social Security Quarterly, Film & History, American Politics Review, and contributed a chapter to the textbook Politics and Film. He also contributes columns, news analysis, and news stories to newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Time, Huron Daily Tribune, Laredo Morning Times, Beaumont Enterprise, Connecticut Post, and Midland Reporter Telegram. Yawn is also active in his local community, serving on the board of directors of the local YMCA and Friends of the Wynne. Previously, he served on the Huntsville's Promise and Stan Musial World Series Boards of Directors. In 2007-2008, Yawn was one of eight scholars across the nation named as a Carnegie Civic Engagement Scholar by the Carnegie Foundation.

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