Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

In the middle November 5, 2011

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TODAY I HAVE SEVERAL STORIES to share with you, all with a single common denominator: the middle.

Let’s start with the most recent. I made myself a sandwich for lunch—a little mayo, turkey deli meat and ham deli meat with a slice of pepperjack cheese layered in the middle. Nothing unusual about that.

The second half of my sandwich, minus the...

Until I bit into the sandwich and hit something that didn’t seem quite right. But I kept biting and chewing, thinking it was just the rough grains in the multi-grained bread or an edge on the meat.

But after several bites, I paused to investigate and discovered a piece of paper. Yes, people, I was eating the paper that separates cheese slices. I had removed one piece of paper while making the sandwich. Clearly I had not checked the flip side of the cheese slice.

WARNING: Always remove the paper from BOTH sides of the cheese slice before eating.

In relaying this story to my husband, he could only shake his head, laugh and repeat several times, “That’s my Audrey.”

Now onto those other “middle” stories, which have cast me in the role of a “middlewoman.”

Earlier this week I received a request from a retired Air Force chaplain for commissioned artwork. Not my art; I don’t paint or draw or sculpt or anything artsy like that. Rather, the retired military man was looking to contact Richard Vilendrer, a 72-year-old Faribault artist whom I met at the Faribault Farmers’ Market and featured in a September blog post. I spoke with Richard’s wife Carol several days ago and now I’m waiting to hear if Richard is being commissioned.

An example of Richard's nature and faith-inspired pen-and-ink and colored pencil artwork.

Another inquiry this week came from a videographer for Farm Rescue, an organization that helps farmers in need. The North Dakota man was requesting permission to use images from a July 1 storm (in southwestern Minnesota) which I published on my blog. Because I hadn’t taken the two photos he wanted, I had to contact my brother and my uncle. Done. I’ll tell you more about this organization next week.

Then, the same day, an inquiry came via a blog comment from a South Dakota writer. She wanted to know if I knew of a Minnesota organization that works to preserve prairie churches. I don’t. Do you?

On Friday I learned that I made my first art sale. Again, not my art. Not my money. But a reader saw my photo of a hideous “turkey choir” print in a blog post about a Stockholm, Wisconsin, antique shop and promptly put the print on hold to purchase. Do I get a commission on this sale?

The "singing turkeys" print I helped to sell.

Finally, today, a metro woman asked, via a blog comment, if I could find the man at the Faribault Farmers’ Market who sold fresh horseradish. I knew exactly who she needed to contact. So I dialed Dennis Gare’s number, spoke to his wife and hopefully fresh horseradish will soon be on its way to this reader’s house.

You might rightly conclude from the above stories, with the exception of that paper eating incident, that I am truly a “middlewoman.” And all because of the power of this blog.

Thank you, readers, for reading Minnesota Prairie Roots. Happy to help you if you’re in the market for art, photos, information or horseradish.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling