Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Only in Minnesota, North Dakota & Wisconsin February 10, 2018

Ice fishing on Union Lake in rural Rice County, Minnesota. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo February 2017.


LIFE CAN BE STRANGER than fiction. As a life-long Minnesotan, I know that to be true.


Vang Lutheran Church advertises its annual Lutefisk & Meatball Supper. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


For example, here in Minnesota, we drive onto frozen lakes to drill holes in the ice and then angle for fish. We also organize polar plunges in which we dive into frigid lakes in the winter to raise monies for charities. And we eat cod soaked in lye at annual church dinners. Some of us. Not me, although I’ve tried lutefisk twice.


Downtown Fargo, North Dakota. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


Our neighbors to the east and west can tell similar strange stories. The most recent comes from the campus of North Dakota State University in Fargo. On Thursday around lunch-time, a cow escaped from The Little International Livestock Show and roamed the campus for a short time before it was wrangled.


This photo, taken in southwestern Minnesota, illustrates the size of the cow which escaped at NDSU on Thursday. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2010.


The NDSU Saddle & Sirloin Club sponsors the show, the largest student-led event on campus with 300 collegiates involved. That likely explains the calm reaction of students in the short video clip I watched of the escape. Students didn’t panic. They continued walking to classes or wherever they were headed. Many of them come from rural areas to this school with numerous ag majors. No reason to get excited about a bulky, wandering bovine.


Packers fans houses in Wautoma? Or simply a gold house and a green house? Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2012.


Then we have Wisconsin, which never ceases to surprise me, especially with its Packers fanaticism. I’ve seen brat buns and popcorn colored green and gold. And in Wautoma, two neighboring houses are painted in Packers colors. At least they were several years ago.


My daughter, Miranda, snapped this scene through the back car window while in Madison, Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of Miranda Boyd.


But then along came a February 4 report from my daughter, who lives in eastern Wisconsin and who was in Madison for the weekend. She snapped a photo of a guy riding a motorcycle, or maybe it’s a scooter, as snow fell on a 10-degree day. How crazy is that?

TELL ME: What stranger than fiction story can you share from your community or state?

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
Wisconsin biker photo courtesy of Miranda Boyd



15 Responses to “Only in Minnesota, North Dakota & Wisconsin”

  1. If I never smell lutefisk again I’ll be happy. I went to college in Fargo. My folks were in Bottineau, ND. Every year First Lutheran had the Lefse and Lutefisk dinner. Gross!

  2. I never cease to be amazed by ice fishing. I don’t anything can top that!

  3. Beth Ann Says:

    Love the motorcycle/scooter picture from Miranda. I suspect that was his only means of transportation so he made it work? Who knows? Our stranger than fiction is probably our white squirrels that are not albinos but truly white squirrels. They are pretty fun to see and there are a lot of them around Brevard.

  4. The alligators here are Urbanites that live amongst us in the City – find shade under cars, cross the road, etc. Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

  5. Don Says:

    We like to show newcomers to the area how a mug of HOT coffee will instantaneously freeze and turn to ice crystals when thrown in the air at 50 below. Not a drop of coffee will hit the ground. Or how many cars people believe are electric because all the cars have plugins sticking out of the grills and parking lots all have electrical plugins for them. Truth is that the plugins are engine, transmission and battery heaters and the parking lots have plug ins available for people to keep their cars warm while shopping.

  6. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    Brr… I’m not a fan of lutefisk either. I something about dirt bike races on a lake not that long ago. Could be entertaining to watch from indoors

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