Archived Voice Articles

Katy meets Garrison

The English Department received this wonderful little saga from Katy Dekens (‘07), presently on internship in Chicago.

On a rainy October evening, I found myself in a bookstore on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. About sixty fans were gathered in a small space overlooking the cityscape, their wet coats and scarves jumbled on the backs of their chairs and Garrison Keillor’s books—from Lake Wobegon Days to his most recent book, Pontoon—piled high on their laps.

Keillor entertained us with stories from Pontoon, but the majority of his storytelling that night revolved not around Lake Wobegon, but rather, a romantic and scandalous night in Chicago in the 80s on a similarly rainy October night.

After, I lined up to get an autograph in his new book, Pontoon, for my mom’s Christmas present. Somehow, Keillor was able to make small talk with every person in line.

“That is real blonde hair, I’m assuming,” he said to me.

“Of course,” I said (and why would I lie to Garrison Keillor?).

He asked where I was from.

Alberta. Obviously, our prairie spirits quickly connected.

“And where did you go to school, Katy?” he asked.

“A tiny school in Iowa. Between Sioux City and Sioux Falls,” I explained.

“Ah. Dordt College?”

“Yes! You know Sioux Center?” I asked.

“Of course. The high school students drive up and down main street–like a parade. Do they do that in Alberta too?”

For the next couple of minutes, we argued about the term for these small parades, and because of my experiences in Lethbridge, Alberta, I convinced him that the term was ‘cruising.’

As I was leaving, I thanked him, and he smiled and said, “It was nice to meet you, my Calvinist Girl.”

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.