Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Cherishing the moments of a family reunion August 13, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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The Tom Helbling family gathers at Sportsman's Park, rural Clearwater, Minnesota.

The Tom Helbling family gathers at Sportsman’s Park, rural Clearwater, Minnesota. This is just a small portion of the group.

IN THE BUSYNESS of a family reunion—between the food and the kids running here and there and the reconnecting—it is the moments which define a gathering.

As Meghan helps her Great Uncle Marty open his birthday gift, the two exchange an endearing look.

As Meghan helps her Great Uncle Marty open his birthday gift, the two exchange an endearing look.

Rare one-on-one conversations, a look exchanged,

Cousins Beth, left, and Keira paused for a photo as they scampered through the woods looking for a tree to climb. They never found one they could both ascend.

Cousins Beth, left, and Keira pause for a photo while looking for a tree to climb. They never found one they could both ascend.

friendships reforged… all matter.

The sweet hand of my 18-month-old great nephew, Aston, as he naps in his stroller.

The sweet hand of my 18-month-old great nephew, Aston, as he naps in his stroller.

These are moments that imprint upon the memory, that seal the bonds of family.

The family patriarch, Tom, and his wife, Jan, admired Corey's bike, but could not be persuaded to take a spin.

The family patriarch, Tom, and his wife, Jan, admire Corey’s bike, but could not be persuaded to take a spin.

This past Saturday the Tom and Betty Helbling family, those who could make it, reunited at a park near Clearwater. Many came from nearby while others drove from Michigan, North Dakota and other points south and west in Minnesota.

Celebrating the birthdays of three family members.

Celebrating the birthdays of three family members.

Some were missing, including members of my family from Boston, eastern Wisconsin and St. Paul. Noticeably absent was the brother currently serving in Afghanistan and his wife and son back home in Missouri.

My brother-in-law, Marty, opens his "old fart" birthday gift.

My brother-in-law, Marty, opens his “old fart” birthday gift.

The older I grow, the more I appreciate these reunions with my husband’s family.

I was attempting to photograph my great niece, Katherine, trying on her mom's sunglasses. I finally got that shot. But I also got this one, my favorite for the loving look exchanged between the two.

I was attempting to photograph my great niece, Katherine, trying on her mom’s sunglasses. I finally got that shot. But I also got this one, my favorite for the loving look exchanged between the two.

And the more I find the children so absolutely endearing.

Bennett plops down and plays with his truck among the coolers.

Bennett plops down and plays with his truck and matchbox vehicles among the coolers.

The ball diamond proved a popular spot for the little ones like my great niece, Meghan.

The ball diamond proved a popular spot for the little ones like my great niece, Meghan.

Girl cousins snug up to a kid-sized picnic table to create art.

Girl cousins snug up to a kid-sized picnic table to create art.

They bring joy and smiles and a thankfulness for the blessing of this next generation.

Cousins Meghan, left, Beth and Keira bond over artwork.

Cousins Meghan, left, Beth and Keira bond over artwork.

It is my hope the kids will remember the importance of family and of these reunions.

My great nephew, Cameron, covers third base.

My great nephew, Cameron, covers third base.

Perhaps they will recall scooping balls from a dusty field, tossing pebbles on the slide, creating art on a child-size picnic table, scaling trees and more.

Quiet time drawing with cousins.

Quiet time drawing with cousins.

I will remember their preciousness, the little legs that raced, the hands that drew, the cuteness factor.

Marty, with his birthday gift bottle of whiskey, sports his out-law t-shirt.

Marty, with his birthday gift bottle of whiskey, sports his out-law t-shirt.

I consider how the years fly by and suddenly I am the one with (dyed) grey hair sitting elbow-to-elbow with my brother-in-law who sports a red “out-law” shirt.

A teaching moment for my niece, Kristina, and her son, Aston.

A teaching moment for my niece, Kristina, and her son, Aston.

Where has time gone?

Abandoning the ball field...

Abandoning the ball field…

And why don’t the women who married Helbling brothers have “out-law” shirts or sashes or something?

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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26 Responses to “Cherishing the moments of a family reunion”

  1. Dan Traun Says:

    Drink it all in – enjoy every moment – savor every memory. Wonderful series of photos and accompanying your story.

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    Nice memories were made this day.

  3. Rena Says:

    I’m so blessed to be invited (as an in-law, by marriage!) to be part of the Helbling Family! I thoroughly enjoyed the reunion and getting to know this – MY – wonderful family better! Love to you all, Rena

  4. Thread crazy Says:

    It appears a fun time was had by all! I do so miss family reunions, but since all are in northern Ohio, I’m unable to attend!

  5. Family is so important and spending quality time together – the kids make it so much FUN too – loving your captures – thanks so much for sharing 🙂 Happy Hump Day!

  6. Sounds like a great day.

  7. Kathleen Cassen Mickelson Says:

    Perhaps you should create the outlaw shirts for the women! Your photos never fail to engage me. These are just wonderful. I especially like the baby’s hand – so sweet. Do you make memory books of these events?

  8. Rosie Says:

    There was discussion amongst a few of the younger set about getting screen printed t-shirts for all who married into the Helbling Family and have them numbered in the order they arrived….. You would be #4 correct?

  9. Jackie Says:

    Oh such sweet enduring memories for you and Randy. Loved the photo’s, you captured so many great shots. Little Bennett looks to be about Carson’s age. I’m amazed that both sides of your family’s still get together, We haven’t had family reunions for-ever. You inspire me to try and gather up my relatives 🙂

    • Up until several years ago, the Helblings still got together at Christmas. But that was proving too difficult as nieces and nephews married and had kids. We couldn’t all fit into a house. And too many times, winter storms postponed plans. So recently we started the summer reunion, which works much better. It’s the one time of year this scattered family gathers and it’s important to connect. Otherwise we wouldn’t see each other given the geographical distances between all of us.

      On my side, my siblings and their families and my family still gather around Christmas and the Fourth of July. It works for now. But I expect as the family grows, some changes may occur with that also.

      Yes, you should gather up your relatives for a reunion.

  10. Vivian Says:

    My recollection is the ‘out-law’ t-shirts were brought, by Jon, for the men several years ago. I guess any ‘out-law’ female could figure something out for the women.

    Thank you for the photos and comments, Audrey. You do a spectacular blog.

  11. Cheryl Says:

    Thanks so much for taking pictures and sharing them with us with the captions that you do. It is great! it was a great get together!

  12. ryanware Says:

    The photo of your niece and her daughter. That’s the thing with people pics. You know the shot you want, but often times one on the way to that shot or after that shot are even better.


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