A Prairie Home Companion: the perfect roadtrip companion

There is something magical about the way I live my life.  Things just tend to coincide without my having to do with any of it.  I don’t think it’s over-analyzation– just being perceptive and learning how to be more understanding of who I am and what’s happening around me.

When I was a kid, my stomping grounds were pretty much the local public library.  Not as cool of stomping grounds as the back alley behind the Quik-E-Mart or the haunted field or whatever.  I’d go twice or thrice a week, each time getting a fat pile of books and reading them all day and all night.  I’d finish four separate books within three days and I’m not showing off for Past Geena, I’m just truly amazed that I did that and wonder why it takes so much for me to accomplish the same these days.

One of my favorite series were the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I finished the whole series.  I just ate it up.  I remember even pretending to pack up for a move from the city to the barren west, like Laura, except my move would actually be from my bedroom to our downstairs study.  Yeah, I was weird.  In fifth grade it exploded because that was the moment I was introduced to the world of thrifting.  Our choir was performing a musical called Westward, Ho! (man, I can’t believe I can recall of this! I’m surprising myself every second) so I had to find a “pioneer” dress.  From then on I always begged my mom to go to the thrift store whenever we were by Viet Town, Vietnamese shopping centers being ubiquitous in major city Texas. I started collecting pioneer-influenced dresses as well as Native American-influenced frocks, a carry-over obsession with Native American culture I’d had since about 2nd grade.  Gunne Sax by Jessica McClintock rocked my world. 

But there was something about the spare, simple way of prairie-living that really appealed to me.  When I would pack for my make-believe move, I’d gather my two favorite dresses, a brush, a straw doll, and some sandwiches (I had made a strawdoll–I’ve always thought my life was like a book and strived to make that true in any way possible).  That no-frills kind of living, where you must pick what is most important to you and take good care of it while using it daily, that’s what I’ve been trying to get back to.  Somewhere between fifth grade and now I turned my life into this chaotic thing, with material things, my family, religion, hobbies, with friends and boys, just spreading myself so thin in so many areas that I got to last year and took a big look at myself and did not like several parts of what I saw.

On the way to Dallas this evening, without the help of my trusty Zune, I had a chance to catch the last half hour of A Prairie Home Companion.  I had no idea what it was about two years ago, and even then I just associated it with Lindsay Lohan (she starred in a cinematic adaptation, and I saw the preview and that’s it) so naturally I steered clear of it.  What a mistake!  My ex-boyfriend and his job–essentially he listens to NPR for money… like wtf–snapped me out of that false pretense.  We used to listen to it together.  I love this show.  It gives me such a good, warm feeling inside that I would feel when I read or watched Little House.  Well this one was exceptionally enjoyable.  It was the Joke edition/episode, which apparently they do every once in awhile, but with new jokes.  I shakily wrote some of my favorites in my Moleskine while I was driving (I am getting pretty good at dangerous types of multi-tasking while driving, something I am both ashamed and proud of at the same time).  Some stand-outs:

-Did you hear about the paranoid dyslexic?  He always thought he was following someone. Meehee hee!

-What did the fly say to the other fly?  Hey, fly, your dude is open.

-Did you know that the traditional recipe for Irish Bean soup calls for 239 beans?

Oh, yeah?

Yeah, do you know why it’s 239 beans?

No, why?

Well if there were one more it would be too-farty!  Paaaahahaha

-Did you hear about the couple who liked to make love to the sound of the church bells?  Yeah, unfortunately last time they did that the ice cream truck drove by…

-Why should you wear two pairs of pants when you go golfing?  Because you might get a hole in one!  Haaaaa hahaha.  The best part about this one was right after, some dude in the concert hall laughed real hard.  Like, guffawed.  I chortled at this one.

What set my mind racing into a childhood frame of mind (although everything now does these days… wonderful way to get reacquainted with yourself), what was the most profound piece of information I heard in this episode, was this one thing Old Garrison said: If you want to know if someone is worth spending your life with, or is right for you, listen to a Prairie Home Companion together and see if you laugh at the same time.  What good advice.  When I am married I hope that mmmm 95% of the time we’ll be laughing.

This is the movie version of Dusty and Lefty’s Bad Jokes, the movie that I dissed, not knowing what it was about.  Boy, was I wrong.  I truly regret that naivete (and blame that tart Lindsay Lohan), as well as not knowing about this show earlier in life, but now that it’s here, I am not letting go.

The show crackled and faded away right at six, right at its end, when I had reached the outer limits of the city.  I drove the rest of the way to Dallas with a big grin on my face.  If you found any of those jokes funny, let’s talk. Juuuuuust kidding. No but seriously let’s talk in like five years from now.

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