(GK: Garrison Keillor; SS: Sue Scott; TR: Tim Russell; TK: Tom Keith; RD: Richard Dworsky)

GK: --after a message from the Catchup Advisory Board.


TR: These are the good years for me and Barb. Our church choir recorded a CD called "Songs of Becoming," and we've bought fifteen copies for $3 apiece and that pretty well takes care of all the people on our Christmas list who we don't like very much. The side air bags on our new station wagon inflated when we closed the doors and shook us up and a lawyer came around from the manufacturer with a settlement and now it looks like we'll be able to repave the driveway. The kids are still in their treatment programs and they don't call that often and whenever they do they hardly ever shriek at us anymore. We should have been happy. Then one evening I found Barb sitting out on the deck at our old redwood picnic table, crying. - Honey, what's wrong?

SS: (WEEPY) Oh, Jim. Tomorrow they deliver our new patio furniture. And we'll have to say goodbye to our old picnic table. (BLOWS NOSE) Do you realize how long we've had this? Practically our entire marriage.

TR: It's half rotten away, Barb. It smells of grape soda and rancid animal fats. It's a breeding ground for disease. We can't eat at it anymore because it makes us nauseous.

SS: But we had so many good times at this table. Our babies sat at this table.

TR: They wore diapers, too, but we didn't save those, did we?

SS: We ate all our meals out here when we had that gas leak. Remember that? And that surprise party for your 50th? With that cake in the shape of a big hearing aid? .

TR: Right. We've been blessed with humorous friends.

SS: Jim, how can we let this picnic table go to a landfill? This table is our life! So many celebrations! We ate here after Jim, Jr. got out of prison! Remember?

TR: Barb, change is what renews us. You know that.

SS: That sounds like something you heard in a sermon----

TR: I mean it. Change means renewal.

SS: That substitute minister who filled in for Rev. Hanley when he was recovering from his vasectomy. Wasn't that it?

TR: Maybe it was in Readers Digest.

SS: I hope Rev. Hanley's urologist didn't tell him that change is renewal.

TR: Barb, this is the table where we learned to appreciate ketchup with all of its natural mellowing agents, and now the table is going, but we'll always have ketchup to keep the memories warm and fresh.

SS: Oh Jim.

RD: These are the good years, the surf against the coast,
The sunbathers shining, the seagull on the post,
Life is flowing, like ketchup on French toast

GK: Ketchup-- for the good times.

RD: Ketchup-- ketchup--.

© Garrison Keillor 2002