Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

May Day sweetness from cherished friends May 1, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 2:50 PM
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An artsy edited image of my tulips.

An artsy edited image of my tulips.

TODAY, WHILE TWO LOVED ONES are viewing the tulip fields of Amsterdam, I am delighting in the tulips that brighten my Minnesota front yard.

And I am celebrating May Day with thankfulness for friends who continue to bring joy into my days with sweet surprises.

This morning my doorbell rang. Twice. I glimpsed legs and arms flying as young friends raced to vehicles driven by their mothers. I hurried to a side window, flashed a wave and a smile and mouthed a thank you.

The first May Day basket to arrive included four construction paper flowers with candy centers.

The first May Day basket to arrive included four construction paper flowers with candy centers.

Then I swung open the front door and retrieved May Day baskets from the front steps.

Four homemade chocolate chip cookies were tucked inside the second May Day basket.

Four homemade chocolate chip cookies were tucked inside the second May Day basket.

The kindness of these dear and thoughtful friends continues to touch my heart. These are busy young families—one with five children and another with two and fostering a third—who homeschool their children. It takes time and effort to create May Day baskets, then gather everyone into a vehicle and deliver those treats.

The two May Day baskets dropped on my front steps this morning. The one on the right reminds me of the baskets I wove as a child for my mother.

The two May Day baskets dropped on my front steps this morning. The one on the right reminds me of the baskets I wove as a child for my mother.

What a fine example these parents are setting, encouraging their children’s creativity and showing them the true joy in giving to others. Their sons and daughters are already growing into fine, compassionate and caring young people. It’s not easy raising kids in today’s world. Just last evening when I saw one of these mothers at a church function, she wished aloud that times were like those on the Andy Griffith show. Simpler. I understand. I’ve often wished that myself.

I’ve raised my children into adulthood. It wasn’t always easy and still isn’t at times. But I have that seasoned experience and ability to see that “this too shall pass.” I can offer the gift of encouragement to young families.

And what I’ve gotten in return are true and cherished friendships.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Minnesota Faces: Allis Chalmers devotee

Portrait #19: Juanita

 

Portrait 19, Rice Co. Steam 2012, Juanita

 

I love how natural light from an open doorway provided the perfect lighting for this portrait of Juanita. This was an impromptu photo snapped in a blacksmith shop at the 2012 Rice County Steam & Gas Engines Show, rural Dundas. To this day, it remains one of my favorite portraits.

I love the image not only because of its great lighting and composition, but because it truly captures the spirit of Juanita. Look at how her eyes sparkle, how her genuine smile dimples her cheeks, creases the corners of her eyes and spreads across her freckled face. I’ve always found Juanita, whom I met some five years ago at her dad’s Allis Chalmers tractor auction at his North Morristown farm, a people-person.

She’s also very much her own woman, one who unabashedly wears orange (here around her hat and neck) to honor her love of the Allis Chalmers brand. Juanita dresses practically and sensibly, usually with a rural fashion touch of orange.

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This is part of a series, Minnesota Faces, featured every Friday on Minnesota Prairie Roots.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling