Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A fabulous Fourth with family on the Minnesota prairie July 7, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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The extended Kletscher family poses for a photo on the Fourth of July. Seven are missing.

The extended Kletscher family poses for a photo on the Fourth of July. Eight are missing.

FAMILY AND THE FOURTH. For years now, and no one remembers for how long, my extended family has gathered to celebrate the Fourth of July. Early on, we met at Flandrau State Park in New Ulm, a half-way point. But now we all travel to my middle brother and his wife’s southwestern Minnesota acreage for the holiday. Some of us stay overnight given the distance to rural Lamberton.

Teaching the next generation how to grill brats.

Teaching the next generation to grill brats.

It’s a day that focuses on fun, food and family.

Opposing teams step up to play Family Feud.

Opposing players step up to play Family Feud with the only non-family member in attendance hosting the game. Her hand is substituting as a bell.

We talk and laugh and compete and tease, building memories or reliving them. There’s something about the bond of family that roots deep into the soil. And, no matter the seasons that pass, family love remains—strong, resilient, enduring.

My son and his grandma.

My son and his grandma.

The view from the patio is this newly-completed waterfall and pond. Beautiful.

The view from the patio is this newly-completed waterfall and pond. Beautiful.

Lawnchairs were lined up to watch...

Family members lined up in lawn chairs to watch croquet.

My eldest daughter takes her turn during one of many games of croquet.

My eldest daughter takes her turn during one of many games of croquet.

Lots of beverages were consumed, including Shiner Bock beer.

Lots of beverages were consumed, including Shiner Bock beer.

The youngest ones rough-housed with the high school student.

The youngest ones rough-house with the high school student.

Little hands and feet got dirty. But no one cared.

Little hands and feet got dirty. But no one cared.

Eighty years spanned those in attendance with my 83-year-old Mom as the eldest. Here she is with my youngest brother, right, and my oldest brother behind.

Eighty years spanned those in attendance with my 83-year-old Mom as the eldest. Here she is with my youngest brother, right, and my oldest brother behind.

At the end of a long day, my three-year-old great nephew grips his grandpa's hand.

At the end of a long day, my three-year-old great nephew grips his grandpa’s hand.

The hit "toy" of the day were the vintage trikes belonging to my sister-in-law.

The hit “toys” of the day were my sister-in-law’s childhood tricycles.

My great nephew barrels his way between the lawnchairs on his way to an imaginary fire.

My great nephew barrels his way between lawn chairs.

We dined on brats, burgers, BBQed ribs and an assortment of delicious foods at supper time.

We dined on brats, burgers, BBQed ribs and an assortment of delicious foods at supper time.

Awards were handed out in the evening. The specifics of those honors shall remain within the family.

Awards were handed out in the evening. The specifics of those honors shall remain within the family.

When darkness fell, out came the sparklers.

When darkness fell, out came the sparklers and glo sticks.

It was a beautiful prairie evening for sparklers.

It was a perfect prairie evening for sparklers on the Fourth.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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22 Responses to “A fabulous Fourth with family on the Minnesota prairie”

  1. treadlemusic Says:

    How wonderful for you all! So many generations/lives enriched by the “being together”! Love croquet (or any game that doesn’t involve electronics!!!! LOL!!!!). Thanks so much for allowing us to have a peek into your joyful gathering!!!! (note: you really didn’t need to put a label on the photo of your son……….the family resemblance is strong and I so love that!!!!) Hugs………………………..

    • The weather was perfect for an outdoor family gathering. So…the son looks like???

      I expect you had an equally as wonderful family get-together along the river.

      • treadlemusic Says:

        Friday was a mini gathering at my bros lake home (Luck,WI). Otherwise, our immediate family was off in scattered directions. A quiet weekend at the river for us. Caleb has a few(?) of your characteristics (a good thing, no??)!

      • Good to hear you had that mini gathering.

        I’m always curious to hear how those outside the family view family resemblances.

        My great nephew looks exactly like his dad looked as a child.

  2. Sweet Posy Dreams Says:

    This looks like a perfect, All-American holiday. Your brother has a wonderful view, which I noticed in the picture of the high-schooler and the toddlers. How lucky you are to live near(ish) and have such a warm family.

    • Yes, I am fortunate that all of my closest extended family (except my son and second daughter) live in Minnesota. And, yes, the rural setting where my brother lives is wonderful, only 25 miles or so from where I grew up.

  3. Almost Iowa Says:

    Many of us have “memory walls” where we post photos of family, friends and gatherings. You have to believe that photos from events like this will be posted there for years to come. It is what is best in life.

  4. Beth Ann Says:

    I love this tradition your family has. The pic of your mom and Caleb is definitely a keeper and I know that it was such a special time for you all. Your mom looks great and I know that it was fabulous for you guys to all be together. You captured the fun and love completely with your lens.

  5. It sounds like a great time. Love the landscaping and its funny sometimes how the old toys remain the most entertaining.

  6. Jackie Says:

    Your photo’s really capture the Love your family has for each other. Looks like you had a great turn out. It’s so great that your mom could be there to enjoy family fun as well. ( sweet pic of Caleb and your mom)

    • Thank you, Jackie. We get together twice a year, not often enough. But still grateful that we can see each other that often. Mom wouldn’t miss this gathering. She spent most of the next day sleeping.

  7. Dan Traun Says:

    Looks like a grand celebration. Great tradition.

  8. Aunt Dorothy Says:

    Of couse I loved every photo of the family. You are all my extended family too. Famlies are fantastic!

  9. DeLores Says:

    Audrey, I just had to write to comment on your Mom, and how great she looks for all she has had to go through the last couple of years. She has such a sweet, soft face. I immediately thought I could just hug her!!! You are fortunate your family loves to get together. My husband and I were home alone all day and it was so boring. I would have liked to go to Fireworks but when your mate doesn’t want to go you stay home!!

    • You are right about my mom. She amazes me given all the health issues she has endured. Everyone loves her because she is so kind and sweet. You should visit her sometime. She loves company.

      How about inviting guests over next July Fourth? Then you could enjoy yourself and the husband would, too, because he gets to stay home. Make it potluck so you don’t have to prepare all of the food. I’m sure friends or family would love to celebrate the Fourth with you.

  10. Sue Ready Says:

    So enjoyed how you captured a moment in time with your family reunion on the 4th. Great your son was home to have this time to reconnect with cousins, aunts,uncles and grandma.


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