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home : opinion : opinion April 24, 2015

7/22/2013 5:00:00 PM
Star struck in the air(port)

By Dorothy Rosby

Is that . . .? No. It can't be. But, it is. It's Garrison Keillor, sitting five feet away from me in the airport. And we're going the same way-on the airplane, if not down in literary history.

Garrison Keillor is, of course, an author, humorist, and host of A Prairie Home Companion, which is heard on public radio stations around the country. I have him over for dinner often, by which I mean I leave the radio on while I eat.

And there he is, my hero and frequent dinner guest, sitting right in front of me, writing on his laptop computer just like I am-only better and for a wider audience. Much wider.

You may be saying, "If Garrison Keillor is a radio guy, how can you be sure that's him?" I'll tell you how. He's just started talking on his cell phone, and I would know his voice anywhere. Not that I'm trying to listen in. That would be rude. Plus it's too noisy in here.

Your point is well taken though. I'm not good with celebrity recognition. Twice now, I've met authors, then during our ensuing conversations, discovered I had them confused with other authors. Coincidentally, at the very conference I'm returning from now, both of these authors were on a panel with a third. That meant I'd personally insulted two-thirds of the panel.

With that for my record, I can understand why you might doubt me. But I have one more clue that the man sitting across from me in the airport is indeed Garrison Keillor: He's wearing red socks. You may be thinking, "Lots of men wear red socks." I say, "Name them!"

Garrison Keillor always wears red socks. One less decision to make every day, I guess. I read somewhere that he wears red socks because he has so many pairs sent to him by people who read somewhere that he wears red socks. With that in mind, I wear Peruvian sweaters, hand-knit from alpaca hair. (Actually, I don't, but I'd really like to.)

The point is, there is no doubt in my mind that I'm sitting inches away from Garrison Keillor. (Yes, I moved closer) This airport is no Lake Wobegon: All the women are tired. The men aren't that good looking. And the children are as irritating as even above-average children can be when they're traveling. But that is definitely Garrison Keillor. (That was an inside joke for Lake Wobegon fans, and I realize it wasn't that good.)

I text my husband and tell him I'm about to board the same plane as Garrison Keillor. He texts back that I ought to get an autograph. I don't. I'm shy. And besides, Mr. Keillor might be working on the next episode of A Prairie Home Companion, and I don't want to stand in the way of that. If during the show, he mentions an odd woman staring at him in the Hartford, Connecticut airport, that will be enough for me.

Besides, I know how aggravating it is to be interrupted when you're writing. I'm often disturbed when I'm working, though never by anyone asking for my autograph. Usually, they're asking, "What's for dinner?"

Other than that, Garrison Keillor and I have a lot in common. He writes humor. I try to write humor. He's from a small town. I'm from a smaller town. He's from Minnesota. My husband is from Minnesota. He wears red socks. I wear...socks. His birthday is August 7; mine is August 9. (Remember, red socks for him, alpaca sweaters for me.)

And right now we're preparing to board the same plane! But that's where the similarity ends. He's flying first class.

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