Well, it’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, his hometown, out there on the edge of the prairie. Not that there hasn’t been talk — talk about his impending retirement from the radio show. But it’s been quiet talk, down at the Chatterbox Café, over at Bertha’s Kitty Boutique, across town at the Sidetrack Tap where Mr. Berge just stares into his beer. At Ralph’s Pretty Good Grocery (if you can’t find it there, you can probably get along without it) people asked about his plans, but no one knew for sure. The mood is bittersweet; happiness that their famous friend, now in his 70s, will get the rest he deserves, but sad that their own day in the sun will soon fade into reruns.
Clint and Clarence Bunsen were too busy polishing the statue of the Unknown Norwegian to speculate on the rumor that he was coming back to town for a farewell show, but they wondered where it might be? The Sons of Knute Lodge is too small and the Moonlight Bay Supper Club too far from the center of town. Everybody was now assuming an outdoor event at Wally “Old Hard Hands” Bunsen Field, home of the Whippets.
Pastor Ingvist, back this summer filling in for Pastor Liz at Lake Wobegon Lutheran, suggested a potluck along the third-base line, hosted jointly by the Chatterbox, Jack’s Toast House and, because the magnitude of the moment requires a special touch, Café Boeuf (where the elite meet to greet and eat), although dessert should be left to the folks over at Beebop-a-Rebop Rhubarb Pie.
Other sponsors already have stepped up to the plate, so to speak. Bob’s Bank (save at the sign of the sock), Jack’s Scraps for Dogs, the American Duct Tape Council, the Catchup Advisory Board, Art’s Baits and Night O’ Rest Motel and the Curl Up and Dye beauty salon all signed up last week.
Naming rights for the event were quickly claimed by the people over at Powdermilk Biscuits (in the big blue box, heavens, they’re tasty and expeditious).
The Tollefson boy, normally a shy person, volunteered to stand up and do what needs to be done — which is to sing “America the Beautiful.” Guy Noir, private eye, said he might drive up from The Cities. Dusty and Lefty were expecting to ride in from their campsite out on the range. In fact, everyone plans to be there at the moment he steps out of his car and onto the field, back into the town where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking and all the children are above average.