Where all the women are strong, the men are good looking, and all the children are above average

It is Sunday, June 12, 2016. Today, my parents have been married for 40 years. I am in Minnesota, in charge of the farm. They left yesterday afternoon, for Iowa, where my mother going to visit her sister and my dad is going to look at farming equipment. They have planned no dinners, no parties, no presents. They are obviously happy, so I do not question it.

For years, my parents and I listened to A Prairie Home Companion. It is played twice on the local National Public Radio affiliate station, once on Saturday evening, and once on Sunday morning. We listened on Sunday, while my dad slept through a baseball/football game and my mother futzed in the house, while I listened along while playing on my game boy.

Today, out of nostalgia, perhaps, I turned on the radio. I heard Keillor say the old words A Prairie Home Companion is brought to you by…

But the episode was not like the ones I remembered. This one was set in Florida, not Minnesota, and there was a mystery, although more vicious than any Guy Noir ever tackled. There weren’t any jokes, and there were no musical guests. I ate my breakfast alone, in silence, and heard about lines at blood banks. I wondered how many would not be allowed to donate.

There was still the occasional string of advertisements, pre-recorded. That’s how I knew I must be listening to A Prairie Home Companion, because they kept telling me it will be right back.

Outside, a thunderstorm crept closer. The house darkened, as did the radio.

Finally I shut it off, go outside, watch the clouds, smell the rain. This Sunday afternoon is very different than the ones I remember.

But maybe, I wonder, as the thunder shakes my parents’ house, maybe it has always been this way, and I’ve been tuned to the wrong channel.

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