Garrison Keillor: I Understand Completely

"Rhubarb is the secret to the good life."

I read every word of his essay, and understood it to the core of my being. I feel exactly that way when I am researching and writing about St. Vincent. I love St. Vincent and all the people from it and all the people around it that made up our communities, our lives, our sorrow, our joys.
When my mother was nearing the end of her 97 years, what was most vivid to her was her youth. She said, “There is so much I’d still like to know, and there’s nobody left to ask.” So she ventured into the shadows to commune with her dead, which was a comfort to her. Nobody was alive who knew her in girlhood, so memory became reality. Some call it dementia, I call it imagination. At 71 I sometimes forget last week, but I clearly remember the big house on Dupont Avenue North where Corinne lived one summer when we were 19, and I blew smoke on her African violets to kill aphids. She and I had this idea to form a commune of writers all working away in their rooms, doors open, and when we wrote something good, we could walk into someone’s room and tell them about it. A sort of long-term sleepover. It was a perfect idea, and we didn’t bother with details such as Who and Where and How much, and because it never became a reality, it never came crashing down. It still exists in my mind. If I reach 97, I may finally go live there.
St. Vincent is my Lake Wobegon...