Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Happy birthday, Randy October 12, 2011

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TODAY MY HUSBAND is celebrating his 55th birthday, which now officially makes him as old as me. Yeah, I was smart and married a younger man, albeit by only about two weeks.

I’ve been contemplating what message to write here today to him. I decided, instead, to tell you a few things about Randy.

He’s the oldest boy in a family of nine children and was born in North Dakota, where he attended a one-room country school. As the story goes, one day the students were kept inside during recess because of coyotes roaming the schoolyard. True story, he swears.

Randy moved with his family to central Minnesota when he was six or seven, or some young age like that.

It was on the family’s farm south of Buckman that Randy saved his father’s life. Yes, you read that correctly. He saved his dad’s life. My spouse seldom talks about that October 21, 1967, accident shortly after his 11th birthday.

But he was there as his dad’s hand was pulled, along with corn stalks, into the spring-loaded rollers of a corn chopper. Blades sliced off his father’s fingers. Rollers trapped his arm.

And Randy was there to disengage the power take-off. He then raced across swampland and pasture to a neighbor’s farm. To save his father’s life. (You can read the details by clicking here.)

An Allis Chalmers corn chopper like this one exhibited at the 2010 Rice County Steam & Gas Engines Show, claimed my father-in-law's left hand and much of his arm in a 1967 accident. That's my husband, Randy, who saved his dad's life by running for help.

My spouse possesses a calm demeanor, meaning not much rattles him. He’s soft-spoken and funny in that quirky kind of humor way.

He does sudoku puzzles and is good at math and numbers and figuring stuff out.

His work as an automotive machinist at Parts Department, Inc., Northfield (NAPA) is always in demand. Suffice to say you better get in line. He’s that good at his job.

Randy at work in the NAPA machine shop in Northfield where he's worked since 1983.

He once owned a Harley, which was smashed in a crash, and once won a trip to the Bahamas.

Right about now, Randy’s probably eating his second or third piece of apple pie bars, his birthday treat at work. Tonight I’ll serve him his favorite cake, angel food, topped with one of his favorite fruits, raspberries.

Speaking of which, I need to bake that cake. Now.

Happy birthday and many more, Randy! (See, I used an exclamation mark, which I never use in my writing.)

I love you.

IF YOU WISH to leave a birthday message for Randy here, please do so. He reads my blog and is, indeed, one of my most vocal fans. Thank you for always supporting me in my writing, Randy.

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On our way to church in North Morristown

ON OUR WAY TO CHURCH on Sunday morning in North Morristown, my husband and I drove through some mighty fine country.

Past…

grain bins awaiting the season’s yield

autumn’s glory edging Cannon Lake

harvested corn fields

tree line and crop line

a farmer laboring

beauty and bounty

a clutch of bins

horses dallying in a barnyard

a shed weathered by time

an old brick house on a hill

to Trinity Lutheran Church, North Morristown.

We savored the best of a lovely, gorgeous, stunning, beautiful, wonderful, photographic October morning that transitioned into an unbelievably warm afternoon.

Typically we don’t get this many balmy October days here in Minnesota, meaning we need to appreciate each one while secretly hoarding memories of these days for the long winter months ahead.

For now I want to remember this Sunday, this drive west of Faribault to the little country church, Trinity Lutheran, edged by an alfalfa field and across the road, acres of corn.

I want to remember the warmth of the day and of the people with whom we worshiped.

I want to remember, too, the good food and fellowship afterward in the church basement as we celebrated this congregation’s annual fall dinner and craft sale.

CHECK BACK for posts about dinner and about Trinity church.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling