LATE SUNDAY MORNING we turned off the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Highway in Springfield, pulled by the prairie winds.
That would be Prairie Winds Antiques, an appropriate name for a business on the edge of this farming community on the wind-swept prairie of southwestern Minnesota.
My sister Lanae had stopped there the day before and picked up an antique—shelves or a box or something—I never saw it.
“There’s an antique store in Springfield?” I asked, even exclaimed when she raved about the place.
“Oh, yeah,” she said.
And that was enough to draw me to Prairie Winds Antiques. So, Sunday, as my husband, son and I were returning to Faribault from a weekend in rural Redwood County, the guys indulged me (sort of) and we pulled off U.S. Highway 14.
I must clarify that this stop did not come without protest from the teenager in the back seat who was reading a book and was overtired from a night of star-gazing under the inky black expanse of prairie sky.
But we stopped anyway, and lucky for him, but unlucky for me, Prairie Winds Antiques was closed, despite the OPEN sign.
That didn’t stop me from poking around the exterior of the shop, where a cluttered yard full of antiques and collectibles sat exposed to the elements. Pails, tables, signs, farm machinery, garden art, soda bottles, wash tubs, bicycles, sleds, an old car…lots to peruse in the presence of an impatient son.
So I hurried as quickly as I can hurry around old stuff, snapping a few photos and wondering if the pile of stuff that looked like it was in a pile of junk to be burned was really a pile to be burned. I was tempted to take the painted wooden bird with the spindly wire legs from the burning pile because it reminded me of the kitschy painted wooden yard art my grandpa staked in his front yard.
But I didn’t.
You can bet that the next time we’re driving U.S. Highway 14—the road west so many years ago for those brave, adventuresome pioneers—that we’ll pull into Prairie Winds Antiques again. I need to get inside that place. Oh, yeah.
© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling