Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Celebrating Amber & Marc’s marriage October 1, 2013

Eleven round tables, which will seat up to 10, filled the reception space. The groom's parents and grandparents and other family members were seated at the table in the foreground.

Eleven round tables, which will seat up to 10 each, filled the reception space. The groom’s parents and grandparents and other family members were seated at the table in the foreground.

WHEN THE BRIDE AND GROOM, my eldest daughter and her new husband, envisioned a reception venue, they pictured a warehouse type space.

The couple arrives at the reception venue in the Bachrach Building in historic downtown Faribault. The social hour was held in the first floor Atrium and the reception in the second floor The Loft. The exterior floral pieces were created by my floral designer sister, Lanae Feser of Waseca Floral. Photo by and courtesy of Rochelle Louise Photography of Minneapolis.

The couple arrives at the reception venue in the Bachrach Building in historic downtown Faribault. The social hour was held in the first floor Atrium and the reception in the second floor The Loft. The exterior floral pieces were created by my floral designer sister, Lanae Feser of Waseca Floral. Photo by and courtesy of Rochelle Louise Photography of Minneapolis.

Marc specifically wanted exposed brick walls. Initially, I could not think of any place in Faribault fitting their vision. And then I remembered The Loft (probably Faribault’s best kept secret) in the historic Bachrach Building and invited the engaged couple to drive down from the metro to view the venue.

The couple looks at The Loft space with the bride's dad earlier this year.

The couple looks at The Loft space with the bride’s dad earlier this year.

The minute they walked into the second floor Loft, I knew they had found the perfect place to celebrate their marriage.

Beautiful natural light filters in through west facing windows as the newlyweds settle in at their sweetheart table.

Beautiful natural light filters in through west facing windows as the newlyweds settle in at their sweetheart table.

And celebrate we did in this room of exposed brick and limestone walls, a wooden floor upon which to dance and a bank of western windows flooding the room with natural light. Professional photographers Rochelle and Tom Muellenberg of Minneapolis based Rochelle Louise Photography raved about the beautiful lighting.

The bride's sister and maid of honor, Miranda, speaks and toasts the couple.

The bride’s sister and maid of honor, Miranda, speaks and toasts the couple.

As the sun set, we laughed and dined and talked and danced and raised our glasses thrice to toast the newlyweds.

BONUS RECEPTION PHOTOS:

wed

One of my favorite photos, converted to black and white to avoid the distraction of color. I love the emotions caught in this image.

The groom walks past the bride's parents' table.

The groom walks past the bride’s parents’ table, left.

The bride was beautiful in her stunning vintage replica dress.

The bride was beautiful, from all sides, in her stunning vintage replica dress.

Just look at how the natural light plays on the brick walls as the Rev. Robert Snyder, retired pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, leads the group in prayer.

Just look at how the natural light plays upon the brick walls and faces as the Rev. Robert Snyder, retired pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, leads the group in prayer.

Faribault based Arna Farmer Catering catered the meal of chicken breast in white wine sauce, roasted sweet potatoes and a mixed vegetable medley. Dessert of apple crisp and bars was served later. There was no wedding cake.

Faribault based Arna Farmer Catering & Cakes catered the meal of chicken breast in white wine sauce, roasted sweet potatoes, a mixed vegetable medley and bread (which is not shown here because I seldom eat bread). Dessert of apple crisp and bars was served later. There was no wedding cake. The food was outstanding. I’d recommend Arna and crew for the food and service anytime. Excellent.

The father of the bride, my husband Randy, starts his speech. He asked me to help write the speech since I am, um, yes, a writer. It was a hit with a mix of memories, humor and seriousness.

The father of the bride, my husband Randy, starts his speech. He asked me to help write the speech since I am, um, yes, a writer. It was a hit with a mix of memories, humor and seriousness. Our daughter and her husband watch from their corner sweetheart table.

My husband and I agreed that he should use several props to make his speech memorable. Here he pulls out Amber's favorite childhood doll, Sal, whom she dragged everywhere. Randy introduced the groom to Sal before handing over Amber's treasured doll.

My husband and I agreed that he should use several props to make his speech memorable. Here he pulls out Amber’s favorite childhood doll, Sal, whom she dragged everywhere. Randy introduced the groom to Sal before handing over Amber’s treasured doll. We also gave Amber a complete set of the Fox easy reader chapter books, including “Fox in Love,” by the Marshall brothers. They were among her favorites as a little girl. The DJ, per our request, also played a snippet of a Spice Girls song. That all-female band was one of Amber’s favorites as a teen. Randy concluded his speech by focusing on a parent’s love and welcoming Marc to our family.

The obliging DJ, Taylor from Taylor Made Tunes.

The obliging DJ, Taylor from metro based Taylor Made Tunes.

The Kletscher cousins (my side of the family) and significant others minus my daughter (who was out decorating the wedding car) and my niece Hillary, who'd already left.

The Kletscher cousins (my side of the family) and spouses/significant others minus my daughter (who was out decorating the wedding car) and minus my niece Hillary, who’d already left. That’s my son, Caleb, third from the left in the white shirt in the back row. He was an usher.

Meet the Schmidts: Jon Eric, the groom's brother and best man, left; the bride, Amber; the groom, Marc; and Jon Eric's wife, Stephani. Photo courtesy of Jon Eric Schmidt.

Meet the Schmidts: Jon Eric, the groom’s brother and best man, left; the bride, Amber; the groom, Marc; and Jon Eric’s wife, Stephani. Photo courtesy of Jon Eric Schmidt. Jon Eric and Stephani were married earlier this year in their native California.

The single ladies celebrate after one of them catches the bouquet.

The single ladies celebrate after one of them catches the bouquet. Much to my relief, there was no garter toss.

The celebration ended shortly after the couple left at 9:30 p.m.

The celebration ended shortly after the couple left at 9:30 p.m. That’s Sal peeking out of the cloth bag carried by the bride.

FYI: Click here to see photos of the reception set-up in the second floor Loft and the first floor Atrium, where the social hour was held.

You will find more information about Arna Farmer Catering & Cakes by clicking here.

For info about Rochelle Louise Photography, click here. And to view Rochelle’s blog post about Amber and Marc’s wedding, click here.

To learn more about Waseca Floral, click here.

To view earlier wedding posts, check Minnesota Prairie Roots archives from the past week.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Photo by Rochelle Louise Photography is copyrighted and used here with permission.

 

Love one another: Amber & Marc’s wedding day September 30, 2013

Trinity Lutheran Church, decorated with ferns from my friend, Mike, and with hydrangea pew flowers created by my floral designer sister. Trinity is our family's church, where the bride was baptized and confirmed and attended Christian Day School.

Trinity Lutheran Church, decorated with ferns from my friend, Mike, and with hydrangea pew flowers by my floral designer sister, Lanae Feser of Waseca Floral. Trinity is our family’s church, where the bride was baptized and confirmed and attended Faribault Lutheran School.

Dear friends, since God so loves us, we also ought to love one another.—John 4:11

LOVE. GOD’S LOVE. The young couple’s love for one another. Love brought family and friends together at 4 p.m. Sunday, September 22, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Faribault, Minnesota, to witness the marriage of my daughter, Amber, and her now husband, Marc.

I love that they chose Sunday as their wedding day, although I know not all invited guests were pleased.

Amber and Marc. Photo by Minneapolis based Rochelle Louise Photography.

Amber and Marc. Photo by and courtesy of Minneapolis based Rochelle Louise Photography.

But Sunday, a day of rest, a day set aside for the Lord, seemed the perfect day for this couple to unite in marriage. Their faith has been an important part of their relationship from the beginning and will center their lives together.

John 4:11 was among their chosen Scripture readings.

Mr. and Mrs. Schmidt are absolutely, incredibly, in love. Photo by Rochelle Louise Photography.

Mr. and Mrs. Schmidt are absolutely, incredibly, in love. Photo by and courtesy of Rochelle Louise Photography.

They also chose, rather than to light a unity candle or pour sand from two containers into one, to share Communion. Just the two of them. The pastor noted in his message, how he appreciated this decision, how years ago Communion was a part of most Lutheran wedding services.

When the young couple partook of The Lord’s Supper together for the first time as husband and wife, tears edged into my eyes, just as they had earlier when my husband walked his daughter down the aisle. It was an emotional moment.

And even though the mother-of-the-groom vowed that she would not cry—and she didn’t—I would not, could not, make that promise. For I knew I would never keep it.

BEFORE THE WEDDING SNAPSHOTS:

The bride and her attendants with the stunning bouquets created by my floral designer sister, Lanae Feser of Waseca Floral. Photo by and courtesy of Rochelle Louise Photography.

The bride and her attendants with the stunning bouquets created by my floral designer sister, Lanae Feser of Waseca Floral. Photo by and courtesy of Rochelle Louise Photography.

The bridal party awaits the beginning of their photo shoot.

The bridal party awaits the beginning of their photo shoot. The second-hand bridal gown was purchased at Andrea’s Vintage Bridal in Minneapolis. The bridesmaids’ dresses were custom made by dressmakers in Hong Kong (I think) and purchased through etsey.

When my daughter tried on this dress, we all knew, just knew, it was the one for her. She had it taken in and a sash added with no other alterations made.

When my daughter tried on this beaded replica vintage dress, we all knew, just knew, it was the one for her. She had it taken in and a sash added with no other alterations.

Sister of the bride and maid of honor, Miranda.

Sister of the bride and maid of honor, Miranda.

A single hydrangea adorned each pew.

A single hydrangea adorned every other pew.

The wedding party heads outside for photos. No, I did not follow out of respect for the professional photographer.

The wedding party heads outside for photos. No, I did not follow out of respect for the professional photographers and at the bridal couple’s request. It’s best to stay out of the way. Because of that, dear readers, I took no formal wedding couple/group shots.

The flowers, oh, the flowers. My beyond talented sister, Lanae of Waseca Floral, created the bouquets.

The flowers, oh, the flowers. My beyond talented sister, Lanae of Waseca Floral, created the bouquets.

FYI: Please click here to check out the work of Minneapolis based Rochelle Louise Photography. This husband-wife team set a serene mood for the photo sessions with their relaxed and confident attitudes. I cannot wait to see the remaining results of their nine hours covering Amber and Marc’s wedding. From this first glimpse of their work in three of the photos so credited above, I am beyond impressed. Thank you, Rochelle and Tom. When you click onto Rochelle’s website, also click onto her blog to view her take on Amber and Marc’s wedding and some of her favorite photos.

Click here to reach Waseca Floral, where my sister, Lanae Feser, works as head designer.

To learn more about Andrea’s Vintage Bridal in Minneapolis, click here.

To view previous “My daughter’s wedding” posts, click here and then here and also here.

Two more wedding posts will be forthcoming.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Photos by Rochelle Louise Photography are copyrighted and published here with permission.

 

A photo essay: St. John’s Germanfest in rural Minnesota September 29, 2013

I AM 100 PERCENT German.

My plate, filled with German foods at St. John's annual Germanfest.

My plate, filled with German foods like sauerbraten, sauerkraut, German potato salad, sweet and sour beets and more at St. John’s annual Germanfest.

I like German food.

Today was a gorgeous autumn day here in southeastern Minnesota, as glorious as they get.

The steeple of the historic stone church with the roofline of a German themed beverage booth in the foreground.

The steeple of the historic stone church with the roofline of a German themed beverage booth in the foreground.

St. John’s United Church of Christ, Wheeling Township, rural Faribault, was hosting its annual Germanfest at its historic stone church out in the country.

Just a snippet of the buffet line.

Just a snippet of the buffet line.

I had to eat.

The social hall and rooms off the dining area were filled with diners.

The social hall and rooms off the dining area were filled with diners.

And I couldn’t think of a better place to dine on this Sunday afternoon than at St. John’s. Great food in the company of wonderful folks. Out in the country. Perfect weather. Perfect day.

Some of the St. John's kitchen crew, including long-time member Elsie Keller who is making German potato salad.

Some of the St. John’s kitchen crew, including long-time member Elsie Keller who is making German potato salad.

One of the major components of Germanfest is the fabulous quilt show inside the sanctuary.

One of the major components of Germanfest is the fabulous quilt show inside the sanctuary.

Among the incredible quilts were these three hung from the balcony.

Among the incredible quilts were these three hung from the balcony.

Each quilt comes with a story, this one among my favorites.

Each quilt comes with a story, this one among my favorites.

That glorious quilt show.

That glorious quilt show. Here you are seeing only a snippet of the quilts draped over pews.

My husband and I each bought a quilt raffle ticket.

My husband and I each bought a quilt raffle ticket.

The beautifully-appointed altar, complete with German and American flags.

The beautifully-appointed altar, complete with German and American flags.

Outside the church, I fell in love with the adorable goats at the petting zoo.

Outside the church, I fell in love with the adorable goats at the petting zoo.

And this little guy loved the miniature donkeys.

And this little guy loved the miniature donkeys.

Along with fresh produce and bakes goods and greeting cards (some published by Warner Press with my verses)

Along with fresh produce and baked goods and greeting cards (some published by Warner Press with verses I wrote) and apple jelly was this art (including these cute pooches).

Bingo drew the young and the older.

Bingo drew the young and the older.

Old-time music drew dancers and listeners to the tent next to the church.

Old-time music drew dancers and listeners to the tent next to the church.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Before the wedding, in black & white September 27, 2013

ARRIVING AT TRINITY LUTHERAN CHURCH in Faribault prior to the appointed family photo time at my daughter’s wedding on Sunday, September 22, I managed to sneak in a few photos without intruding. I hope.

Randy and I had come a bit earlier than we were supposed to be there. But I figured the parents could bend the rules ever so slightly as long as I stayed inside the church and did not follow the wedding party outdoors for the professional photo shoot.

Here are a few of my favorite pre-ceremony images, converted to black and white:

My daughter Amber, the bride.

My daughter Amber, the bride.

The bride lifts up her dress as she walks through the narthex.

The bride lifts her dress as she walks through the narthex.

Details inside the women's dressing/prep room.

Details inside the women’s dressing/prep room.

Miranda, the maid of honor, poses for a snapshot in the women's dressing room.

Miranda, the maid of honor, poses for a snapshot in the women’s dressing room.

Barb, the pianist, practices.

Barb, the pianist, practices.

Tim, an usher, waits.

Tim, an usher, waits.

And back in the changing room, the bride uses her smart phone.

And back in the changing room, the bride uses her smart phone.

On Monday I’ll bring you more images shot before the service, this time in color, including long-awaited (at least I think you’re waiting) photos of the bridal gown.

FYI: Click here and here to see the first two posts in this “My daughter’s wedding” series.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Teamwork transformation of my daughter’s historic wedding reception venue September 24, 2013

LONG BEFORE THE WEDDING, the preparations begin.

Date chosen. Check.

Church, reception venue, caterer and floral designer booked. Check.

Dresses and dress shirts and other wedding attire selected and purchased. Check.

It takes hours and hours and hours, more than I ever imagined, to pull off a wedding.

It takes families working together and patience and love and endurance.

It takes trusting in others and prayer and encouragement and support and focus.

All of this I’ve learned. My eldest daughter’s wedding day on Sunday was near perfect from the weather to the pastor’s message to the ceremony to the toasts to the food to the venue to the flowers and everything in between.

There were only a few minor flaws, like running out of paper towels and a key that wouldn’t work for the supply room; two wedding party crashers who wandered in off the street and were about to help themselves to dessert before being escorted out; and an usher (the bride’s brother) who was in a Massachusetts hospital emergency room eight days before the wedding with an asthma attack and a severe viral infection (lots of people praying for his recovery; he was healed by wedding day).

Now, days after the wedding, I am sorting through photos and reflecting on everything, feeling blessed beyond measure that my daughter, Amber, has found the love of her life in Marc. Anyone who has seen the two of them together can see their deep love for one another. They are blessed. And so is this new mother-in-law. Blessed beyond measure.

TODAY I BRING YOU the first in a series of wedding posts, this one focusing on wedding reception venue prep and images. Enjoy this peek inside, in my opinion, one of Faribault’s most beautiful reception spaces, The Loft in the historic Bachrach Building along Central Avenue in downtown Faribault.

The Bachrach Building in downtown Faribault was beautifully restored several years ago to its original appearance. The Loft space is on the second floor in the back half of the building.

The Bachrach Building in downtown Faribault was beautifully restored several years ago to its original appearance. The Loft space is on the second floor in the back half of the building. It features exposed brick and limestone, wood floors and a bank of western windows. Great space with exceptional natural light.

The bride's brother, Caleb, steam presses tablecloths while the father-of-the-groom, Eric, works on setting tables.

The bride’s brother, Caleb, steam presses tablecloths while the father-of-the-groom, Eric, places napkins on tables.

The groom, Marc, worked just as hard as everyone else to transform The Loft.

The groom, Marc, worked just as hard as everyone else to transform The Loft.

The bride assumed sash tying duties. Only 115 sashes to tie.

The bride assumed sash tying duties. Only 115 sashes to tie.

Best man and brother of the groom, Jon Eric, folds napkins.

Best man and brother of the groom, Jon Eric, folds napkins.

The ironing crew, from left, maid-of-honor Miranda (the bride's sister), Lynn (mother of the groom) and Stephani (sister-in-law of the groom and reader). Ironing was, by far, the biggest and longest task. I ironed all of the sashes and napkins prior to set up day, so did little ironing of tablecloths.

The ironing crew, from left, maid-of-honor Miranda (the bride’s sister), Lynn (mother of the groom) and Stephani (sister-in-law of the groom and reader). Ironing was, by far, the biggest and longest task. I ironed all of the sashes and napkins prior to set up day, so did little ironing of tablecloths.

The Helbling and Schmidt families working together.

The Helbling and Schmidt families working together.

The father-of-the-bride, my dear husband, swept the downstairs Atrium area used for the social hour. He also vacuumed the stairs and other carpet, wisely avoiding any ironing or sash tying duties.

The father-of-the-bride, my dear husband, swept the downstairs Atrium area used for the social hour. He also vacuumed the stairs and other carpet, wisely avoiding any ironing or sash tying duties.

Outside, my floral designer sister, Lanae of Waseca Floral, fills urns with hydrangea from my yard and with ornamental kale and curly willow from her yard.

Outside, my floral designer sister, Lanae of Waseca Floral, fills urns with hydrangea from my yard and with ornamental kale and curly willow and greens from her yard. She is one talented floral designer and the BEST sister ever.

The floral designs my sister created outside the Bachrach Building and still in place.

The floral designs my sister created outside the Bachrach Building and still in place. If you like what you see, go to the “About Us” page on the Waseca Floral website and send her an email.

The first floor Atrium in set up process.

The first floor Atrium in set-up process. The table to the left held Faribault made cheeses purchased at The Cheese Cave which is just off this room to the right.

Looking down from The Loft into The Atrium.

Looking down from The Loft into The Atrium. My husband, Randy, and I set up this area Sunday morning. Missing from this photo are a vintage suitcase used for cards and set on the gift table, to the left.

Back upstairs, work continues on the reception set up.

Back upstairs, work continues on the reception set up.

After hours of teamwork...

After hours of teamwork…it all comes together.

My floral designer sister, Lanae of Waseca Floral, created these stunning centerpieces using mostly flowers from her garden and that of friend Carol. They were perfect. The vintage blue Ball canning jars were rented from Mike, who lives two blocks from me. I stopped at his garage sale this summer, saw the jars and learned about his jar rental.

My floral designer sister, Lanae of Waseca Floral, created these stunning centerpieces using mostly flowers from her garden and that of her friend and co-worker, Carol. The flowers were perfect. The vintage blue Ball canning jars were rented from Mike, who lives two blocks from me. I stopped at his garage sale this summer, saw the jars and learned about his jar rental.

Just another view of the beautiful The Loft space on the upper level of the historic Bachrach Building.

Just another view of the beautiful The Loft space on the upper level of the historic Bachrach Building.

A "sweetheart table" just for the bride and groom. It's covered in one of the vintage tablecloths from my collection. The table was purchased for $15 months ago at a Montgomery, Minnesota, used furniture store. At the time of purchase, my husband asked why I was buying it. "Because I like it," I told him then. Little did we know our daughter would use if for her wedding.

A “sweetheart table” just for the bride and groom. It’s covered in one of the vintage tablecloths from my collection. The table was purchased for $15 months ago at a Montgomery, Minnesota, used furniture store. At the time of purchase, my husband asked why I was buying it. “Because I like it,” I told him then. Little did we know our daughter would use it at her wedding reception.

Vintage wine glasses, gifted by the groom's parents, Herb and Norma. They flew in from the groom's native California for the wedding.

Vintage wine glasses, gifted by the groom’s grandparents, Herb and Norma. The Schmidts flew in from the groom’s native California for the wedding. Other of the groom’s family flew in from places like New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Mississippi.

One last view of the reception venue with a space left open for the dance floor. By around 5 p.m., The Loft was ready for guests to arrive 24 hours later.

One last view of the reception venue with a space left open for the dance floor. By around 5 p.m. Saturday, The Loft was ready for guests to arrive 24 hours later. Thank you, Schmidt family and my family and sister Lanae for all of your hard work in creating a beautiful reception setting.

Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Faithful support of Christian education September 19, 2013

The crowd of bidders at the annual CVLHS auction.

The crowd of bidders at the annual Cannon Valley Lutheran High School auction. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT AN AUCTION. Sure, the cause may be to empty the house, settle an estate, raise monies for a charity or cause.

But the beauty of an auction lies in the bringing together of folks in a sense of community to achieve a defined goal.

Never have I felt a deeper bonding of souls than at the annual Cannon Valley Lutheran High School Auction Fundraiser, which I’ve attended for many of its past six years. I feel like I’m among family at this auction in the Morristown Community Center. We’re all there to support young people desiring a Christian education.

This Saturday, September 21, CVLHS holds its seventh annual auction event beginning at 4:30 p.m. with a silent auction (that closes at 6 p.m.) followed by the live auction at 7 p.m.

Auctioning of beautiful pieced quilt at the CVLHS live auction.

Auctioning of a beautiful pieced quilt at the CVLHS live auction. Volunteer Development Director Mike Young is pictured on the right. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

Organizers—including my friend, volunteer Development Director Mike Young—work tirelessly to put this event together. Mike’s not going to like me singling him out. But sometimes that’s OK, to be publicly thanked for selfless dedication and hard work.

Embroidered dish towels were among silent auction offerings.

Embroidered dish towels were among silent auction offerings at a past auction. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

Jars of pickled beets on display.

Jars of pickled beets and other fresh and canned produce and baked goods are available for purchase. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

You can't beat the food served during the CVLHS auction, like this pork sandwich, potato salad and homemade apple pie.

You can’t beat the food served during the CVLHS auction, like this pork sandwich, potato salad and homemade apple pie. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

So many individuals and businesses contribute to the success of this event with donations of handcrafted and new items, garden produce and baked goods, gift certificates and more, including their time.

They do it all for the students attending Cannon Valley, a grade 9 – 12 Christian high school located in Morristown.

Except this school year, classes have been temporarily suspended in order for CVLHS to repay debts, regroup and recruit more students. It’s not easy funding a private school—relying mostly on donations, gifts, congregational support, tuition and fundraisers to pay the bills. The plan is to reopen the school next fall.

"Breaking Bread," an original painting by well-known Faribault artist Rhody Yule, will be sold during the live auction.

“Breaking Bread,” an original painting by well-known Faribault artist Rhody Yule, will be sold during the live auction.

Now the fine folks at Cannon Valley and their supporters could have easily tossed in the proverbial towel and said, “That’s it. We’re done.” But they didn’t. They are choosing to move forward despite the financial challenges. That’s faith, dear readers. Faith.

FYI: To learn more about Cannon Valley Lutheran High School, click here.

To learn more about artist Rhody Yule, click here.

CVLHS supporter Kevin Becker repurposed this early 1900s headboard and bed frame in to a storage bench. The headboard was built by the grandfather of the Rev. Robert Snyder, a retired pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church, Faribault.

CVLHS supporter Kevin Becker repurposed this early 1900s headboard and bed frame in to a storage bench. The headboard/footboard was built by the grandfather of the Rev. Robert Snyder, a retired pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church, Faribault. Trinity congregation is a CVLHS association member/supporter. Photo courtesy of CVLHS.

Here are some of the items to be sold at the live auction beginning at 7 p.m.: farm fresh hamburger; a get-away for four to Branson, Missouri; tickets to the Minnesota Zoo and Chanhassen Dinner Theatre; a week’s stay at Lake Okoboji, Iowa; two half hogs; a Cedar Garden Arbor Electric organ; handcrafted Intarsia art; a Minnesota Twins print autographed by Tony Oliva; garden art; and more.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Flowers from Steve September 9, 2013

Twiehoff Gardens along St. Paul Road in Faribault offers an abundance of fresh produce.

Twiehoff Gardens along St. Paul Road in Faribault offers an abundance of fresh produce. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

“DO YOU HAVE ANY GLADS?” I asked Steve Twiehoff after my husband and I selected fresh baby red potatoes, green beans and a bag of northern Minnesota grown wild rice at Twiehoff Gardens on Faribault’s east side Sunday afternoon.

“I stopped cutting them,” Steve answered. “The deer were eating them.”

Old-fashioned gladiolus have been a mainstay at Twiehoff Gardens for decades.

Old-fashioned gladioli have been a mainstay at Twiehoff Gardens for decades. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

I must have looked disappointed or sighed because he told me then and there that I could head out to the field and cut whatever gladioli I wanted—three for $1.

“Where?”

He pointed toward the slim opening in the pole shed doors, past the onions and gourds and pumpkins piled on a trailer, then outside and across the gravel parking lot and up the hill.

This is as close as I got to the glads, standing along the shoulder of the road photographing them.

Gladioli grow in a field near Utica in Winona County. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

“I’ll be back,” I said accepting the clippers this vegetable farmer handed to me. I aimed for the field that held glads, flowers rooted deep in my memory. I can still see the rows of gladioli rising above the greenery of the vegetable garden, splashing pinks and yellow, but mostly orangish red, across the land. My mom’s one small spot of beauty upon soil otherwise designated mostly for crops to feed the family and the livestock.

Steve knew none of this when he gave me the clippers.

But as I worked my way across the uneven and weedy patch of abandoned vegetable and flower garden in my flip flops, I thought of my mom and of her gladioli and how each fall she dug those bulbs—and later I did, too—to winter over in the cellar, to replant in the spring.

The three stems of gladiolus I snipped in Steve's garden.

The three stems of gladiolus I snipped in Steve’s garden.

I snipped three stems of pink blossoms from Steve’s garden, the only trio that appeared salvageable.

Clippers and blooms clutched in my hand, I aimed back for the pole shed to give Steve my dollar.

I laid the flowers on the counter and reached to unclasp my purse. “You can have them,” he said.

I stopped, looked at him. “Are you sure?”

He was.

“Thank you. That is so sweet.”

I picked up the stems. A smile touched my lips. I strode past the onions and gourds and pumpkins piled on the trailer, slipped through the slim opening between the pole shed doors, climbed into the van and considered how Steve had touched my heart with his thoughtfulness and kindness.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

 
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