For those that have not had the privilege yet, these are the words that you hear on the radio when you listen to a particular segment of a program called A Prairie Home Companion, old radio at its best created by Garrison Keillor and his great crew. I listen to it on the weekend when I am out and about in our car. The program is on National Public Radio (NPR) and the station I listen to is WHYY out of Philadelphia. You should really listen to it if you don't already. It has stirred my imagination for years.
Of course I am old enough to remember when radio seemed like it was the only thing there was, along with going to the movies of course. The age of television was just beginning but vintage radio still kept our attention. My brother Warren and I would listen to shows like Dragnet, Gang Busters and Gunsmoke. You did not have a television screen in front of you. The screen was in your mind. You had to use your imagination. And oh what that screen could reveal! Garrison Keillor and his excellent crew are still very good at turning it on for me.
There was talk of him retiring this year. He is 67 now. They had some fun on the show doing segments where his "replacement" had come to take over. But the latest read on the website for the show from GK goes like this:
"We're discussing another Prairie Home cruise for 2011. I am working on a new Good Poems collection, and a memoir of 1966, a Guy Noir mystery, and have gotten a second wind on a Lake Wobegon screenplay. So life goes hurtling on." [A Note From GK About Retirement] He got some great comments back from fans about clearing up this question. You ought to read them. It will give you an idea of how much this show means to average people like you and me. [Comments 34]
So why all this about a radio show and who is Leigh Irwin anyways?
Back in the day when the family lived in or around Jamestown, New York my dad was on radio. It was the local station, WJOC [now WKSN] and he was an announcer of sorts. If I remember correctly he did short shows that had to do with local news and weather. Well, he chose as his radio name Leigh Irwin. Where did it come from? My middle name is Leigh and my brother Warren's middle name is Irwin. Dad loved his boys. He is 92 right now, by the way, and he's still kicking, down Tennessee way.
But there is something else here though, beside the fact that you shouldn't start a paragraph with the word "but." I have always wanted to write and the pen name that I've always wanted to use was Leigh Irwin. It fits. There is a little bit of me, a little bit of my brother, the love of our Dad for us, and surely a whole lot of Mom, God rest her soul. She's in Heaven now. She went Home in 2001.
So, in the future, be on the look out. Because you just might hear (or read) the following words:
"A dark night in a world that thinks it knows how to keep its secrets. But in a small office, just north of Philly, one man is still looking for the answers to many of life's persistent questions: Leigh Irwin, Investigative Reporter." (MUSIC FADE)
Hey, ever heard (and seen) an episode of Guy Noir on YouTube.com. Try it right here. Enjoy :-)
God bless ya'll,
Allan Leigh Winger