(GK: Garrison Keillor; SS: Sue Scott; TR: Tim Russell; FN: Fred Newman)

(MUSIC) Over the river and through the woods,
And take a left at the fork.
Let's not go to Grandmother's house,
Let's head for New York.
Over the river across the bridge
To a fancy restaurant.
Slip him a fin and we'll get right in
And order whatever we want.
Over the river and through the woods
And let's go to Connecticut.
Where dinner's at eight on a Wedgwood plate
And the etiquette is veddy good.

And the waiter serves the lovely hors d'oeuvres
And a bottle of Pouilly-Fuisse.
And a plate of Malpeques of either sex
Hurray for Thanksgiving Day.
A lobster bisque and a plate of shellfish
And a salad and steak tartare
And Courvoisier and creme brulee
How very thankful we are.

GK: When I was a kid, I always wanted to spend Thanksgiving Day in New York because I knew how classy it must be. It is pretty swank, isn't it? How many of you here have a personal staff? Let's see a show of hands. Amazing. About two-thirds. Here's your thanks.

SS (ACTRESSLY): The flowers are exquisite, Phelps. Just exquisite. I'll await the guests in the library. And open the white Bordeaux, please.
FN (TEEN): Who's coming for dinner, Mom?

SS: We're having Mary and Dean Martin and Roy and Ginger Rogers and Esther and Tennessee Williams. And Broderick and Cindy Crawford.

FN (TEEN): Oh, wow.

SS: It's going to be absolutely exquisite.

GK: We never used the word "exquisite." Exhausted, yes. Ex-lax, sure. And we served no wine, because our bodies were temples of the Holy Spirit, and also you had to keep a clear head because blizzards came up suddenly (WOLVES) and you might have to go searching for relatives (SS: Elmer!!??? Gladys!!!??? Lois???!!!). You people had your dinner around a table of worldly sophisticates (ALL: LIGHT SOPHISTICATED LAUGHTER) and there was wine (POP CORK) and flaming dessert (POOF OF FLAME, ALL OOOOHH) and your relatives weren't like my relatives --- I had the aunt who sat and chuckled to herself (SS DEMENTED AUNT) and the uncle who sold insurance----(TR: How's your coverage for loss of limb and disfigurement? How about eyeball loss? What's the payment for that? Or for your ear being chewed off?)--- and the cousin who brought firearms to the table --- (FN: This is yer 20 caliber ---- CARTRIDGE SPINS ---- boy, this baby packs a punch. Put that cigarette in your mouth, Florence.) and the cousin who had visions --- (SS: Look! It's Saint Agnes! She's hovering over the Jello!) and the uncle who discussed his ailments (TR: Boy, I been coughing up phlegm like crazy ---- kind of yellowish, like egg yolk --- but with these big clots in it) --- whereas your relatives were college graduates (SS: I was reading Schopenhauer last week and there was the most extraordinary---SHE FADES---passage, let me see if I can remember it) and after dinner your Uncle Cuthbert got up and made an announcement ----

TR (ANCIENT): In this past fiscal year, your trust funds have grown by 18 percent and so I am pleased to announce that you may each purchase an additional vacation home. (CHEERING)

GK: Whereas out in our home on the frozen tundra, we just sat around the table and Daddy read a chapter from Jeremiah ---

TR: Verily, verily, sayeth the Lord, if thou shalt partake of the grape and eat of the flesh of that which liveth in a shell, the Lord's wrath shall come down on thee ---- or if thou shalt leave lights burning in rooms in which there are no occupants thereof, his judgement shall be harsh.

GK: And afterward we sat in the flickering lantern light and thought dark thoughts.

TR: I've often wondered, what if the Holsteins should go berserk and come after us in the night --- boy, they'd be through that door so fast --- cows coming up the stairs and we'd have to go out the bedroom windows and there'd be other demented cows out there and they'd stomp us to bloody ribbons in no time flat.

SS: I'd like to maybe go to town tomorrow, if I'm still alive, and if I'm not, could you remember to go to town and visit grandma and grandpa's grave and stand there and cry for a while? Would you do that for me?

GK: They were dark people. Your people were people of wit and merriment who knew how to have fun----


GK: My people were not like that. They were dark. A feast day of thanksgiving, but not my people----

SS: The gravy doesn't taste right to me. I wonder if it could be smallpox.

GK: So that's why our show is in New York today, so we can bask in some of that reflected elegance of our wealthy audience who came in from Westchester and Greenwich and Fairfield and Montclair for our show today and just a reminder to you that it takes a few minutes after the show for the band and the cast and I to bring your cars up from the garage to the curb, so thank you for your patience----(MUSIC)

Over the river and through the woods,
And take a left at the fork.
Let's not go to Grandmother's house,
Let's head for New York.
Where the waiter serves the lovely hors d'oeuvres
A delicate turkey souffle
And the caviar and the steak tartare
Hurray for Thanksgiving Day.

© Garrison Keillor 2002