From Lake Michigan to Lake Wobegon

For more than a decade, the affable and avuncular Jack Zimmerman knew just about every blade of grass at Ravinia as a public relations rep for the festival. In a fairy-tale turn, Jack returned to Ravinia last weekend, but this time on stage, a guest of American Public Radio giant Garrison Keillor. Jack read "Wakes" on the live national broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion from Ravinia. If Royko could be folksy, this Chicago-centric story strikes that tone as it recalls a South Side family with an unusual pastime forced to brave the wacky streets of the North Side. "Wakes" (get a glimpse of Jack reading it at the link below) is one of six stories intermixed with jazz by his son Andrew Zimmerman on the new CD The Gift. I've been of friend of Jack's since 1985, when we were new in newspapers together. I only hope the sense of accomplishment he felt as the laughter and applause of the audience reached him on stage was as great as the pride I felt as the one laughing the loudest.
Cheers, Jack!

--Nick Pullia
Ravinia's director of communications