Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Sprinkler gymnastics on the Fourth and more family fun July 7, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:57 AM
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The winning team in the bean bag toss is quite obvious.


How many times does your mom have to tell you to do something before it gets done?

Name something you write down to remember.

If you know the answers (see below) to those Family Feud style questions, then you should have been at my middle brother’s home in southwestern Minnesota on Sunday. We sparred in a brief version of this television game show with young family members competing against old, “old” being anyone 50 or older.

Settled onto our lawn chairs on the driveway in front of the garage, one member of each team stepped up to a cooler, introduced themselves and then poised with hands behind backs awaiting the question. Lacking a buzzer to buzz, we substituted a plastic gallon of cheese balls plopped upon a cooler. Slap the cheese ball lid cover first and your team plays first.

If I hadn’t been so intent on winning this game, I may have thought to take pictures of the cheese ball container slapping contestants.

However, I took plenty of photos of the earlier sprinkler gymnastics. I refrained from that activity until later, at the exact moment one gymnast grabbed the sprinkler and ran onto the patio spraying all non-participants, including my 79-year-old mom. Just before that happened, I had decided to join the sprinkler crew. Timing is everything.

When you view these sprinkler gymnastics images, you will understand why I hesitated initially to join the group. I did not want to risk a leap onto water-slicked grass. Nor did I want to appear too foolish in that YouTube video my nephew-in-law was filming.

My extended family doesn't just nilly willy run through a sprinkler. Oh, no. We make it into a game. In this case, follow the leader. Whatever the leader does, you do.

From the youngest participant at age 17 to...

...one of the oldest sprinkler gymnasts at age 50.

Ah, my extended family loves to have fun.

Later, not long after the sun set on the Minnesota prairie, out came the sparklers. More fun. More laughter. More memories.

Sparkler fun for the younger ones.

Combine sparklers and a slow shutter speed and you get some interesting images.

I can’t think of anywhere else I would rather celebrate Independence Day than with my extended family on the land I love most, southwestern Minnesota.

After we shoot "nice" photos, we always like to do a fun photo. I am in the back row in the grass green shirt. Can you tell which of us were teens in the 1970s? (Hint: See the symbol we're making with two fingers. You would think we could be more creative.) All family members, except me, shall remain unidentified.

HOW DID YOU CELEBRATE your Fourth of July?

HERE ARE THE TOP answers to the three questions posed at the beginning of this post:

Vacation, two times and phone numbers.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


2 Responses to “Sprinkler gymnastics on the Fourth and more family fun”

  1. Bernie Says:

    I want to know who won? The kids or the old folks? Sounds like a fun game.
    Love the pictures. Did you go through the sprinkler?

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Sorry, I forgot to tell you that the “kids” won Family Feud. We only had time for six rounds. It was a blast.

      I caught the end of the sprinkler gymnastics, so only had to follow-the-leader twice, enough to cool me down.

      I have lots more photos, but they won’t be publicly shared. Don’t want to embarrass any family members.

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