There are occasions when weeks in history almost seem to have a theme. This week it is home in all of it's variety of meanings.
First up: In 1979 : Prairie Home Companion debuts
Garrison Keillor's popular radio variety show is first broadcast nationally as part of National Public Radio's Folk Festival America. The show, which had been running locally on Minnesota Public Radio since 1974, is still on the air today, and is more popular than ever. The home there is a wonderful place named Lake Woebegone whose stories all end with "And that's the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average."
In addition to the wonderful weekend show, Garrison Keillor does a daily Writers' Almanac. For those who miss its daily broadcast, just click on the link for a transcript. You will find both the familiar and unknown, and the authors you will want to bring home in order to revisit or get to know.
The second is the theme of being far from home and the differences in culture.
'Madame Butterfly'(Italian title: Madama Butterfly) an Opera by Giacomo Puccini debuted on this day. Based upon a sentimental English story, it was not well received at first until a first act was added that introduced you to Butterfly so that her grief and death at the end made sense. No single work of art has created so many misconceptions about another culture than this opera, and yet it is so beautiful that it's attraction is understandable.
Finally, this week in 1885 saw the publication of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn which just may be the Great American Novel. The abused run away boy joins with the family loving run away slave for a trip down a river and into history via a work of genius that sheds light on all of humanity. If you have never made the trip with Huck and Jim, go grab a raft immediately.