(GK: Garrison Keillor, SS: Sue Scott, TK: Tom Keith, TR: Tim Russell, RD: Rich Dworsky)
In Minnesota (2)
Where I will live til I die
And then I'll go t'(2)
Paradise in the sky.
And if I run into you, I'll sure be amazed.
To see Norwegians in heaven--- God's mercy be praised.
Will there be snow there (2)
Way up beyond the stars
And when we go there (2)
Will there be coffee like ours?
I only hope there is soup and crackers, and please--
You know it couldn't be heaven if there was no cheese.
It was a beautiful snowstorm and it left big drifts of fresh white snow in the yards and a cushion of snow in the streets so the cars whispered past (SFX), and the children shoveled the snow off the rink and skated counterclockwise and played pom-pom-pullaway and Crack The Whip except for one boy, who stopped skating and stood staring at the old pump beside the warming house and remembered what his dear old mother had told him when he left the house, she said:
My boy, you must never never put your tongue on the pump handle --- you must never do it or your tongue will freeze to it, and all sorts of bad things will happen. Promise me that you won't put your tongue on the pump handle.
TR: HENRY I'm in sort of a big hurry, Mom!
SS: MOTHER Please! Promise me, my boy!
TR: HENRY Bye. See you later!
And now, looking at the pump handle in the freezing cold, he was terribly tempted to do it. There was no reason to do it, except his mother had told him not to, and once a person gets something in his mind it's hard to stop thinking about it and so----
Well, here goes. (SPLAT, BOY'S UH-OH. HENRY TONGUE-TIED SOUNDS) And a girl named Karen was the first to see him.
Somebody has his tongue frozen to the pump handle! Call 911!
TR: HENRY (TONGUE TIED)
Thank you. I appreciate that.
She stood with her arm around him, weeping. She had a tender heart and he looked so sad bent over with his tongue frozen to the cold iron.
Here comes the fire truck.
We are the firemen, we are the firemen
We are the men of Engine Company One.
We rescue cats and ladies in labor,
We rescue children stuck to pumps with their tongue.
We put out fires, seegars and candles
We hasten to the rescue when the bell is rung
We rescue foolish people from bathtubs
We rescue kids who are caught by the tongue.
(PURPOSEFUL GUYS TALKING) The firemen put a tent over Henry and warmed the pump with a blowtorch until his tongue came free, and they took him to the emergency room where they put tongue lotion on (SQUISHES) and also gave him an I.Q. test.
He appears to be above average, actually.
And they sent him home. But his mother noticed that he wasn't quite the same boy.
There's a black mark on the tip of your tongue.
Oh yeah? Well, who cares? Nyaaa-nyaaa-nyaaa.
SS: MOTHER Henry! You can't stick out your tongue at your mother!
Oh yeah? Just try to stop me!! He wasn't nearly as nice as he had been. He wasn't nice at all.
Where'd you get that haircut, Mom? At the dog show? You're so ugly you'd scare a buzzard off a garbage wagon. Heh heh heh. If my dog looked like that, I'd shave his butt and walk him backwards.
Oh Henry, how can you be so cruel?
What a jerk.
You're so ugly, they ought to hold Halloween on your birthday, Mom. You walk into a bank, they turn off the cameras. You entered the ugly contest, they said, "Sorry, no professionals." Heh heh heh heh.
He used to be such a good kid. And now?
A complete jerk!
Everyone in town avoided him. Nobody wanted to be with him.
It's all the fault of the schools.
They don't teach values anymore.
But it wasn't true. It was caused by putting his tongue on the pump handle.
That night, at midnight, Henry awoke, hearing a car outside. (LIMO SLOWS AND STOPS) He looked out and saw a long white car and next to it a beautiful woman in a white dress that sparkled as if it were made of ice. She was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen except in movies.
Come, my darling. We'll go for a ride And see my beautiful countryside.
Get away from the window, Henry.
She had icy blue eyes and her lips glittered.
I am the Queen of Ice and Snow
Across the frozen lands I go
And what I say, it shall be so. ---Come.
It really is not a good idea to listen to someone whose body temperature is below zero, Henry.
Maybe I should ask my mother...
Let your mother have her rest. Obey your Queen, I know what's best.
And she raised her hand and threw a shower of snowflakes that glittered like diamonds. He had never seen anyone do this before.
He opened the door and stepped out in his pajamas, and the moment he felt the Snow Queen's icy cold hand on his shoulder (TR SHIVERS), he knew he shouldn't have come. He tried to pray, but he couldn't. All he could do was say his multiplication tables over and over.
Go back inside, Henry.
Don't be afraid. It's only ice.
I'm taking you to paradise,
Far north of here, beyond Duluth,
Where you shall have eternal youth.
You shall be forever hip,
You'll never slump or sag or slip.
Old age shall never touch your brow.
You'll always be as you are now.
Not like your father, that old fool---
You, Henry, are forever cool.
Go back in the house, Henry.
If he goes back in the house--- there is no story!
Good point. ---Go for it, kid!
So Henry got into the long white car and the snowman who was at the wheel turned and grinned and winked his coal-black eye----
Hang onto your hat, kid. Next stop--- North Pole. (LAUGHTER)
And he drove the limo up into the air (SFX) and over the snowy lands and Henry dozed off and when he awoke, they were at the Snow Queen's castle which stood majestic on a mountain, glittering in the moonlight, and he was so tired, he lay down on a bed of ice and he fell fast asleep and he dreamed that women in white uniforms were putting ice packs on his head.
Ice will keep away disease,
And germs --- you won't have any.
Notice how your troubles cease
Whene'er it's minus twenty.
Woe is he who gets too hot,
He will likely go to rot,
Ice, have some, I have plenty.
Henry's family searched for him (TK & TR: Henry!! Henry???) and the police brought out their bloodhounds (DOGS BAYING) and there was no sign of him at all. Karen looked for him. (SS: Henry!! Henry???) The police said that probably he had drowned in the river. And they called off the search.
But we can't just forget about the whole thing. Sure, he was a jerk, but he was a person----
She was a girl with a tender heart. Sometimes at night, she lay in bed and wept for people she had read about in the newspaper, people in far-off countries, victims of distant earthquakes, plane wrecks, famines. And now she wept for a boy whom she hardly knew who had disappeared. She missed him. But she couldn't tell anybody she knew, so she told the birds.
He was a person. He had some good in him.
CHORUS OF BIRDS
Somehow I can't believe he's dead.
He's not! (BIRD CLAMOR)
No, he's alive.
But where did he go?
I must go look for him.
Karen knew that the old man who lived across the alley was a truckdriver who drove his big semi north. He was grizzled and gruff and he growled and he smoked cigars that smelled like burning tires but she knocked at his door and he opened it.
Yeah? What you want, kid? If you're selling Girl Scout cookies, I ain't interested. Unless you got some with chewing tobacco in em. Ha ha ha ha.
I need a ride, north, Mister. I'm looking for my friend, Henry.
Henry the rotten kid with the smart mouth?
Forget him. He's no good. He was mean to his own mother.
Some people say you're mean.
TR: TRUCKER Me?
But I don't believe them. I think that people are mostly good at heart. I think that good people aren't as good as we think and bad people aren't as bad. There's a lot of both in everybody. Please. Give me a ride.
Okay. Tomorrow morning, kid. That night, she wrote a note to her parents:
I'm going away to look for Henry.
Are you sure?
I don't think a person should be allowed to just vanish.
I'll be careful.
Take your down underwear.
And she walked up the alley to where the truck was waiting (TRUCK IDLING). She climbed up into the cab, which was full of smoke (SS COUGHS), and the old trucker headed north and she watched the countryside pass by, until she fell asleep and when she awoke they were out on the tundra, a flat treeless plain, and there the trucker pulled into a truckstop called Big Betty's.
This is as far as I go, kid. But Betty's a pal of mine and she'll take care of you. Good luck.
Big Betty was five feet tall and five feet across. She wore a Green Bay Packers sweatshirt and a cap that said, "Don't tell me about it."
TR: BIG BETTY
Where've you been? You said you'd be here at five and here it is six-thirty. Get an apron on! And get in that kitchen and start cooking, girl!
But I can't cook.
TR: BIG BETTY
Neither can anybody else. Just get in there and do it.
What sort of food do you serve?
Pancakes, waffles, western omelet
Sausage on the side,
Ham and bacon, too --- yes, sir,
We got eggs: would you prefer
Boiled hard or boiled soft,
Scrambled, poached, or fried?
Would you care for juice with that?
Large or medium size?
We got orange or grapefruit.
Sorry but no substitutes.
And potatoes are included:
Hash browns, cottage fries?
So Karen tried and though she did burn the hash browns (SS: Sorry!) and she did overcook the steaks a little (SS: Sorry!) and she did drop two big platters of scrambled (MAJOR CRASH AND BREAKAGE), nonetheless everybody got fed.
TR: BIG BETTY
Good job. Appreciate it, kid.
Sorry about the eggs I dropped on the floor.
TR: BIG BETTY
No prob. I served em up anyway. They liked it. They thought the hairballs were croutons.
Yucchhhhh. That's disgusting!
TR: BIG BETTY
Hey, it's winter. These guys'd eat a bale of hay if you put some melted cheese on it. Speaking of that, it's almost time for lunch.
What's for lunch?
Roast beef sandwich with potatoes,
They say it's pretty fine.
Soup is chicken rice today.
And we have the fish filet
The barbecue is lovely too
For a dollar ninety-nine.
Excuse me. Would you mind fixing me an omelet?
Karen looked down at the end of the counter and there was a beautiful dog sitting on a stool.
Actually we're on the lunch menu now, sir.
You couldn't make me an omelet with kibble? And raw hamburger?
Sure. What the heck. You're the first talking dog I ever met.
Do I have an accent?
You speak very clearly. I can understand every word.
You're not just saying that?
No, you speak better than a lot of people I know.
So she made him an omelet and she told him about Henry and how he had put his tongue on the pump handle and how he disappeared.
I came north to look for him but I wonder if he isn't dead.
I'll go and ask the roses. They've been in the ground. They know. And a moment later, the dog came back.
The roses say no. They've checked. He's not there.
I must go look for him.
If you're searching for someone, you really ought to take a good dog along.
So Karen and the dog walked up the road, and walked all day, and sat under a tree to rest.
I am so hungry.
And just then a crow flew down from the tree and dropped some bread crumbs at her feet.
It's white bread, but you're welcome to it.
You wouldn't have whole wheat or seven grain, would you?
I don't. Sorry. How come you folks are this far north?
I'm looking for a boy named Henry who came this way a few weeks ago. Have you seen him?
You don't happen to speak Crow, do you? It'd be so much easier to explain this in Crow. English is very hard for someone with a beak.
I'm sorry. I never learned Crow. Did you see him?
It's hard for me to say (CAW) in English.
What does (CAW) mean?
That's not what I said at all. I didn't say (CAW), I said (CAW)....
Sorry. What does--- what you said--- what does that mean?
It means that your friend came by here in a white limousine with the Queen of the Snow.
You can say all that with one (CAW)?
I didn't say (CAW). I said (CAW). What you said --- that has to do with stock prices --- entirely different, entirely different---
You saw Henry? Was he in his pajamas?
What is "pajamas"? Is that an insult?
No, you're thinking of "pejorative". Pajamas are what you wear at night.
Yes!! He went that way!!
And the crow pulled out a feather from each of his wings and gave one to Karen and one to the dog.
These are magical feathers. Hold onto them and you can fly. I think.
Karen held the crow feather in her hand and jumped in the air to fly away and she crashed to the ground. (SFX, SS CRY)
Not working, eh? Darn. Well, how about that car over there? I can start it for you.
Steal a car?
You can't walk. And it belongs to the Snow Queen.
Let's take it. Come on.
I guess. Stealing a car from a frigid person isn't the worst thing.
(CAR START, CROW CAWS)
Goodbye! (CAR ACCEL) You steer and I'll put my foot on the gas.
Who'll step on the brake?
We're not going to stop!
They drove north, toward the mountains. Soon there was snow all around them, and then you couldn't see the road at all, it was all snow, and the wind blew (SFX) and wolves and bears stood along the road and snarled at them (SFX) and on and on they drove (CAR), up a glacier, toward the highest mountain peak.
It's good this car has snow tires.
Whatever you do, don't stop.
They were getting higher and higher and they came around a bend and there was a bear sitting in the middle of the road. (CAR SLOW AND STOP) Karen put her head out the window.
Could you please move aside and let us pass?
Hmmmph. You're not the boss of me. I am a baron. I am the Baron de Mountain.
Please, Baron de Mountain. Please move.
Hmmmphhhh. People! They're so self-centered.
And he lumbered away (TR GRUMBLING). And they drove on. (CAR) Now the road was all ice and it wound among the rocks and boulders and now Karen began to worry.
If Henry is a prisoner of the Snow Queen, what can I do? I'm only a kid. I have no power.
You have a lot of power. You have a pure heart.
I'm not even a friend of his, I only think that nobody should just disappear like that.
I wish I were a braver dog so I could be a help to you.
You are extremely brave. And that very moment, she saw the ice castle on the mountain top. The dog took his foot off the gas and the car stopped. (CAR SFX) She bowed her head and said a prayer.
Our father in the night
Who comforts us in darkness
When fearful things appear
And evil comes to harm us.
Oh smile on us, we pray,
Your loving voice be heard,
And watch your children alway
According to your word.
And she marched up the rocks toward the Snow Queen's castle. In front was a immense snow sculpture of a woman on a horse and rising up a hundred feet in the air two towers of ice with turrets and battlements. The walls of the palace were clear ice and you could see, through the walls, the vast rooms inside, flaming torches on the walls, ice chairs and tables. Above the palace, the Northern Lights danced in the sky.
I should have brought my camera---
And then she saw the Snow Queen on her throne and Henry at her feet, looking quite blue. Karen crept closer.
Tonight, my dear, I shall take wings
And fly to Miami and Palm Springs,
And Tampa --- places people go t'
To get away from Minnesota,
Escape the January freeze
And do exactly as they please,
Pick the oranges off the trees,
Play tennis, sit beside the ocean
And smear on quarts of tanning lotion.
People from Fargo and Cloquet,
Pequot Lakes and Thunder Bay,
What makes them think they can get away?
I'll lay some frost and sleet
Around those tanned bare feet
And their beach blanket and barbecue grill,
And let them chill,
Let them share in the winter sorrow.
You stay here, darling.
I'll be back tomorrow.
My snow sculpture --- don't disturb it.
And I'll bring you back some orange sherbet.
And she laughed (A HIDEOUS LAUGH) and flew out the door (SS FADING: Au revoir!) and up into the sky and immediately it turned dark and snow began to fall. Karen dashed into the ice palace and ran to Henry and threw her arms round his neck, and hugged him.
Oh Henry! I found you.
He looked at her. His eyes were icy. His hand was bitterly cold. He moved his mouth as if to speak and nothing came out. She held his head in her hands and wept hot tears (SS WEEPING), and the tears fell on him (BRIGHT NOTES) and ran down his face (SFX), and two tears trickled into his mouth and touched his tongue (BRIGHT NOTE), and he smiled.
And she helped him out of the ice palace and down the hill to the car where the dog sat behind the wheel. He had found a cap and put it on and looked very important. They sat in back, and the dog released the brake, and the car coasted down the hill and onto the snowy road and through the trees......
You know why I put my tongue on that pump handle?
It was because of my grandma.
What about your grandma?
It's a long story.
CHORUS (Gubben Noach)
That's where I was born,
Grew up on a dairy farm
Fifty Holsteins in the barn
Frozen fingers, frozen fingers
But our hearts were warm.
Every winter there were blizzards
We got lots of snow,
By the time the roads were cleared
Lots of folks had disappeared
Lost my grandma, lost my grandma
Many years ago.
Then we found her in Las Vegas
In the girlie shows.
She looked younger than her age
Go-go dancing on the stage
Grandma wasn't, Grandma wasn't
Wearing many clothes.
Grandma said, "Good evening, darling,
Welcome to the sun.
Winter's much too cold for me,
So is your theology,
I'm a Buddhist and a nudist
Grandma's happy in Nevada
So we left her there.
I'm still milking fifty cows,
Mama's taking all the bows,
She's a dancer,
I'm a rancher,
Life is sure unfair.
And that's why you put your tongue on the pump handle?
I was desperate.
You didn't know your tongue would freeze?
I thought I'd get lucky.
It is too darn cold.
Put my mouth up to the pump,
Thought I'd be like Donald Trump,
I'd get lucky, I'd get lucky,
Pockets full of gold.
And instead you wound up with the Snow Queen.
No, I wound up with you. And that's what I call real luck.
You want me to keep driving?
And the car kept rolling south and then trees with green leaves and soon there were birds singing and then the car slowed down because they were on flat land and then they could smell the rich smell of dirt and fields being plowed and it was spring and they looked at each other and they were no longer children, they were a young man and a young woman.
What an incredible trip.
Actually, I don't remember a thing about what happened.
I'll tell you someday.
I always dreamed I'd be in a car with a beautiful woman.
And here you are.
Is this what people call "falling in love"?
How would I know? I never was in love before.
I think I'm falling in love right now.
Are you sure?
Absolutely. When you've been frozen, and you thaw out, then you know.
Well, if you're falling in love, I must be too. Why else would I go out searching for you?
Then I guess we're in love.
What about me?
You keep driving. And don't look in the mirror.
I love you.
I was waiting for you to say it.
I really do.
That's good. I love you.
And that's amore (2)
Wherever you go.
And that's the story (2)
Of the Queen of the Snow.
So viva l'amour and try not to freeze
Don't put your tongue on a pump handle,
I'm begging you please.
We are a chorus (2),
A vocal elite,
And they adore us (2)
All the critics we meet.
But no matter how glowing our latest review,
We never lick pump handles and neither should you.
For our brilliance (2)
In our choral career,
We have earned millions (2)
Of dollars a year.
But when we fly to Paris or Rome to perform,
We stay away from pump handles even if they are warm.
We burn candles (2)
And we sing Handel's
Messiah of course.
And when we go skiing we go off the high jump,
But we never put our tongues on the handle of a pump.
(c) 2000 by Garrison Keillor