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A Prairie Home Companion at Sea 2006

August 10, 2006

Our friend Donna Fox recently returned from a cruise headlined by Garrison Keillor that included plenty of folk music. This is the first in a 7-part series.

July 14 North to Alaska!

Here we go again! We are waiting to board the Zaandam for the Second Annual A Prairie Home Companion at Sea. This year we are sailing from Seattle to explore the Inside Passage of Alaska.


Last evening at the reception at our hotel Garrison greeted us and then entertained us with a gem of a monologue. He spoke of how looking forward to this trip made it possible for him to get through the previous 11 months of work and Minnesota weather. My husband, Loren Smith, and I recognized parts from his column this week on Salon. It was fascinating to compare his delivery of it and what I had heard in my head as I was reading it just two days ago.

The Hopeful Gospel Quartet with Rich Dworsky at the piano led us in an enthusiastic rendition of "Chapel of Love" and "Goodnight Irene". It certainly pegged the demographics of the group since almost all of us knew the lyrics!

It was an auspicious beginning to the weeklong cruise.

We were reunited with four members from last year's table. All eight of us had kept in touch and some had visited each other. On opening day of "APHC Movie" we all went to see it and then called each other to share reactions. We miss our other two mates who couldn't make it this year. We were gratified when Robin and Linda Williams and Sue Scott and her husband Ron remembered Loren and me!

Garrison led us in singing on the aft deck as we sailed out of Seattle harbor. We sang as many sea-related songs as we could come up with. At one point he asked all the Republicans to sing. There was dead silence although I heard mutterings from a couple of them behind me.

From 4:30 PM to the wee hours of the morning every venue on the ship had entertainment by APHC cast members and others. How to choose? Rich Dworsky and Andy Stein? Butch Thompson? Pat Donahue, Dan Newton and Gary Raynor? Redd Volkaert with Cindy Cashdollar? Kosher Red Hots? Bill Hinkley and Judy Larson? Jody Stecher and Kate Brislin?


Then later in the evening we were welcomed aboard by Garrison, the Guys All-Star Shoe Band, Rich Dworsky, and Robin and Linda Williams. The cast was greeted with enthusiasm.


Garrison told us that there would be gifts from APHC in our cabins. The nylon backpack contained a travel mug, nifty small binoculars, a six-foot fold-out map of the Inside Passage, and this year's song book, also a signed poem from Garrison that contains these lines:

Worth even more than gold to find this simple reward:
The company of kindred souls. Welcome aboard.

I think that this is one more reason that this cruise has become an annual event for us. To be among almost 1400 souls who share our love for the show and our politics is a delightful way to travel.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at August 10, 2006 12:47 PM

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