Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Happiness equals family and friendship December 3, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:58 AM
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SINCE I’VE TOUCHED on two hot button topics—defective shingles and dogs in grocery carts—the past two posts, I’m focusing this morning on the positive.

Good Monday morning to you. It’s 50 degrees here in southeastern Minnesota at 7 a.m. On December 3. Love it.

Didn’t love the thick fog so much Sunday morning traveling back from north of the Twin Cities metro after spending the night with my husband’s oldest sister and her husband. But we sure did enjoy the “alone” time with them for a post Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanksgiving Day dinner 2011 at my house with a small part of my family and extended family.

Thanksgiving Day dinner 2011 with my family and a small part of my extended family. File photo.

Typically when we gather with Randy’s family, it’s a whole mass of people with minimal time for one-on-one visiting. And as nieces and nephews marry and start families, the visits with extended family have become less frequent and we’ve now moved from an annual Christmas get together to a summer-time reunion. That’s fine by me as it’s one less place to be during the holiday season.

Anyway, our eldest daughter and her boyfriend also joined the four of us for Saturday evening’s meal of turkey and the trimmings. It’s the first time we’ve seen them since Marc moved in October from California to St. Paul. My mom asks me all the time, “How does Marc like Minnesota?”

I can now report that he seems to like it just fine. (Of course, he has not experienced a “real” Minnesota winter yet.) He commutes 12 minutes via the downtown St. Paul skyway system and one outdoor block to his place of employment.

Thanks to my friend, Mandy, we delivered an artificial Christmas tree to Marc for his St. Paul apartment. I sent a mass email to about a dozen friends last week asking if anyone had a tree they no longer needed and Mandy responded. Such great friends we have.

Speaking of friends, here’s one of the things I love about a town like Faribault, which, by my standards, is not a small town, but which by Twin Cities metro standards likely would be considered small-town. Yesterday while shopping at one of two local grocery stores, I encountered three friends. Yes, it takes awhile to get the cart filled when you “have to stop and visit.” But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

A shipped-in, store-bought strawberry can never match the taste of a fresh Minnesota berry, like those pictured here in this file photo of Straight River Farm berries.

Not the strawberries from Roger’s farm, but elsewhere. File photo.

Finally, and this is not meant to make anyone feel sorrowful. But a 79-year-old friend died on Friday. He had a myriad of health issues and his wife died only in May. They were a great Christian couple. We were especially close to Roger. He was always so kind and good to our family, giving us strawberries, sweetcorn and other produce he grew on his rural Faribault acreage.

But more than that, Roger embraced our family with a genuine and caring warmth. Several times Roger invited Randy and me out on a Sunday evening to play pegs and, I can’t remember the name of the game. We would play, but mostly listen to Roger tell his jokes and stories. He loved to tell jokes and stories.

We would laugh, and then laugh some more.

And when the game ended, Roger’s wife, Delores, would dish up the homemade ice cream Roger had made.

It is the seemingly simple things in life—like dinner with extended family and friendship—which make me happy. Life is good on this Monday morning in December.

WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY on this Monday morning?

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling