This Week's Joke

How can you tell when there is an Alto at the door? They can't find the key and they don't know when to come in.

This joke was submitted by Sean Thompson from Boone, IA. Thanks!

Romance With a Midwesterner

Dear Mr. Keillor:

I have recently met a very nice engineer from the Midwest. We discussed cows on our first date. I have tested him to see if he would make me eat lutefisk. He says he hates it. He is Methodist and he sings loudly in church. I am a Unitarian from Cambridge, MA and I suspect that he would not approve of felt banners, so beloved of Unitarians. He bought me a heart-shaped box of Valentine chocolates and talked of the prairie. Do you think there is hope for us? He is very nice but I am worried that there will not be stores to buy whole grains, or peace dances in the Midwest. Please tell me if you think there is hope for us.

P.S. He is an engineer and I can’t even pump my own gas.

Thank you.

Ruth from Cambridge, MA Read more

Carry the Load

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. Been a week of weather, from storms and chills to hot heat and sun. I like that about the Midwest. You know what you’re gonna get but you’re not sure when. There’s a fine mix of random abstract and concrete sequential, and it keeps a girl on her toes. Gotta be mindful. With the list of events unfolding in this household, the calendar is essential in the midst of a swirl of lists:  grocery, bridal shower, grad party, lawn care, personal items. Today I’ll pick up vases, drop a jacket off at the drycleaner, have lunch with a friend, help my daughter with their wedding program, get prices on nuts, pre-order buns, check on the grad cake, pay bills, tend to the flowers.

Thing is, nothing HAS to happen today. No decisions have to be made. I could just plop my butt down on the couch and not do a thing except eat a can of kraut, and the world would keep on turning. I’m blessed that way, this month of May. There is overwhelmedness, and there is stillness, and I travel the road somewhere in between.

We each have a load to carry, far as I know, and it’s different for everyone. Some have illness, some have financial stress, some have loneliness, some have fear. I’m blessed, I see. I can put mine down now and then, and it’s never gotten too heavy, and when it does there’s someone there, right there at my side, to help lift awhile. Having a strong back and good arms helps, and the kind of burningness in me to get where I’m going — that helps too.

Here’s my thought. As you march forward, keep your shoulders squared and Carry the Load. If you find yourself faltering, holler for help, and if no one answers, holler again. Not much help comes without the asking. And if it happens you can set your load down awhile, listen for a holler. I’m guessing it won’t take long. The bonus is someone gets some help, and you get a feel for what another person carries, and it might tell you something. Perspective in the midst of the Great Grand Haul. I say YES, and more of it.

Here’s a perfect salad for a really warm spring day. Light and a bit spicy and nothing but good stuff all mixed in. Serve some cornbread on the side, or maybe a plate of fruit.

Taco Pasta Salad

1 package (16 ounces) spiral pasta
1 pound ground beef
¾ cup water
1 envelope taco seasoning
2 cups (8 oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 cans (2-¼ oz each) sliced ripe olives, drained
1 bottle (16 oz) Catalina or 16 oz Western salad dressing

Cook pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink, and drain.
Add water and taco seasoning; simmer uncovered for 15 minutes or so.
Rinse pasta in cold water, drain and place in a large bowl.
Add beef mixture, cheese, green pepper, onion, tomato and olives and mix it all up.
Add the dressing and toss to coat.
Cover and refrigerate for a good hour or so.



This current mighty expedition began five weeks ago with a Caribbean ocean cruise. It started when we moved the stage gear from its lounging place in the trailer lot to a sound production company in South St. Paul, where five sturdy young men and a medium dog repacked it into smaller road cases, more neatly fitting to the petite passageways of a giant liner. Read more