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The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor: Episodes

How like a winter hath my absence been From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year! What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen! What old December’s bareness everywhere! And yet this time remov’d was summer’s time, The teeming autumn, big with rich increase, Bearing the wanton ...
“When can we have cake?” she wants to know. And patiently we explain: when dinner’s finished. Someone wants seconds; and wouldn’t she like to try, while she’s waiting, a healthful lettuce leaf? The birthday girl can’t hide her grief— worse, everybody laughs. That ...
A gaggle of geese return to our street each winter while migrating from one place to another. They arrive in January, around my husband’s birthday, and I am surprised to find them behind our house, honking like cab drivers in traffic. Most leave with babies but one pair can’t manage to have ...
I walk six blocks to the park. Hoarfrost and fog and ten below zero, A full twelve inches of snow. No one believes in the mysteries Anymore, but still once or twice Every year this will happen: Hoarfrost and fog and snow all at once. I don&#8217;t often notice my breath, But here I am... <a class="excerpt-read-more" ...
While we are gone, our neighbor finds a long-dead buck in our shed, steeped in snow and wood. A broken leg took him down and he found refuge. The deer that had wandered the hills, had run in front of a car. This is the story we make up to understand how he got there.... <a class="excerpt-read-more" ...
I remember our breath in the icy air and how the northern lights gathered in a haze at the horizon, spread up past the water tower then vanished into the dark. I remember that January night in North Dakota: We left the dance, the hoods of our dads&#8217; air force parkas zipped tight, our bare... <a ...
At eleven, my granddaughter looks like my daughter did, that slender body, that thin face, the grace with which she moves. When she visits, she sits with my daughter; they have hot chocolate together and talk. The way my granddaughter moves her hands, the concentration with which she does everything, ...
Well, Old Flame, the fire&#8217;s out. I miss you most at the laundromat. Folding sheets is awkward work Without your help. My nip and tuck Can&#8217;t quite replace your hands, And I miss that odd square dance We did. Still, I&#8217;m glad to do without Those gaudy arguments that wore us out. I&#8217;ve ...
All morning in the February light he has been mending cable, splicing the pairs of wires together according to their colors, white-blue to white-blue violet-slate to violet-slate, in the warehouse attic by the river. When he is finished the messages will flow along the line: thank you for the gift, please ...
It was back when we used to listen to stories, &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;our minds developing pictures as we were taken into the elsewhere of our experience or to the forbidden &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;or under the sea. Television was wrestling, Milton Berle, Believe It Or Not. We knelt before ...
November again and the snow comes sudden and heavy. This is what we like best. This is what we paid our money for. Snow on snow, all day and all night, everything muffled, distant. Tomorrow, no school, no work, no worship service, no visitation of the sick, the poor, the widows or the orphans. Whatever... ...
1. The one where the preacher&#8217;s kid from Georgia, growing up in a house with no books but the Bible, became a great poet. 2. The one where the great poet remained faithful to his wife even after her stroke, devoted to her for fifty years. 3. The one where he won the Nobel Prize... <a class="excerpt-read-more" ...
The three-toed sloth is the slowest creature we know for its size. It spends its life hanging upside-down from a branch, its baby nestling on its breast. It never cleans itself, but lets fungus grow on its fur. The grin it wears, like an idiot clown, proclaims the joys of a life which is one... <a class="excerpt-read-more" ...
When the fine days migrate east from Ohio, climbing Vermont&#8217;s greenest mountains and fording &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;the Connecticut at White River &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;Junction; ...
We are waiting for snow the way we might wait for a train to arrive with its cold cargo— it is late already, but surely it will come. We are waiting for snow the way we might wait for permission to breathe again. For only the snow will release us, only the snow will be... <a class="excerpt-read-more" ...
Every day, I drive by the grave of my fiancee&#8217;s father. She lost him when she was one. He&#8217;s our intimate stranger, our guardian angel, floating a la Chagall just above our heads. I go to him for love-lessons. He touches my hand with that tenderness the dead have for the living. When I touch... ...
We drop you at O&#8217;Hare with your young husband, two slim figures under paradoxical signs: United and Departures. The season&#8217;s perfect oxymoron. Dawn is a rumor, the wind bites, but there are things fathers still can do for daughters. Off you go looking tired and New Wave under the airport&#8217;s ...
When Dave calls from California to tell me his girlfriend is pregnant, it was an accident but she wants to keep it anyway, although Dave&#8217;s not so sure, he has his doubts— in fact, when he really thinks about it, not in this lifetime nor in any foreseeable lifetime does he see himself actually ...
Justine called on Christmas day to say she was thinking of killing herself. I said, &#8220;We&#8217;re in the middle of opening presents, Justine. Could you possibly call back later, that is, if you&#8217;re still alive.&#8221; She was furious with me and called me all sorts of names which I refuse to ...
Music I love—but never strain Could kindle raptures so divine, So grief assuage, so conquer pain, And rouse this pensive heart of mine— As that we hear on Christmas morn, Upon the wintry breezes borne. Though Darkness still her empire keep, And hours must pass, ere morning break; From troubled dreams, ...
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