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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 June 28, 2006 / 2 Tamuz, 5766

The Prodigal Father has another cup of coffee

By Garrison Keillor


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | My sandy-haired, gap-toothed daughter has written "I love Daddy" in green chalk on the driveway, and of course it's gratifying to get this endorsement, but a father is never sure if he's doing the right thing or not. I am an indulgent parent who wants to make her happy, but instead of taking her to swim class, I wonder if I shouldn't send her to hoeing school. I learned to hoe when I was her age and soon thereafter to pick potatoes. How will she find happiness if she doesn't learn about work?

There is a photograph of my grandpa Keillor standing in his farmyard in Ramsey township, cap pulled down over his ears, denim jacket buttoned, coveralls, barn boots, pitchfork, on a bitterly cold day, chores to do, and he looks truly happy. Work is a blessing. There is enough passivity and mediocrity in the world without us adding to it. Work for the night is coming, pull your weight, do your job.

The good people I come from were graduates of the College of the Crash, class of 1929. They valued hard work and persistence. They enjoyed their coffee breaks, not the $3.50 kind with froth and a shot of caramel, which would be sort of spendy for them, but the kind where the waitress brings around the glass carafe and says, "Let me warm that up for you." It was the work around the break that gave the break its sweetness, not the coffee.

Of course one rebelled against this. You saw your dad collapse in his chair after supper and fall asleep reading the paper, and be awakened by your mother to go to bed, and you said to yourself, "My life will be different. I will think, I will read books."

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We rebelled on the basis of poor information. We considered our people to be "vanilla," as we used to say, meaning bland, but we were ignorant of vanilla. The vanilla bean itself is not bland or simple, nor is vanilla extract; it's as rich and complicated as chocolate. If the only vanilla you know is what McDonald's sells, then yes, vanilla means emptiness. But the emptiness is in you, my dear, not in your people.

So you read books and thought big thoughts and sought a different life, and you achieved it, if you did, by virtue of the very qualities you rebelled against which your dad instilled in you. He may not have hugged you or encouraged your fantasy life, but he taught you to buckle down and attend to business and to thrive on it. It was this persistence that enabled you to become the self-absorbed romantic you are today. And now here you are in your pre-geriatric years, drinking $3.50 coffee and worrying about how to bring up your children.

Solomon said, "The thing that has been is the thing that shall be; and the thing that is done is that which shall be done: there is nothing new under the sun." But he never went to Wal-Mart. I miss the old times when there was a downtown, a center, a cluster of tall buildings seen from afar as you rode the bus or streetcar to a Xanadu of a department store redolent of perfume and fabric, and later to Woolworth's lunch counter for the grilled cheese and chicken soup, and everybody seemed to be more or less in the same boat.

We all went to public schools and we knew certain songs by heart, the one about the E-ri-e is a-rising and the gin is getting low and Dinah in the kitchen and the spacious skies of course and praise G-d from Whom all blessings flow. But then the schools started encouraging creativity and kids wrote their own songs, which were crappy, but teachers pretended they were wonderful so as not to stunt the child's imagination, and the old songs, which truly were wonderful, got lost, which was symptomatic of a general loss of standards carried out by romantic narcissists my age, some of them friends of mine.

Nonetheless, I am loved in green capital letters by a girl who yells "Daddy! Daddy!" and comes running from a long way off and puts her arms around my neck and kisses me, the Prodigal Father, and this gives me some hope, though I understand that this level of affection may change when the daughter gets to be 13 or so, but I am trying not to think about that.

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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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© 2006 by Garrison Keillor. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, INC.

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