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Fish, bicycles and rhubarb pie in Lake Wobegon
from Garrison Keillor's "News from Lake Wobegon"
monolog in the Prairie Home Companion
show broadcast live May 22, 1999, rerun
September 15, 2001
The show is available
format on the Prairie Home Companion Web site.
...Anyway, the rhubarb, the rhubarb pie was made at the Chatterbox Café on Thursday morning. It was the last pound of frozen rhubarb. Dorothy puts up 100 pounds every spring, freezes it. It lasts all through the winter, because she herself does not care for rhubarb pie. But other people love rhubarb pie, and this was the last pound. It was just enough to make three pies, and she made them, and she put them in the oven, and she and Darlene sat down to have a cup of coffee. Mr. Burgee was sitting there, and the other old men. They were sniffing, waiting for the pie to be done.
[Dorothy and Darlene have a long conversation about their husbands, one deceased and the other divorced, neither of whom they have seen for many years.]
Mr. Burgee said "I think I smell something burning." Dorothy turned around and gave him a look, she said, "the day I need baking advice from you, Mr. Burgee, is the day that fish ride bicycles." Indeed, there was smoke in the air; she went in the kitchen, she opened the oven; all three rhubarb pies were black as could be. Made her feel satisfied somehow to have burnt every last one of 'em. "Dammit," she said, "I never cared for rhubarb anyway, and this was last spring's rhubarb - last spring's. Get these outta here, Darlene, throw these out in the trash," she said. "Another month, two months, we'll have all the fresh rhubarb that we can stand. No need to fool around with last spring's rhubarb. Get it outta here, good riddance to it."
That's the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all children are above average.