Oh we got the New Year's party in Lake Wobegon today
Everybody's hair is combed, though it is thin and gray
And the ones who are not speaking they came anyway
And because they heard that Gladys made the meatballs.

There was Clarence Peterson and Hjalmar Peterson and Esther
Peterson and Lois Peterson
And Carl Peterson and Laura Peterson and Pete Peterson he was
there too.
There is knackebrod and herring, sardines and anchovies
Pickles of many kinds and a horrible old cheese
And an old Icelandic aquavit that tastes like antifreeze,
You have a glass and you cannot feel your tonsils.
There was Clarence Oleson and Hjalmar Oleson and Gladys Oleson and Lois Oleson
And Carl Oleson and Carolyn Oleson and Ole Oleson he was there
Oh yes we've got the lutefisk, that culinary gem
Our ancestors ate it, and we remember them
Although it smells of lye and looks like broiled phlegm
We eat it with rye bread to keep it down there

There was Clarence Larson and Hjalmar Larson and Gladys Larson and Lois Larson
And Carl Larson and Judy Larson and Lars Larson he was there too.

I sit next to Hjalmar Peterson, now there's a tough old bird.
We sat and chewed our dinner and we didn't say a word.
Cause everything we have to say, we've already heard
So what's the use of pointless conversation.

There was Clarence Nilssen and Hjalmar Nilssen and Gladys Nilssen and Lois Nilssen
And Ray Nilssen and Jenny Nilssen and Nils Nilssen he was there too.

And then we moved the tables and let dancing start
Dworsky played piano and Patrick the guitar
And when the people sang you could smell it near and far
Boy that aquavit'd strip the varnish off the woodwork
Then at two o'clock in the morning we swept all the trash away
And put on our overcoats and said a last adieu.
We said goodbye in the hallway and said goodbye on the stairs
We said goodbye on the sidewalk in the cold December air
Then we leaned against the cars and said goodbye out there
At the New York Lutheran New Year's party

© Garrison Keillor 2002