Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Nighttime roadblock outside Faribault August 21, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 9:10 AM

It’s 11:10 at night and my phone rings. My sister Lanae, who has just left my house, is on her way home from Faribault to Waseca after attending a family picnic in Minneapolis.

“There’s something big going on out here,” she says. “I’m stopped outside of town and there are cop cars all over.”

We speculate that she may have arrived on the scene of an accident. But she sees nothing, except all those squad cars.

“I’ve gotta go,” she blurts abruptly and then she is gone, just like that.

Soon her car pulls into my driveway.

Now she is inside my kitchen telling me about the roadblock. A cop walked up to her car “with a big, honkin’ gun,” she says, and ordered her to back up and leave. She did. No questions asked.

She is still shaken and keeps repeating “big, honkin’ gun.”

I can only imagine how Lanae felt, to have a police officer approach her vehicle with a mammoth weapon in the pitch black of the night.

We pull out the map and figure a new route for her to get home. And she leaves, even though I suggest she stay overnight.

That night I dream, about an escaped prisoner holding my family hostage. I know this nightmare comes from my sister’s experience, from my subconscious fear.

Later I learn there was no accident, no hostage situation, but rather people shooting at bats with a shotgun. A story in the local newspaper reports the bat shooters used 28 shells. Law enforcement arrived because of shots fired and apparently the situation was still unfolding when Lanae drove into the area.

I am relieved, but angry that my sister had to go through this frightening experience because of such stupidity.

How crazy are these people, to fire shotguns in the dark of night, at bats?

© Copyright 2009 Audrey Kletscher Helbling