Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Words matter January 20, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:38 PM
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IT’S THAT KIND of afternoon here in Faribault, you know, the type where you just want to curl up on the couch under an afghan with a good book or, like my husband, nap in the recliner with the television blaring football in the background.

After church, followed by a trip to the grocery store this morning, I have no desire to step outside into the frigid nine-degree cold.

When I complained about that cold upon entering church this morning, my friend Kathi responded that at least I didn’t have to shovel snow.

Her comment set the tone for the day, reminding me that life sometimes can be exactly how you choose to perceive it.

Today I choose to see the beauty of white in daisies, one of my favorite flowers.

Today I choose to see the beauty of white in daisies, one of my favorite flowers.

Then, even before I pulled off my coat, my friend Joy handed me a packaged date-filled cookie from Saudi Arabia because, she said, “You gave me those date cookies at Christmas and I figured you liked dates.” How thoughtful was that?

Upon entering the fellowship hall, I spotted two cookbooks lying on a table with a “free” sign on them. I grabbed them for my daughters and bee-lined for the kitchen to thank Joy. I knew, just knew, the cookbooks had come from her.

Outside the fellowship hall, I greeted Bob, who lost both his parents within six months of each other last year. I asked how he was doing and he told me how he and several family members had been sorting through his parents’ possessions yesterday and came across greeting cards and notes they’d saved. Among those notes were some I’d sent to the couple, who always showed such kindness and generosity to my family. Bob shared an observation by one of his sisters: “That Audrey, she sure has a way with words.”

That Bob’s mom would choose to save all those notes from family and friends surely emphasizes the importance of care and gratitude expressed in handwritten words.

The UPS delivery man dropped a dozen multi-colored roses and a box of chocolates off at my house late Thursday morning.

Remembering the beautiful roses my daughter Miranda sent me for Mother’s Day 2012.

That reminds me of the two hand-printed poems I received on Saturday from Hannah, a sweet 11-year-old whom I’m mentoring in poetry. My friends’ daughter also jotted a note with this P.S.: You are the coolest poet I have ever known!

You can bet Hannah and Bob both made me feel good with the kind words they shared.

Words matter.

Poppies have long been associated with honoring and remembering veterans. I photographed this poppy in my neighbor, Cheri's, yard this past summer.

The vivid color of poppies just makes me happy.

Saturday evening, words made me laugh, a lot, during an improv comedy show by southern Minnesota based Spontaneous Productions at The Paradise Center for the Arts in downtown Faribault. For nearly two hours, this high-energy group of guys entertained with family-friendly, audience-interactive improv.

If you’re like me and want to avoid potty-mouth comedy, then Spontaneous Productions would be the group to entertain you. Even when the name “Chuck” was chosen by the audience during a rhyming improv scene, we were assured by the host that we wouldn’t hear any bad words. I was especially smitten by one performer’s stellar imitation of Bob Dylan during the group’s “Sweet Home Minnesota” version of “Sweet Home Alabama.” The comedians had the audience belting out the chorus of “Sweet home Minnesota, where the lakes are blue…”

The unassuming beauty of the southwestern Minnesota prairie in the winter of 2012.

The unassuming beauty of the southwestern Minnesota prairie in the winter of 2012.

While lakes may appeal to most Minnesotans, my friend Kathleen understands my deep love for the southwestern Minnesota prairie. So last week this former Faribault children’s librarian living in Washington state, mailed me a hard-cover copy of If you’re not from the prairie… written by David Bouchard and illustrated by Henry Ripplinger. Kathleen knew, when down-sizing her children’s book collection, that I would appreciate the book. I do. But I also value her thoughtfulness.

On a serious note, my blogger friend Nina Hedin, whose husband Tom was seriously injured in a snowmobile crash two weeks ago, posted these words on Tom’s Caring Bridge website today:

I can honestly say this has been the longest two weeks ever. So much has passed, life changing moments, hugs, tears, family and friends pulling together… so much to be thankful for.

First, that Tom survived not only one, but two impacts; the first when he hit the embankment, and the next when he flew off the sled and landed some thirty feet away. It’s amazing that he didn’t have any internal damage or paralysis.

Second, that we have all of you. Our prayer warriors. Our friends and family and strangers that care.

"Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."-- Forrest Gump. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

“Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”– Forrest Gump.

Although Nina could choose to focus on the difficulties, on Tom’s long road to recovery as he has transitioned out of Hennepin County Medical Center into sub-acute rehab back in the couple’s community of Glencoe, she remains overwhelmingly positive. The family has faced plenty of challenges. But this 30-something mother of two young children chooses to see the humor, the goodness and the progress that will bring her husband home, their family back together.

If you are able to help this family financially, please consider making a gift to the GiveForward “Help for Tom Hedin” fund to cover medical and other expenses by clicking here. Already family, friends and strangers have given nearly $4,000 toward the $40,000 goal. If you are unable to give, offer an encouraging word and/or prayer.

Words matter.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Note: All photos were pulled from my files.