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Granite Falls Advocate Tribune - Granite Falls, MN
  • River Ramblings.....

  • Not long ago, an intrepid local reader strode into my office with a copy of page 82 from the February 2014 issue of National Geographic. The page was taken from an article by legendary Minnesota writer and radio show host Garrison Keillor that was titled Garrison Keillor’s Personal Geography. Circled on that p...
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  •     Not long ago, an intrepid local reader strode into my office with a copy of page 82 from the February  2014 issue of National Geographic.
        The page was taken from an article by legendary Minnesota  writer and radio show host  Garrison Keillor that was titled Garrison Keillor’s Personal Geography. Circled on that page was a paragraph about his drives west out of the Twin Cities.
        “Sometimes I felt the pull of the roads going west, Highway 7 out of Excelsior and Clara City toward South Dakota and Highway 212 through Chaska and Granite Falls and Highway 12 through Litchfield and Willmar and Benson and Ortonville.”
        You could almost hear Keillor saying this on his Prairie Home Companion radio show.     
        He continued: “And now and then, just for a taste of freedom, I’d drive out west late at night through the little towns and stop around 2 or 3 a.m. at a crossroad  and get out of the car and walk around in the dark for a while and then head back to do my 6 a.m. radio shift.”
        His musing about those drives leaves something fun to the imagination but the fact that he mentioned it all, is remarkable, especially in light of the fact that most folks in the Twin Cities never would think of doing such a thing.
        Our countryside, the string of small towns on the highway and the farms along the way are generally not the most  sought after destinations in Minnesota. That’s not to say they shouldn’t be.
        Still, most Minnesotans think of going “up North” when it comes to getting away from whatever it is that clutters up their lives. We have plenty of clutter-free space out here and once in a while people are surprised to find out that there are interesting places, people and possibilities in western Minnesota.
        Geography plays a part in that, of course, but so do the people who are shaped by that geography, namely those of us who live here.
        My southern California cousins often wonder how we could possibly live in a place that  can be so cold. Well, sometimes we wonder that too but most of us would never live anywhere else. That’s not to say that we don’t enjoy getting away. Quite the opposite, actually.
        Getting away helps you to understand what it is that you like about where you live. That’s what Garrison Keillor is writing about and is something he has been doing for years.
    Page 2 of 2 -     These days he takes his radio show on the road all across the country but years ago he drove out here and before that he would sometimes take the bus to Granite where his friend Howard Mohr, would drive up from Cottonwood to pick him up.
        After staying with Howard and  Jody on their farm for a day or two,  Garrison would get a ride from Howard to the bus stop in Vesta where he would catch the other bus route back to St. Paul.
        Something out here made him seem comfortable and, judging from his National Geographic article, it still does. 
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