Garrison Keillor, 72, says he’s retiring. He’s said it before, but all reports indicate that he means it this time. What’s most intriguing about these reports, however, is the list of things Keillor says he intends to keep on doing.
First of all, he plans to remain behind the scenes of Prairie Home Companion as a sort of “gray eminence.” I wish him good luck with that. I don’t think my old boss would have been too pleased if, when I announced my retirement, I had mentioned that I would be staying around as a gray eminence. A clean break is often best for all concerned.
But things may work out. According to Minnesota Public Radio, he intends to continue performing his News from Lake Wobegon monologue and other skits — contrary to reports that have appeared elsewhere. Meanwhile. there’s talk of a recently-completed screenplay, a memoir, and a possible film. Nor have I seen any indication that Keillor intends to give up the daily Writer’s Almanac broadcast, which I, for one, try never to miss.
This might seem a lot for a senior to deal with, but then let’s take a moment to consider Secretary of State John Kerry. At 71, he’s just pulled off a diplomatic triumph in the Iran nuclear accord. His success annoys Republicans, but Kerry is defending the agreement with eloquence and relentless logic. No “senior moments” for him. Now if only he would cut back a little on the bicycling!
Hillary Clinton, 67, is being challenged for the Democratic presidential nomination by Bernie Sanders, 73. Seniors over 70 that we know personally are still working as consultants in their professions. And as we’ve mentioned before on this blog, the legions of busy senior volunteers are too little appreciated or acknowledged by society. Where we come from, the library, the history center, the chamber music series, the arts center, the Living Well relief agency, and the hospice would be hard-pressed to function without them. The same is true of Milly’s Pantry, which works to assure that children in our county don’t go hungry.
Still, we don’t blame any senior who wants to take some time for rest, reflection, and more visits with the grandchildren, before it’s too late.
As Keillor himself emailed to the Los Angeles Times,
I want to retrench
A few steps ere dementia
And I want the idea to be mine