Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

In which I meet Wilson, a member of the fun-loving Schrot family July 25, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 7:21 AM
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JIM SCHROT WORRIES about his relative, Wilson Schrot. After all, Jim caught Wilson attempting to steal gas from the gas barrel at Jim’s rural Faribault home last Thursday evening.

Jamie, Jim’s grown and married daughter, figures Wilson simply ran out of gas for his lawnmower and decided to help himself. She appears willing to overlook Wilson’s latest antic.

“He (Wilson) gets into a lot of trouble,” Jim says. The two don’t elaborate, but say Wilson shows up in the most unexpected of places at the most unexpected of times.

Jamie once discovered Wilson inside her tent, curled up in her bed. He’s climbed into family-owned tractors and trucks, but stopped short of stealing them.

Not that he could. Wilson, you see, is a dummy. You know, a mannequin.

See Wilson Schrot sitting there in the front passenger seat of Jim’s 1940 Ford. (I noticed several dummies in the storefront window behind the car. Wilson’s friends, perhaps, keeping a watchful eye on him?)

The Schrot family has, for the past several years, embraced Wilson and his shenanigans, ever since a cousin dragged him home from somewhere. No one seems to remember details. Or at least they weren’t sharing that information with me when I first spotted Wilson in the front passenger seat of Jim’s 1940 Ford at last Friday evening’s Faribault Car Cruise Night.

My first photo of Wilson, taken shortly before Jamie showed up to snap pictures with her cell phone.

I was photographing the Hawaiian shirt clad dummy with the blonde mullet wig when Jamie showed up to snap photos of him, too. I engaged her in conversation and that’s when I was introduced to Wilson, named after the volleyball in the Tom Hanks’ film, Cast Away.

Not that Wilson is a castaway. I mean, Jim didn’t abandon Wilson after he caught him trying to steal gas. Instead, he brought him to the car show in an apparent half-hearted attempt to find a date for Wilson.

But, Jim admits, “He doesn’t get too many chicks because of his mullet.”

Jim and Jamie suggest Wilson switch out his hair piece—he has several—to improve his appearance and likelihood of landing a date.

I’m not sure Wilson needs the Schrots help, though. He seems to draw plenty of attention on his own. An unidentified man backing his classic car into the space next to Jim’s Ford asked Wilson, “I’m not getting too close to your car, am I?” Then he noticed that the freckled Wilson with the duct taped arm was a dummy. “I’m glad no one was there to hear me.”

Jim reposed Wilson, who recently had carpal tunnel surgery (thus the duct tape), so the story goes.

The Schrot family has given Wilson a life, even going so far as to establish a Facebook page for him. Ask Jamie if she set up Wilson’s Facebook account and her quick, snipped response of “maybe” is enough to tell you she did.

Based on Wilson’s Facebook page—the public part that I can read because I’m not on Facebook—he is a country boy who likes his beer. He also likes singer Johnny Cash; the movie, The Adventures of Bob & Doug McKenzie: Strange Brew; the book, I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell; and the tv show, Richard Bacon’s Beer & Pizza Club. He also enjoys the sport of beer darts.

Wilson certainly keeps the extended Schrot family entertained, laughing, making up stories and plotting his next adventure.

It is the stories, Jamie says, which make the whole Wilson gig fun, if not crazy. For example, when Wilson was caught trying to steal that gas, Jamie got the story rolling about his lawnmower running out of gas.

Ask if their family is kind of crazy and Jamie shoots back: “Everybody else is crazy, but we’re normal.”

Uh-huh, Jamie. What’s that story about the time Wilson was dismembered at a party, or as Jim corrects, a “social gathering?”

Meet Jim Schrot, not to be confused with Wilson. I first spotted Jim in September 2009 at the Rice County Steam and Gas Engine show and dubbed him the flamboyant John Deere guy. It fits. See why this family embraces the likes of Wilson Schrot.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling