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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 30, 2009 / 5 Nissan 5769

The poetry of spring

By Garrison Keillor


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Spring is a time when we are one nation. In a few weeks, the South will head toward its air-conditioned caves and a cold summer chill will fall on San Francisco, but in spring and fall we are one people, more unum than pluribus, stepping gracefully to the music of photosynthesis, and not even a sour economy can change that, so Viva sweet spring. I say this as the father of a sandy-haired gap-toothed daughter who jumps up from breakfast to dance the shimmy. With so much pre-adolescence going on around you, it's hard to be glum.


Here in Minnesota, spring doesn't arrive for good until Mother's Day and the opening of walleye season, when men and their mothers go fishing and sit around the campfire afterwards and pass the whiskey bottle and she talks about her years traveling with the tent show before she met their father, all the wonderful men she knew, ducktailed men with big tattoos on their chests who drove fast cars and carried rolls of fifties and weren't afraid to spend, which is a shock, to hear about Mother's wild roving years, but everyone did have them, so get over it. And the urge to rove wildly does strike people at this time of year. I, for example, am tempted to bleach my hair and change my name to Lauren L'Etranger though probably I will not.


In spring, a person's thoughts naturally turn toward what you would rather be doing than earning a living, and in America this usually means Being An Artist. This is the true American dream. Winning the lottery is a faint hope, becoming a sports hero is a daydream, but publishing poetry is the ambition of one-third of the American people and another third are thinking about writing a memoir.


And you thought you were the only one! Ha! You are part of a vast tide. One reason the economy is so sour is that nobody wants to tote barges or lift bales, they want to be edgy and multilayered and express their anguish in some colorful and inexplicable way. Your dental hygienist is a poet ("Into the ravenous maw flecked with food and decked with plaque, I descend, pick in hand"), and this does not make for better dental care. People who feel they have a Higher Calling may feel justified in slacking off on the Lower Calling even though it is the one that pays the light bill. Your mailman comes sweeping up the walk on the tips of his toes, arms extended, twirls, and hands you an invitation to his dance recital. Also a handful of your neighbor's mail. You attend the recital and it is not bad. Men and women barefoot in leotards tossing brown parcels back and forth and running from dogs and afterward you must go backstage and tell them how good it was.


That is the challenge when people you know become artists. They want to know what you think, and you have to frame compliments that are enthusiastic without sounding stupid. "I loved what you did" is good, and, "There was so much life in it." If you can't think of anything, just look stunned and shake your head and say, "Wow." Don't go for big phrases like "magical realism" or "pediatric apotheosis." Don't nibble their earlobes. Just tell them you loved it and help yourself to the cheese and crackers.


I took my mother fishing last year and discovered she'd been in the Johnson & Swanson Circus. She did backflips on a tightrope and swallowed flaming torches and exhaled a stream of flame 10 feet long. Recently we found a photograph of her in spangly tights, a hibiscus in her hair, standing blindfolded on the trunk of an elephant with a lit cigarette in her mouth which a swarthy man in a gypsy outfit is about to shoot out of her mouth with a pistol aimed over his left shoulder using a small mirror with a mother-of-pearl handle. We had no idea that she ever smoked. Mother is 93 and the picture is from 1934. She says she didn't inhale and that the man was firing blanks, but we wonder, "Was she happy, having given up that wild life of show business for a life of cooking and cleaning and washing and ironing? Did we cheat Mother of the springtime of youth?" I suppose we did, and if she wants to say so in a poem, welcome to the club.

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Garrison Keillorís "A Prairie Home Companion" can be heard Saturday nights on public radio stations across the country. Comment by clicking here.

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© 2009 by Garrison Keillor. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, INC.

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