Garrison Keillor: Well, the Northern Lights were out Monday early morning and Monday night, green and blue lights flickering, and the big rush of Arctic air came in -- 54 degrees below zero this week -- our all time record is minus 60 -- you could sense people's disappointment that we got so close and didn't make it (GROANS OF DISAPPOINTMENT) but we'll just try harder next time.
People plug in their cars to keep the radiator fluid warm and the plugs snapped off (BWOIINNNG) or the power cords froze (HUM DESCENDS AND DIES), it was that cold. You could hear the trees groaning (SFX) when the wind blew and the furnaces were struggling (FURNACE RUNNING, COUGHING, MISSING) and of course the cars were dead (CAR STARTER, VERY SLOW) and after you worked at it for awhile, you walked back to the house (FOOTSTEPS IN SNOW) and if you took a deep breath it hurt (SFX) but we stayed home that day and watched TV (TV AUDIO) and answered the phone. (RING) Relatives from South Carolina asking if it really was 54 below. (Tom Keith: Yep.) Asking if we were all right. (TK: Yep.) Asking if there was anything they could do for us. (TK: Nope.) What can you do? You just make another pot of coffee. (COFFEE PERC) and you make some winter food. Casseroles. One called Funeral Hot Dish. Potatoes on the bottom, sliced carrots, browned hamburger with celery, onions and a can of whole tomatoes. In layers. Bake it for an hour and serve with biscuits. (SHLOP, PLOPS) Nice big serving of Funeral Hot Dish. Kids don't like it because it has onions, so that means there's more for the rest of us, and in winter you want to keep your weight up. (SHLOPS)
A cold spell is a good time to make sausage. Get the venison out of the freezer and toss it in the grinder (SFX) and some pork (SFX) and then the road kill you put in the trunk -- hard to tell what it is -- raccoon or badger (SFX) and toss in some marjoram and sage (SFX) and if you're going to make blood sausage, then you put in the blood (POURING THICK VISCOUS LIQUID) -- that's to make sure the kids don't eat any. This is adult food. (GRINDER) You grind it up good and extrude it into an old nylon stocking and hang it up to dry -- we call it Not The Wurst -- and you build a fire under it -- burn some old tires and brush -- (FIRE) for that smoked flavor -- and that's enough sausage to last you the year, since the kids won't be eating it.