Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Back to the Minnesota prairie for the holidays December 24, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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LAST SATURDAY I WENT “home” for the holidays. Back to my native southwestern Minnesota prairie. Back to see my mom and siblings, in-laws and nieces and nephews. Twenty-nine of us gathered to celebrate. Three were missing.

U.S. Highway 14 curves toward grain bins on the west edge of Sleepy Eye.

U.S. Highway 14 curves toward grain bins on the west edge of Sleepy Eye.

To get there, we journeyed through many a small town, first along Minnesota State Highway 60 and then onto the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Highway, U.S. Highway 14. Through towns like Elysian and Madison Lake. Past Mankato. Through Nicollet and Courtland and New Ulm. Then on to Sleepy Eye and Springfield.

Entering Lamberton from the east, the Lamberton Stockyards.

Entering Lamberton from the east, the Lamberton Stockyards.

And finally, west of Sanborn Corners, to Lamberton. Past the Gypsy Park and then turn right at the Chicken Pox Factory. Unless you’re in my family, you won’t understand the park and pox bit and I’m not going to explain.

Grain bins, like these in Sleepy Eye, mark the prairie.

Grain bins, like these in Sleepy Eye, mark the prairie.

So many farm sites that have stood here for generations.

So many farm sites have stood here for generations.

There are so many well-kept barns along U.S. Highway 14 between Sleepy Eye and Lamberton.

There are many well-kept barns and farm sites along U.S. Highway 14 between Sleepy Eye and Lamberton.

As we traveled, I studied the land and farm sites, the communities, the details that define the prairie that shaped me.

Someone's rural home on the southwestern Minnesota prairie.

Someone’s rural home on the southwestern Minnesota prairie.

Oh, how I still love this land. It was good to be home, if only for a short while.

Wherever you travel this holiday season, may your journey be safe, your time one of joyful celebration.

Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

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16 Responses to “Back to the Minnesota prairie for the holidays”

  1. KerryCan Says:

    I’ve never been to this part of the country but I do understand how a landscape can feel as if it’s an integral part of you. I feel the same way about upstate New York. Have a lovely holiday!

  2. Almost Iowa Says:

    One could mistake those photos for almost anywhere in southern and western. It all looks as welcoming as home.

  3. Beth Ann Says:

    Merry Christmas to you. So glad you were able to go back to your “roots” for a short time—I am sure it made the season even more meaningful to be able to embrace those landscapes that you love.

  4. treadlemusic Says:

    We’ve traveled Hwy 14 to Sturgis each year and on our return we always stayed the night at the Lamberton motel right on the highway. A very cozy “mom ‘n’ pop” place with parking (for our motorcycles) right outside the door. Good memories! Small towns, even those we just pass through, have a vibrancy that can be felt as one drives by the store-fronts. Much can be gleaned about the personality of each settlement and how it came to be. Along with all that, it is, also, easy to see if there are current day struggles for survival. Yes…..it would qualify a quiet rural “drama”!

  5. Jackie Says:

    Peace and community…that’s what I think of when I read this post. Hope you had a lovely time with your family, Merry Christmas Audrey.

  6. Don Sigsaas Says:

    Oh how you’ve made the memories flood back! The pictures, town names etc. I remember that area so vividly. I am a small town boy currently out of my element but someday I will return. I truly miss barns, silos, long driveways, farm equipment, wide open spaces and the list goes on and on.

    Wow I see the sign showing gas at $2.25/ gallon! We are still in the $3.45/gallon range.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family


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