(GK: Garrison Keillor, TR: Tim Russell, SS: Sue Scott, TK: Tom Keith)
GK: It's the flood season in Minnesota and the Red River has been very high from Fargo-Moorhead on north. We're on the line with Mrs. DeeAnna Brower from Grafton--- Mrs. Brower? Are you there?
SS (ON PHONE): Right here. In my house. Can't go anywhere. We're surrounded by water.
GK: Are you alone there?
SS (ON PHONE): No, I've got Rex here. (DOG BARK)
GK: That's Rex?
SS (ON PHONE): That's Rex. It's just him and me ---- I don't know where Arlen is ---- said he was going to town.
GK: Arlen is your husband?
SS (ON PHONE): You might say that, yes.
GK: And whereabouts are you exactly, Mrs. Brower?
SS (ON PHONE): Hard to tell. Looks like we're about a mile north of the Olsons.
GK: You don't know?
SS (ON PHONE): Well, the house came loose from the foundation and we've been afloat since about noon.
GK: Your house is floating?
SS (ON PHONE): Either that or these hot flashes are making me hallucinate.
GK: I take it you're on a cellphone?
SS (ON PHONE): No, it's a regular phone. But our phone service comes from north of here, and that's the direction we're headed so we should be good for awhile unless the phone line gets snagged on a tree.
GK: Are you okay?
SS (ON PHONE): I've been better, but it could be worse. At least we're riding upright. Thanks to the Bibles.
GK: The Bible is keeping you upright?
SS (ON PHONE): We've got about a hundred cases of Bibles here. Some faith-based relief organization left em, and I've been using em for ballast.
GK: Do you have food to eat, Mrs. Brower?
SS (ON PHONE): I called up Steve's Pizza in Grafton and ordered the 16-inch pepperoni with extra cheese and onions and they said thirty minutes and that was when the house floated away.
GK: How about your livestock, Mrs. Brower? Did they get to dry ground?
SS (ON PHONE): I don't think so, no.
GK: You think they're lost?
SS (ON PHONE): Well, this was a fish farm, you know. Yeah, Arlen sold off the cattle in '97 and put in ponds and we've been raising trout ever since. Four years we've been fish farmers.
GK: So what happened to them?
SS (ON PHONE): Well, the ponds are underwater, so I imagine the trout are out there somewhere.
GK: What kind of trout are they?
SS (ON PHONE): Blackened. They're blackened trout.
GK: I see. How many blackened trout did you lose, Mrs. Brower?
SS (ON PHONE): About a hundred thousand. Whole herd of them.
GK: Well, you have our sympathies, Mrs. Brower.
SS (ON PHONE): Oh, that's all right. I didn't care that much for the fish anyway. Anyway, you know what they say, every cloud has a silver lining.
GK: What's the silver lining, Mrs. Brower?
SS (ON PHONE): Well, I've been trying to get out of Grafton for the past twenty years, so---- it looks like we finally moved.
GK: You didn't care for Grafton?
SS (ON PHONE): You get tired of everybody else sticking their nose in your business and everybody talking about you. This flood is the first real privacy I've had in years.
GK: Is anybody making an attempt to rescue you, Mrs. Brower?
SS (ON PHONE): They better not try, is all I can say.
GK: You don't care to be rescued?
SS (ON PHONE): I'm hoping to see Canada, unless the waters recede.
GK: What are you planning to do in Canada?
SS (ON PHONE): Oh, I donno. Probably we'd just walk around and see the sights.
GK: You and Arlen?
SS (ON PHONE): No, me and Melvin.
GK: Who's Melvin, Mrs. Brower?
SS (ON PHONE): He's our pastor in Grafton. Pastor Mel Larson.
GK: And he's there with you in the house?
SS (ON PHONE): Yeah. Come over to see if we were okay, and I offered him coffee and pie, and next thing we knew the house started moving down the river.
GK: I see. So what are you doing now?
SS (ON PHONE): I don't see that it's any of your business, but if you really want to know, we're playing gin rummy and drinking brandy and 7UP and I'm about to go upstairs and put on my beaded dress.
GK: You're kidding me, right, Mrs. Brower?
SS (ON PHONE): You want to talk to him? I'll put him on the line. Just a sec.
TR (ON PHONE): Yeah?
GK: Pastor Larson?
TR (ON PHONE): Who is this?
GK: It's Carson Wyler from the Home on the Prairie Show, Pastor Larson.
TR (ON PHONE): Who gave you this number?
GK: We got it out of the phone book.
TR (ON PHONE): How'd you know I was here?
GK: Mrs. Brower told us.
TR (ON PHONE): Just now?
GK: It's okay, Pastor Larson, we're only calling about the flood. We didn't mean to pry.
TR (ON PHONE): This isn't going out on the radio right now, is it?
GK: Actually, it is.
TR (ON PHONE): Right now? We're on the air now?
GK: Yes, sir.
TR (ON PHONE): Can I say hello to my family?
GK: If you'd like.
TR (ON PHONE): Jeannette? This is Mel. Hope you and the kids are okay. I'm all right. I was on my way to the Good Shepherd Home like I told you ---- going over there for devotions ---- and then I thought I'd check on Arlen and Deanna and Deanna was all alone and I figured I better wait until Arlen came home and that was when the house started moving. We were in the kitchen at the time, having coffee, and I saw the barn go by, and anyway I'll be home as soon as I can. So you take care. Bye now.
GK: Is Deanna there, Pastor?
SS (ON PHONE): I'm upstairs. I picked up the extension.
GK: You putting your beaded dress on?
SS (ON PHONE): I got it about ten years ago. The last time Arlen took me dancing.
GK: Is it pretty sexy looking?
SS (ON PHONE): We'll know in a few minutes, won't we.
GK: This flood has kind of set something loose in you, it sounds like.
SS (ON PHONE): I never been so excited in my life.
GK: How's that, Mrs. Brower?
SS (ON PHONE): You never met Arlen, did you----
GK: No, I didn't.
SS (ON PHONE): Well, Arlen is not what you'd call a big talker. Good eater, but not much for talking. And right around 8 or 8:30, he's starting to look forward to hitting the hay. Last time Arlen made it past eleven was the time he had kidney stones.
GK: So it's kind of a party atmosphere there, right now?
SS (ON PHONE): Well, I wouldn't go that far. Pastor Larson is Lutheran, you know. But he sort of enjoyed that first glass of brandy and he started singing "We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder" and --- he told me that maybe the flood was all part of God's plan and here we were, the two of us, in the Ark.
GK: You want me to call the sheriff or the National Guard or someone who could try to rescue you, Mrs. Brower?
SS (ON PHONE): Well, I think I'll just wait and see how it goes.
SS (ON PHONE): How's everything down there in the Cities?
GK: It's fine, thank you.
SS (ON PHONE): You staying dry and everything?
GK: We're just fine.
SS (ON PHONE): Okay, well, it's been good talking to you.
GK: Good talking to you.
SS (ON PHONE): You take care now.
GK: Okay. You too.
SS (ON PHONE): I sure will. You come up and see us sometime---
GK: I'll do that.
SS (ON PHONE): I mean it. We'd love to see you.
GK: Okay. Bye now.
SS (ON PHONE): Bye now.
GK: Deanna Brower, from somewhere on the Red River, heading north for Canada.
(c) 2001 by Garrison Keillor