Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Jackie makes three August 23, 2013

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THRICE NOW I’VE MET, in person, Midwest bloggers with whom I initially formed online friendships. And they—Gretchen at A Fine Day for an Epiphany, Beth Ann at It’s Just Life and Jackie at Who Will Make Me Laugh—are as genuine in person as they are in their postings.

There are no pretenses. All three of these women are kind, generous and caring individuals who are the real deal.

I first met Beth Ann last December when she and her husband, Chris, drove up from Mason City, Iowa, to hear me read and present on poetry at the local library. Beth Ann didn’t tell me she was coming; she simply showed up. I recognized her from her online photo. We instantly connected and she has since visited me.

As an example of Beth Ann’s caring ways, she uses her blog to raise awareness of and donate monies to worthy causes via her “Comments for a Cause.” For each comment made, Beth Ann and Chris donate 50 cents to the selected cause. Fifty cents per comment adds up.

In the Worthington area, Gretchen is an active volunteer with many organizations and the entire family has participated in community theatre. A theatrical performance brought Gretchen, her husband and three children to Faribault last summer to see a play directed by a friend. Before the show, they dined at our house. This summer my husband and I dined at Gretchen’s home. It’s as if we’ve known them forever instead of just a year. They are that kind of warm and welcoming family.

Me, left, with Jackie

Me, left, with Jackie

Ditto goes for Jackie and her husband, Rick, whom we met on Sunday afternoon after moving our son’s belongings from his apartment in Rochester. It was our boy’s move three months ago that truly connected me, on a personal level, with Jackie. I asked her for suggestions on apartments and she presented me with a list. Later, when I was looking for thrift stores in town, she gave me another list. How nice was that?

But I wasn’t at all surprised at Jackie’s kind spirit. I’ve followed her blog for quite some time and knew we shared similar values and interests. Think driving down a country gravel road; appreciating barns, country churches, old country schools and cemeteries; photography; the importance of faith and family in our lives. Meeting Jackie in person on Sunday was like reuniting with a long-time friend.

As a bonus to our visit with Jackie and Rick, my husband and I met their son, Gavin, and their sweet granddaughter, Audrey. Upon our arrival, Audrey was playing with a tin of jewelry. She’s quite the diva, and I mean that in the most fashionable and nicest way. By the time I left, I was wearing a beautiful stone and bead bracelet in my favorite hues—green and purple—gifted by the darling little girl with the big brown eyes.

The bracelet Audrey gave me. My one regret is that I didn't have a photo taken of me and Audrey together.

The bracelet Audrey gave me. My one regret is that I didn’t have a photo taken of me and Audrey together.

Jackie has often written about Audrey’s giving spirit, so evident in her gift to me. I was deeply touched. I expect the spirit of generosity has been passed through the generations.

Now whenever I wear that bracelet, I’ll think of Jackie and Audrey and how individual writers and photographers, threaded through blogging, can form an unbroken circle of friendship.

FYI:

To read Jackie’s blog, Who Will Make Me Laugh, click here. Jackie, a nurse by professions, is an especially talented photographer who claims she could spend all day editing images.

To read Beth Ann’s blog, It’s Just Life, click here. Threads of compassion and care run through Beth Ann’s blog posts. I am trying to convince her to write a book of devotionals.

To read Gretchen’s blog, It’s a Fine Day for an Epiphany, click here. Gretchen is an incredibly talented writer, evident in her postings. She’s written a children’s book manuscript, which I fully expect to be accepted for publication someday soon.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling