Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Did they crown her with a ……….? January 16, 2012

SATURDAY EVENING while flipping through television channels, I came across the talent portion of the Miss America Pageant.

I have not watched this competition in years so, when I saw that Miss Wisconsin was still in the running for the crown, I remained tuned in. I had to root for the Midwest girl. And now that my second daughter lives in eastern Wisconsin, I also have taken a greater interest in Minnesota’s neighbor.

When Miss Wisconsin, 23-year-old Laura Kaeppeler, was crowned Miss America, I fired a text off to my daughter.

ME: Miss Wisconsin was just crowned Miss America.

I photographed this couple modeling cheesehead hats in a Wisconsin cheese store last spring.

DAUGHTER:  Was she wearing a green dress w/ a yellow sash? Did they crown her w/ a cheesehead instead of a tiara?

(Note, dear readers, that I am, at this point, laughing so hard that I can’t immediately text back. My daughter is, of course, referring to the gold and green colors of the Green Bay Packers and to the popular cheesehead hats worn by many a Packers fan. Since we were on a humor roll, I decided to tell a little fib.)

ME:  She has a big G tattooed on her shoulder.

DAUGHTER:  Are u making that up?

ME:  What do u think? U live in Packerland.

DAUGHTER:  Lol. Well it was probably a wash off one then.

ME:  Maybe.

(Dear Wisconsinites, I know you possess a sense of humor or I would not have shared this exchange with you. I love your state and your Packers mania and your cheese and your Spotted Cow beer and your cranberry wine and your old barns and small towns and historic buildings and beautiful, changing countryside…)

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling