Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Friendships forged via blogging August 3, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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YOU KNOW SOMETIMES how, when you meet someone, you instantly connect and feel as if you’ve been friends forever.

Well, that’s exactly how I feel about my blogger friends Beth Ann, who writes at It’s Just Life, and Gretchen, who writes at A Fine Day for an Epiphany. They are now real life friends, as in I’ve met them.

Beth Ann has been to Faribault twice, first last December with her husband, Chris, to hear me present on and read my poetry during a program at Buckham Memorial Library. Chris always worries about his wife and her “imaginary” blogger friends and whether one of us will stuff her in the trunk of a car. “Not to worry,” I told Beth Ann when she visited me at my home several weeks ago. “I’ll stash you in my basement freezer.”

Now Chris terms me “that Audrey character.”

I don’t know that Gretchen’s husband, Colin, has assigned any such moniker to me. He seems not too concerned about my character.

Driving the state line road to Gretchen and Colin's rural southwest Minnesota home.

Driving the state line road to Gretchen and Colin’s rural southwest Minnesota home.

Last week my husband and I, while en route to Luverne in the extreme southwestern corner of Minnesota, detoured off Interstate 90 into Worthington, wound our way through construction zones and aimed south to the Minnesota/Iowa border where Gretchen and her family live on the state line. Literally. The gravel road past their rural acreage is half in Minnesota, half in Iowa. How cool is that?

I could have chosen to show you a "perfect" family photo in which everyone in Gretchen's family is standing nice and looking at my camera. But I love this one of Ian eyeballing the antics of his little sister, Lucy. Last summer, when visiting me, Colin also held Lucy upside down for a photo and Lucy wanted to do the same again this time.

I could have chosen a “perfect” family photo in which everyone in Gretchen’s family is standing nice and looking at my camera. But I love this one of Ian eyeballing the antics of his little sister, Lucy. Last summer, when visiting us, Colin also held his youngest daughter upside down for a photo and Lucy wanted to do the same pose this time. Given her sweetness, we obliged.

Randy and I were excited to visit our friends as last summer Gretchen, Colin and their three kids accepted a dinner invitation to our home when they were in Faribault for a theatrical performance. We instantly bonded.

Gretchen and me, now real-life friends. Photo by Randy Helbling.

Gretchen and me, now real-life friends. Photo by Randy Helbling.

Who says “Imaginary” blogging friends can’t become “real friends?” Not I, says this blogger.

Sweet little Lucy, who narrated on the nature walk and later read a book to me. She just finished kindergarten.

Sweet little Lucy, who narrated on the nature walk and later read a book to me. She just finished kindergarten. That’s her blanket, appropriately named “Blue.”

Upon our arrival, I refused the handshakes of Colin and Ian, embracing them instead. The girls—Gretchen and daughters Katie and Lucy—were quick with the hugs.

A creek winds through the property.

A creek winds through the acreage. That’s the neighbor’s land in the background.

Then Randy and I were off on a nature walk with the kids through the 10-acre wooded and hilly creek-side property while Gretchen and Colin prepared a delicious meal of grilled pork, lettuce and fruit salads, assorted breads and the best peach dessert ever. (Click here for the recipe.)

Ian, 14, with the family's cat,

Ian, 14, with family cat, Zephyr.

As much as I savored the food, I especially savored the time with our friends, who are warm and welcoming and kind and good and great conversationalists. Even the kids. I mean that in the best sort of way as Ian, Katie and Lucy are so well-mannered and interesting and bright and talented and funny and just the kind of children any parent would be proud to call theirs.

Standing on the state line road with Katie, left, and Lucy.

Standing on the state line road with Katie, left, and Lucy. Rural Minnesota and rural Iowa. Love it. Photo by Gretchen.

When we were about to leave, they all humored me when I insisted on standing in the middle of the state line gravel road for a photo opp, just to say I’d been simultaneously in Minnesota and Iowa, where, by the way, imaginary blogger real life friend Beth Ann lives.

The Welcome to Minnesota sign just down the road from Gretchen and Colin's place.

The “Welcome to Minnesota” sign just down the road from Gretchen and Colin’s place, photographed while driving by.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

21 Responses to “Friendships forged via blogging”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    What a fabulous post! I love my real life friends I have found through blogging as you well know. I read this to Chris and he just shook his head—-but he is happy that I am happy so that is what matters. Gretchen’s family looks lovely and I am so glad you had the chance to be with them–what a delightful day you guys had together. And Zephyr looks amazingly like my Buddy! Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      That is the reaction I would expect from Chris, considering I am “that Audrey character” to him. 🙂

      Yes, we had the best of evenings with Gretchen and family.

  2. treadlemusic Says:

    Such fun! The summer is fast fleeting but I still entertain the hope that a “real”meet-up will happen. Hugs from your (at the moment) virtual friend…..

  3. Emily B Says:

    Just another benefit of this blogging thing! What a warm-hearted entry. Made me smile. And I love the photos! You really captured the spirit of your day together and this sweet family. 🙂

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Yes, and a benefit I never expected when I began this blogging journey. Glad you enjoyed the photos of, as you rightly say, a sweet family.

  4. DeLores Johnson Says:

    Hi Audrey,

    I hope some day we can meet too. Tom and I had planned to take a road trip down in your area a couple of months ago and then he ended up in the hospital in icu for a
    week with a bleeding ulcer and a week in nursing home to build up his strength so it
    looks like it won’t be till later. Hopefully we can get together sometime!!!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      You are so sweet, DeLores. Sorry to hear about Tom’s health issues; sounds like a challenging time for him. I’m certain you have been a great support.

  5. hotlyspiced Says:

    How lovely to have a real-life catch-up with virtual friends. It looks like it was a very special time for everyone. It’s always so special to get-together with people you’ve met on-line xx

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      As you know from experience. Yes, it’s wonderful to meet other bloggers with whom you first connect online.

  6. Got back from a weekend away and how fun to see this post! Great photos, by the way! That one with Ian and Zephyr is my favorite. The family one cracks me up. I am so glad it worked out for you both to stop by. Truly thankful!! Thanks for the lovely post!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Gretchen, we loved visiting you. I really like the one of Ian and Zephyr, too. The lighting is perfect as is the whole feeling of the image. Yup, the family pic cracks me up, too. Ian and Lucy definitely made that frame a keeper and much better than anything posed.

      • Yes, that would have been far too boring! 🙂 And we’re nothing if not exciting around here. Had a campfire this evening, caught lightning bugs, hung out…I’m not ready for summer to be over.

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Sitting around a campfire in the country catching lightning bugs (although I’d watch rather than catch) sounds like my level of excitement and the perfect way to spend an evening.

  7. Loving your post – great captures:)


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