Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The enduring smiley face May 18, 2013

Freeport water tower

I DON’T CARE how many times I’ve seen this water tower smiling down at me along Interstate 94 in Freeport. I still react with a smile each time I spot it.

In a community which is reportedly the inspiration for Garrison Keillor’s fictional Lake Wobegon, this water tower epitomizes “Have a good day” in a singular visual.

And that, my friends, makes me happy.

Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


20 Responses to “The enduring smiley face”

  1. It DOES Make You Smile:) Happy Saturday!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Old style water towers like these are becoming less common, another reason I appreciate this one in Freeport.

  2. Erin Says:

    I love when you feature central MN! We enjoy eating at Charlie’s Cafe there and then visiting the Hemker Park & Zoo right outside of town. Fun destination!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Have not been to Charlie’s Cafe, but am aware of its great reputation. I did not know about the zoo, though, so good tip. Thank you.

      • Erin Says:

        Charlie’s is known for its caramel rolls although I’ve never had one. It’s such a quaint place with great food and excellent service. You’ll have to try it! Living near St. Cloud (plethora of chain restaurants), we love to support these small locally owned restaurants.

        Hemker Park & Zoo has been open for 30 some years but I had never heard of it until recent years, thanks to facebook. They operate with all volunteers aside from the paid zookeeper. It’s extremely clean and the volunteers are very knowledgeable.

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        We only get up to your area of Minnesota when traveling to Fargo or visiting family. Not that often, really. But will most definitely tuck your suggestions into my mind for “some time.”

      • Erin Says:

        Audrey, you may be interested in this art gallery in Freeport as well: http://www.lwtrails.com/b2/?p=306

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Thanks for that tip, too, Erin.

  3. I grew up in Minnesota so the first time I heard Garrison Keillor’s on the radio I was twenty minutes into a discussion about the statue to the unknown Norwegian before I realized it was a spoof…

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Charlie, happy to have you visiting your home state via Minnesota Prairie Roots. Welcome. Gotta love Garrison Keillor.

  4. hotlyspiced Says:

    We don’t have water towers like that in Australia so I’ve never seen one. I was sorry to read of your health woes – this ageing process is not for the faint hearted! xx

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Few of these types of water towers exist any more. This one is actually no longer in use, but remains as an icon of Freeport. Most water towers are non-descript orbs.

      • Erin Says:

        My husbands favorite MN water tower is in Pequot Lakes. It looks like a fishing bobber. My favorite is the tea pot in Lindstrom.

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Oh, yes, I’ve seen the bobber water tower in Pequot Lakes and, I think even photographed it. I will need to look through my files.

  5. Beth Ann Says:

    I wish that was in my backyard…….but perhaps the neighbors would object. I love all things smiley face so this is my favorite post this week. Thanks for making my day!!! 🙂

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I bet you remember the popularity of smiley face everything back in “our day.” I had a smiley face bulletin board even. Wish I still had that.

  6. treadlemusic Says:

    I so agree with the “smiley face” thing! It was great until Walmart seized on it and it became more commercialized (lost some of the cute innocence that I thought it first had. Still like the various “emoticoms” that are available on the ‘net, though!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Yes, commercialization can definitely harm how we view something. I agree with you on the Wally ad campaign.

  7. cheryl schrader Says:

    You absolutely have to stop at Charlies in Freeport on your next trip to Fargo, which I suspect will be sometime in August. Whenever we go to Fargo to visit my sister-in-law, that is always a destination stop. We make sure we have either lunch or dinner there. One time at the end of the day, we actually scored some free cinnamon rolls. They were so good. Rumor is that Garrison himself frequents Charlies when he is in the area. I recommend the Hawaiian salad.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Even more incentive to visit–the possibility of Garrison popping in. Thanks for the tip, Cheryl.

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