Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Simple country joys November 12, 2013

IT’S 10:30 ON A SUNDAY MORNING and I am savoring a slice of yellow cake topped with vanilla pudding and a dollop of whipped cream.

Trinity's basement, set up before the annual October fall dinner. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

Trinity’s basement, set up before the annual October fall dinner. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2011.

I really shouldn’t be eating cake; I don’t need it. But my husband and I have been personally invited by Jean into the basement of Trinity Lutheran Church, North Morristown, for the fellowship hour after worship services. We are visitors.

Beautiful Trinity Lutheran Church. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

Trinity Lutheran Church, a small country church west of Faribault in North Morristown. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2011.

I’m not about to pass on this opportunity to mingle with folks in this rural Rice County church. They are a friendly bunch. These congregants know us as we’ve attended church dinners and the annual North Morristown Fourth of July celebration many times.

I feel comfortable here, chit chatting with Jean about her granddaughter who attends college in South Dakota and is working as a waitress for $2.50/hour. Our discussion centers on whether such a wage is even legal. “How can it be?” we ask one another, incredulous.

But before we can resolve the pay issue, one of the pastor’s sons bolts into the basement clutching something in his hand. He unfurls his fingers to reveal an egg.

“Our first egg!” he exclaims as his older brother peers across the table at the precious brown egg and Dad enthuses about the first egg laid by the flock of 25 chickens. I learn then that the pastor’s boys sold futures on eggs—30 dozen at $6/dozen—during a recent fundraising auction for Cannon Valley Lutheran High School. Now that the hens are starting to lay, it will soon be time to deliver on those purchases.

As I witness this enthusiasm over an egg, I am reminded that sometimes it is the simplest things which give us the most joy. A brown egg in a boy’s hand in a country church basement on a Sunday morning. You can’t make this stuff up.

On bald eagle in this shot, or any I took, but simple joys in viewing this rural scene along Rice County Road 12 on the way to church in North Morristown.

No bald eagle in this shot, or any I took, but simple joy in viewing this rural scene along Rice County Road 12 on the way to church in North Morristown. There’s something about the big sky and the red barn…

Then, after we’ve left the church basement and the boy and his egg and wonder whether he might smash it between his fingers in his excitement, we are equally as excited to spot a bald eagle winging above farm fields. Simple joys. Like cradling a brown egg in your hand in a country church basement.

Horses in the pasture drew my camera, not a deer dangling from a tree.

Horses in the pasture, not a deer hung from a tree, drew my camera on the way home from church.

And then I glimpse a dead deer dangling from a tree, half-skinned, hunters clustered around the body. I am not overjoyed at the sight. But I expect these men are excited. Like cradling a brown egg in your hand in a country church basement.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling