(GK: Garrison Keillor, SS: Sue Scott, TK: Tom Keith, TR: Tim Russell)

GK: And now it's time for COMMUNICATION IN MINNESOTA..... (SUSTAINED CHORD).....people who move to Minnesota from other regions of the country enjoy our cuisine, our many church activities, our level terrain which gives us such good TV reception, but they're confused by the way Minnesotans communicate. So today we'll discuss different styles of accepting an invitation to a social event ---- Example No. 1. New York.



TR: Doris?

SS: Yeah?

TR: Doris, it's Sydney.

SS: Right. You think I don't know? Huh? Gimme a break. Whaddaya want?

TR: Doris, listen. I just got off the plane from Chicago --- and don't ask me what I was doing there, it was miserable, that's what I was doing, I was suffering--- anyway, I get off the plane and of course my bag doesn't come....and I stand there and I wait and wait and wait and no bag and meanwhile the office is paging me, I got customers stacking up, but I can't leave the bag there because it's got my floppy discs, and anyway, it comes finally, so I'm tearing out of the airport and of course the line for taxis is from here to Hoboken so I flag down a gypsy cab and tell him World Trade Center and he goes racing off through Brooklyn and next thing I know he runs head-on into a garbage truck and there's a big scene, yelling and waving their arms, so I take off on foot and I take the train and I get to the office but I'm having chest pains like crazy so I call my doctor and the secretary says, How about Tuesday, July 18th? And I say, You don't understand, I've got chest pains, so I head for the emergency room and I get there and after two hours a doc looks at me and says you're okay and I turn around to walk out and I fall over a guy in a wheelchair and I break my leg so I'm here at St. Vincent's and I can't come to Tiffany's graduation open house this weekend.

SS: Well, it's always something with you, isn't it, Sidney. Always some big drama. Nobody knows better than me. Twenty-two years of marriage, I learned never to expect you when you said you'd be there. Never.

TR: Listen, I'm lying in bed in agony and you've got to bring up our marriage?

SS: Never mind. You've broken our hearts so many times, they won't break anymore, Sidney!

TR: You want me to get an ambulance and come to the open house? Is that what you want?

SS: Don't go to any trouble for us, Sidney. We're nobody. We're dirt under your feet.

TR: You want me to come on a stretcher? Fine, I'll come on a stretcher! I'll be there.

SS: I'll believe it when I see it.

TR: I'll be there, except don't be surprised if I pass out from the pain, Doris!

SS: Don't tell me about pain! (SLAM PHONE)




SS (OTHER END): Peace and harmony.

TR: Hi. Chrysalis?

SS: Trent! I was just exchanging energy with you this very moment.

TR: I know. I just came back from my high colonic, and the minute I walked in the door, I got these very strong transference waves, as if you were in a very intense place right now.

SS: Yes! And I feel as if the waves are just coming faster and faster.

TR: That's how I felt after my colonic!

SS: I have this feeling of incredible centering right now. So I'm going to the desert, and find my meridians and be there----

TR: Exactly.

SS: ---and let the energy drive out all of my fears of selfhood---

TR: Of course.

SS: My psychic Arugula was right. She predicted that suddenly everything would come into clear focus.

TR: Wow. That's amazing.

SS: Like, really.

TR: Actually, I was calling about Tiffany's graduation open house.

SS: We're doing it online.

TR: Beautiful.

SS: We're gathering at her website.

TR: Cool.

SS: And instead of gifts, Tiffany hopes you'll make a donation to Save the Ahi Tuna.

TR: Beautiful.

SS: See you later.

TR: Shantih.


TR: And finally, accepting an invitation to a social event, example No. 3. Minnesota.


GK (OTHER END): Hello?

SS: Ron? Hi. It's Randy. Am I catching you at a bad time?

GK: No, this is fine.

SS: Are you sure? I can call back later----

GK: No, it's fine.

SS: You'd tell me if it wasn't, though, wouldn't you?

GK: It's fine. How are you?

SS: We're pretty good. How's Beth?

GK: She's okay. And the kids?

SS: Fine. Tiffany's all excited about high school graduation.

GK: Well, I can imagine. That's coming up pretty soon, isn't it.

SS: This weekend.

GK: You must be swamped.

SS: Oh, no. Just cleaning the house, getting a buffet dinner ready for a couple hundred people, making devilled eggs and ham salad and baking the bread and those little raspberry tarts and making the punch and everything---

GK: You're doing everything yourself?

SS: A person's daughter only graduates from high school once, you know.

GK: Well, that's true.

SS: And it's only once in awhile we manage to get the whole family together.

GK: Right.

SS: It just means so much to me to see you and Roger and Rachel and Bobby and Raymond, all of us there.

GK: Say, Randy?

SS: And Mom's going to be there, you know.

GK: No, I didn't know.

SS: She thinks it's the Fourth of July party in Casselton, N.D., in 1938. So we're going to set off fireworks and have a marching band. But she'll have a nice time.

GK: Right. Say, Randy?

SS: Anyway, I just called to see if you'd be willing to --- you know, make a little speech or something.

GK: Sure, of course, but----

SS: What is it?

GK: That's this weekend?

SS: Yes. Why?

GK: Nothing.

SS: What's wrong?

GK: Nothing.

SS: Tell me.

GK: It's nothing.

SS: You can't come, right?

GK: No. It's just that-- I guess I was thinking it was next weekend.

SS: No, it's this weekend.

GK: Uh huh. The 17th.

SS: So you can't come, I suppose.

GK: No, no. It's fine.

SS: It's a problem, isn't it. Oh, I just knew it.

GK; No, no. No problem.

SS: I knew something was going to go wrong. Oh boy. (BIG SIGH)

GK: It's fine. I just need to rearrange some things.

SS: You sure that's no problem?

GK: No problem.

SS: You'd tell me if it was, wouldn't you?

GK: Don't worry about it.

SS: I know, but you'd tell me if it was a problem.

GK: But it's not, not really. We just have to rebook our flights.

SS: Your flights!

GK: It's all right. Really.

SS: Where are you going?

GK: Never mind.

SS: Tell me.

GK: Don't worry about it.

SS: Ron, I want to know. Tell me what's happening.

GK: We're going to San Francisco.

SS: Oh no!

GK: I can work it out.

SS: I knew something like this would happen.

GK: It'll be okay.

SS: I knew it. Listen, don't worry about it. It's all right.

GK: No, really, I can do it.

SS: I'm sorry I bothered you.

GK: We'll be there.

SS: You're sure?

GK: Don't be silly. Of course. It's just our wedding anniversary Friday.


GK: It's no problem.


GK: Don't worry about it.

SS: JUNE 17TH. OF COURSE!!! You've been married how many years now? Twenty two?

GK: Twenty five.

SS: Your twenty fifth anniversary????

GK: We'll come back first thing Saturday morning.

SS: Ron, I can't let you do this.

GK: I'll just cancel the violinist and the hot air balloon.

SS: Please. Don't. It's too much.

GK: We'll be there, Randy. We want to be there.

SS: I can't let you do it. Cut short your anniversary trip---

GK: I've got to run now, Randy, but we'll be there----

SS: I can't let you.

GK: I've got to run. I'll talk to you later.

SS: You're probably in the midst of a meeting right now.

GK: I am, but it's okay.

SS: Oh my God. Please forgive me.

GK: It's okay.

SS: You're probably there with your boss and everybody just sitting there-----

GK: As a matter of fact, yes.

SS: Oh my god.

GK: Randy, it's okay.

SS: I could just go shoot myself.

GK: Randy, please.

SS: Ron, I'm sorry. I'll never bother you again.

GK: Randy, we'll be there. Can we bring anything?

SS: This is all my fault.

GK: Can we bring a pie?

SS: I'll never forgive myself.

GK: Beth makes wonderful banana cream pie. We'll take the redeye back from San Francisco, bake the pie, and we'll be there by two. Okay?

SS: Ron, I am so sorry about this.

GK: It's okay.

SS: I hate myself for this. Really.

GK: It's okay.

SS: And if it's not too much trouble---

GK: Yes?

SS: Could you stop on your way and pick up some strawberry pop?

GK: Of course.

SS: But only if it's not too much trouble.

GK: It's no trouble.

SS: But if it is, don't worry about it.

GK: See you Saturday.

SS: Thank you, Ron.

GK: You're welcome.

SS: You sure you don't mind?

GK: Not in the least.

SS: I can't believe I forgot it was your anniversary.

GK: It's no problem.

SS: I'm sorry.

GK: It's okay. It's okay. Randy, my boss is passing me a note right now--- excuse me----

SS: What is it, Ron? ----- Ron? -----What's wrong?

GK: It's okay.

SS: Something's wrong. I can tell.

GK: It's nothing.

SS: You've just been fired, haven't you?

GK: I have. Yes. But it's okay.

SS: Oh, Ron. I hate myself. I call you up and I take up your time and I make you cancel your trip to San Francisco and now you've been fired! And it's all my fault!

GK: It's okay. It's all for the best. And family comes first in my book. You know that. So anyway, Beth and I won't be going to San Francisco, so there's no problem.

SS: Are you sure?

GK: I'm sure.

SS: Really?

GK: Really.

SS: Ron?

GK: What?

SS: Could you get a case of lemon pop as well as the strawberry?

GK: Of course.

SS: But only if it's no trouble.

GK: It's no trouble.

SS: I can have Dave go pick it up.

GK: I can do it.

SS: Let me have Dave do it.

GK: No, we'll do it, Randy. It's no problem.

SS: I sure appreciate this.

GK: It's no problem. You take care.

SS: You too.

GK: Goodbye now.

SS: Bye now.



TR: This has been COMMUNICATION IN MINNESOTA....." Accepting an invitation to a social occasion...." presented as a service to visitors and guests. (MUSICAL BUTTON)

(c) 2000 by Garrison Keillor