Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

To have and to hold, 36 years later May 15, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Audrey and Randy, May 15, 1982


I FLIP THROUGH THE PAGES of the photo album looking at the faces. Young. Smiling. Happy.

Thirty-six years have passed since those formal portraits were taken on my wedding day. It seems so long ago, 1982. We were just 25 then, Randy and I. But as anyone who’s now in their sixties knows, time has a way of flying. It’s not just a saying. It’s the truth.


A selfie of Randy and me taken in September 2017 at the walleye statue along Mille Lacs Lake in Garrison. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

Tomorrow soon becomes yesterday and all of a sudden you aren’t that newlywed on the cusp of life but rather that married nearly four decades couple entering the golden years of life.

I would be lying if I said married life is fairy tale perfect. Maybe in the fantasy world of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. But not in real life. We’ve faced many challenges from health to personal and family issues to injuries and accidents and deaths of loved ones. We’ve managed tight budgets and long hours of hard work and even survived many home improvement projects. And we’ve come through on the other side stronger, more appreciative of each other and maybe even better people for having endured difficulties.

Recently, Randy informed me he’s a legend. I laughed, said I would need to treat him with a higher respect. He’d been dubbed a “legend” by a customer referred to my automotive machinist husband as an expert in his field. He is. Randy is really really smart about all things automotive. And with something like 40 years of experience, he rates as a legend. I don’t know what his customers will do when he retires in a few years. I don’t care, frankly.

A favorite photo of my husband holding our then 10-day-old granddaughter, Isabelle. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo April 2016.

Life isn’t all about work. It’s about finding time for each other and those you love. And those we love has now expanded to include our two-year-old granddaughter. I love watching my husband in his relatively new role as Grandpa to Isabelle. There’s such sweetness and tenderness in the moments they share whether reading a book or crawling around on the floor pulling Brio trains.

Thirty-six years ago I didn’t see beyond the front of the church and the face of my groom on our wedding day. I saw only the man I loved. And still love, all these decades later.

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


43 Responses to “To have and to hold, 36 years later”

  1. dalmatianangel Says:

    Happy Anniversary!

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    Sweet tribute to your wonderful husband. He is a legend it many ways and I am so happy that you are together through thick and thin. That’s what it is all about, isn’ t it?

  3. Lynne King Says:

    Happy Anniversary! Best wishes for many more years of blessings beyond measure!

  4. Murphy's Law Says:

    Hi Audrey. Happy Anniversary!! Friends and family call me Ginger. Although at 78 years old that seems like such a young name for such an old fogie, don’cha think?!

    I am not a blogger myself, but I do follow a group of terrific bloggers, now including you. I’ve read your comments on Almostiowa and began reading through some of your previous posts. You sure have a way with words!!

    Hubby and I made the plunge on Oct. 1, 1961. Yeah….long ago. And you’re right about how the years fly by. But we’re still here to see them fly!! Our marriage has seen the good, the bad and the ugly, and we managed to survive.

    This post was a beautiful tribute to the love of your life and to your life together.

    Looking forward to future posts!
    🔹 Ginger 🔹

    • Welcome to Minnesota Prairie Roots via Almost Iowa. (I love Greg’s writing.) It’s great to have you here, Ginger. I bet the name suits you.

      Congratulations on your almost 57 years of marriage. That is terrific.

  5. valeriebollinger Says:

    Happy Anniversary Audrey. I love your wedding photo…it does declare the 80’s. Congratulations on 36 years…definitely worth celebrating. We rejoice with you.

  6. That was beautiful. Happy Anniversary and Congratulations to you both!

  7. Sandra Van Erp Says:

    Blessings for 36 more!! (love the glasses!)

  8. Happy Anniversary 🙂 I have to agree in that time flies especially when you are having fun and are alongside your best friend and soul mate. Love is ever changing and ever expanding too. My parents will be celebrating 50 years next year – just blows my mind! Happy Day – Enjoy

  9. Judy M Says:

    Happy Anniversary!!! Love the wedding picture, you were a pretty bride. this is a great post, thank you for sharing your memory. May you enjoy many more years together.

  10. Bella Says:

    Happy Anniversary and loved the last two lines of the posting-so sweet and 36 years does go by fast when you start reflecting back

  11. Laurine Jannusch Says:

    Hope you had a blessed anniversary and enjoy many more. I had to reply because I was struck by your resemblance to your mother, as I remember her. All the best, Laurine Jannusch.

  12. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    Congratulations 🎈 marriage sure isn’t what you expect on your wedding day but it’s worth working for.

  13. Jackie Says:

    A couple of sweet hearts for sure. You and Randy have instilled in your children what a good marriage looks like. You are God centered, you give your time to help others, you take time for each other, and you love your children and grand baby unconditionally. Happy Anniversary to a lovely couple. Wishing you many many more years of happiness, good health and fond memories

  14. becky Says:

    This is sweet!

  15. Brenda R Says:

    Belated Happy Anniversary! As I was also an 80’s bride, I loved the wedding picture! As I sometimes write in Anniversary cards- I’m sure every minute hasn’t been blissful, but every moment is a blessing from God! Wishing you many more moments of blessings!!

  16. Kathleen Cassen Mickelson Says:

    Hope you had a wonderful anniversary!

    • Unfortunately, we weren’t able to celebrate last evening as planned with dinner out. Instead, we attended a community notification meeting for a level 3 predatory sex offender moving into our neighborhood today. At least we are aware of his presence. But certainly not happy about it. So we will have to celebrate another day.

      That said, Randy brought me a dozen beautiful red roses.

      • Kathleen Cassen Mickelson Says:

        Well, that was quite a different thing to do on your anniversary! Hope you are going to go to dinner another time anyway. And roses are always a lovely gift. I hope they are filling your house with an amazing scent!

      • The roses proved a surprise. They are lovely, just lovely. And, yes, we’ll eventually celebrate with dinner out.

  17. Littlesundog Says:

    Congrats!! Forrest and I are more likely to celebrate sporadically throughout the year, because life doesn’t often lend to certain days only for celebration (as you noted with the community notificatioin meeting). And, as you know, the relationship changes and grows in ways we never considered or thought about as younger people. I would not trade this “mature” relationship for anything. Love is ever-evolving, and more intertwined as the years roll along. I’m so happy you and Randy celebrate love that rolls with the flow of life.

  18. H A P P Y
    WOW, you are both lovely!! xx

  19. Happy Anniversary (a tad late).

  20. melirey96 Says:

    Happy Anniversary!!!

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