It’s Saturday. 5pm. And that usually means one thing: I’m in the kitchen preparing dinner for my family and listening to A Prairie Home Companion (which recently celebrated their 38th year on the air).

Now I don’t consider myself a bluegrass fan, a folk music aficionado, nor do I find the weekly exploits of Dusty and Lefty overly entertaining, but for me, listening to Prairie Home Companion every week is a ritual. It’s a form of time travel. The first opening strains of violin announcing the program immediately take me back to my childhood kitchen. The smell of hamburgers (or hockey pucks as we referred to them) wafting in from the grill outside. Listening to it makes me feel younger, nostalgic and homesick all at once.

The funny thing is my parents were never huge fans of Garrison Keillor either. They got into the habit of listening probably due to a need for some background noise and a lack of desire to tune into another station. But whatever made them regular listeners, it doesn’t much matter. Prairie Home Companion has become a tradition and is here to stay as long as NPR allows it.

I rue the day that Garrison Keillor retires, or worse. But for now I take comfort in turning on the kitchen radio, checking the roast in the oven, and awaiting those first few strains of violin to come thru those little under counter speakers…

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