(GK: Garrison Keillor, SS: Sue Scott, TK: Tom Keith, TR: Tim Russell, RD: Rich Dworsky)
----brought to you by the Ketchup Advisory Board.
TR: These are the good years for Barb and me. The kids have joined a cult out west somewhere and they're in brainwashing and can't use a phone so they don't call us up anymore and tell us how we ruined their lives. Our neighbors moved away, the ones with the four German shepherds, and two old people moved in who go to bed every night about nine. We found a terrific cleaning lady who doesn't speak much English and has no idea about minimum wage. We give her $1.50 a week and a roll of aluminum foil and she's happy. We've been walking three days a week and watching our weight, and both of us look better than we have in years. And yet, the other night I found Barb sitting up in bed and writing a poem ---Barb? What's wrong?
SS: Oh, I don't know. Just in that mood, I guess.
TR: But writing poetry? Why? You're happy.
SS: Jim---- remember yesterday morning when I saw the ad for a facial and beauty treatment and hair restyling?
TR: Right. Why don't you get one?
SS: I did, Jim. This morning.
TR: Oh. Well, I sort of thought there was something----
SS: Jim, we've become strangers to each other. Do you even look at me?
TR: You had a beauty treatment?
SS: Jim----- this violet eye-liner? The orange hair?
SS: Listen ------
"This sleeping form
That keeps my feet warm
Who is he?
Does he know me?
The me inside
That cried and cried
That day the music died
And I stood by the riverside
And the river stretched a mile wide.
And neither have I wings to fly,
But I shall row. At least, I'll try.
TR: (BEAT) Is that the end? It sounded like it might be. Hard to tell sometimes.
SS: It's a poem, Jim. It's about me. About us.
SS: Do you think I have talent? Do you?
TR: Sure. Of course you do.
SS: People have always told me I had talent. So many people over the years. They've said, "Barb, you ought to write down those things you say. You really should." And I never did. But now I think I will.
TR: That's great.
SS: Tell me. Do I mean anything to you, Jim? Or am I just some vaguely comforting presence that you like having around? Like having the radio playing in the next room? Is that all I am?
TR: Hey, come on----
SS: We've been married for twenty-four years, Jim? Do you even know who I am??
TR: Well, of course----
SS: We hardly ever talk, unless it's something about the house or the car. But if the phone rings and it's some young woman from work, suddenly you turn into Bill Moyers. You get all warm and philosophical.
TR: Heck, Barb. Sure. I guess I take you for granted sometimes, just like I take ketchup for granted, but I don't know what I'd ever do without you.
SS: Do you mean that, Jim?
TR: I do. Just like ketchup contains natural mellowing agents that help folks over the rough spots, you have --- poetry in you that---- that makes me happy. You're a basic condiment in the cupboard of my heart.
SS: Oh, Jim---RD:
A new day is dawning, so rich and complex,
A new ship is sailing, with new wood on her decks,
A new love, like ketchup on your scrambled eggs.
GK: Ketchup. For the good times.
(c) 2000 by Garrison Keillor