Monday, June 24, 2013

Mrs. Sundberg makes a lot of sense

[Editor’s note. Blogger’s Overview page tells me that this is my 1200th post. Blogger’s Posts page, however, tells me that this is my 1199th post. Both cannot be true, and perhaps neither is true. In this uncertain world in which we live, one cannot know for sure whether to celebrate or keep plodding on. Some do both. Some do neither. It has been ever thus. --RWP]

I have been a fan of Garrison Keillor for a long, long time -- years and years and years -- and there’s not much about his Saturday evening radio program that I don’t like except hearing him try to harmonize with his guests who are singers. I can do without that. I like the “Guy Noir, Private Eye” skits and the “The Lives of the Cowboys” skits and the “News from Lake Wobegon” segment. I like the sound effects guy and some of Garrison’s occasional guests like Paula Poundstone (whom, if you don’t know, you should) and Meryl Streep (whom, if you don’t know, you must have been living on another planet for the past several decades). I could go on and on, but I won’t, unless I already did. I don’t know why Garrison Keillor came to mind because I haven’t listened to his program much lately. The only time I ever listen to the radio any more is when I’m in the car and I haven’t happened to have been in the car on Saturdays from 6pm until 8pm Eastern Daylight time in quite a while. I do have a clock-radio on the table beside my bed, but the only time I use it is to set the alarm on Saturday night for Sunday morning so I won’t be late for church. And I sure wouldn’t go sit in our bedroom just to listen to a radio program. That would be silly.

Anyway, I feed my A Prairie Home Companion addiction (that’s what the name of Garrison Keillor’s program is, A Prairie Home Companion) via the show’s website on the computer. The website includes a few things that aren’t even on the radio program, like Russ Ringsak’s columns and Mrs. Sundberg’s. Russ Ringsak is real (he’s the driver of the big 18-wheeler that carries the program’s sets and equipment from city to city) but Mrs. Sundberg, a housewife from Minnesota, is fictional, a figment of Garrison Keillor’s imagination, created out of whole cloth. Her part of the website is called “The View from Mrs. Sundberg’s Window” which is nothing at all like “The View” on TV with Barbara Walters, Joy Behar, Whoopi Goldberg, Elizabeth Hasselbeck (née Filarski), and Sherri Shepherd. Thank God for small favors.

Anyway, Mrs. Sundberg always starts out the same way: “Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad.” which I suppose is a little self-deprecating joke of Garrison’s to try to mask his enormous pride and then she launches into whatever is on her mind and usually ends with a recipe. I thought I would share a few of her columns with you and then, if you like, you can search through her archives for more on your own.

Here’s one called “Life is Meaningful Because It Stops” that includes Tolkien, Franz Kafka, and a recipe for Rhubarbecued Ribs and Hot ’n Spicy Tortilla Dip. Here’s one called “I'm not put off by the thought of my own funeral” and another one called “A Monumental Act” that tells about the time she buried her Grandma’s ashes in Wisconsin. Here’s one more called “An Exercise in Forgiveness” that probably we all could benefit from.

Anyway, Mrs. Sundberg, a fictional character, a housewife from Minnesota who is naive and provincial and dumb and smart and sweet all at the same time, is worth a look.

And if you find that you don't care for her, you can always read
Russ Ringsak.


  1. And all brought to you by Powdermilk Biscuits, heavens they're tasty and delicious. They give shy people the strength to get up and do what need to be done! And they are pure...mostly!

    Rgds, Reamus

  2. Aha, I shall, once again, prove my ignorance in so far as I have no idea who Garrrison Keillor is. However, based on what you have written, I've no doubt he has oodles of talent. Anyway, a fictional character housewife from Minnesota has reminded me of a certain lady blogger who lives in Minneapolis.

    Congrats on blog post number 1199 and 1/2th blog. Yes, I'm confused. About usual for me.


  3. Hey, Reamus! just when I think my old blogging friends have forsaken me, up they (you) pop with a comment! I guess you (I) just have to give them (you) a reason to write.

    klahanie (Gary), how can anyone on the North American continent north of the Rio Grande be unaware of Garrison Keillor? Are you really in Vancouver? Go out an rent the Robert Altman movie, A Prairie Home Companion posthaste. Or use Netflix.

  4. It's quite a few years since I've listened to Garrison Keillor - Lake Wobegon used to be a regular on BBC radio. I also appreciated the links, although I must confess that I got sidetracked by the jokes.

  5. Shooting Ian, I didn't know that GK had been a regular on BBC, but it makes sense since his home here is PBS, the Public (that is, tax-supported) Broadcasting System.

  6. I too like Paula Poundstone and am always happy when I know she is about to be on "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me."

    I used to like Garrison quite a bit, but I never liked much of the music he presented, and things got intolerably worse for me when he started joining in on darn near every song. I finally gave up on him, and haven't listened to him at all for a few years now.