Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Thanksgiving reflections November 26, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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I created this Thanksgiving centerpiece using a vintage tray, vintage candles, pinecones from friends, shells from Detroit Lake and letters from my 1970s Scrabble game. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


THANKSGIVING. That singular word sparks strong visuals of family gathered around a table laden with a platter of sliced turkey, bowls heaping with potatoes and stuffing, steaming brown gravy, a small bowl of cranberries, salad, and, for dessert, pumpkin pie. I’ve missed a few foods. But I’ve covered the essentials.


Frazee, MInnesota’s claim to fame. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2018.


That image is the traditional view of this day. Yet, it is not necessarily accurate. Not for everyone. Too many families, because of distance or other reasons, can’t be together on this holiday that focuses so much on family. I’ve been in that spot many times.


Randy shuffles meals and bags around as we prepare to deliver them during a previous Thanksgiving. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


But I’ve learned through the years that I can feel sad about the absence of loved ones or I can choose to be thankful and celebrate the day in ways that remind me of gratitude. In recent years Randy and I celebrated by delivering meals for Faribault’s Community Thanksgiving Dinner. We experienced such joy in bringing turkey and the trimmings to those unable to otherwise enjoy a Thanksgiving meal. Their genuine gratitude blessed us. It truly is more blessed to give than to receive.


A message on a bulletin board at Fourth Avenue United Methodist Church, Faribault. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


This year, though, we will celebrate Thanksgiving at our house with family surrounding a food-laden table. All three of our adult children will be home, for the first time in years. I cannot wait. A son-in-law (one can’t be here) and two grandchildren, ages 3 ½ and almost 11 months, will add to the fun. I am a happy mama. I don’t ever take the presence of my family for granted because I’ve experienced many holidays minus the “kids.” I admit to feeling a bit melancholy through the years when I’ve heard friends talk about their Thanksgiving plans that often include multiple family gatherings. A lot of those friends grew up here and their kids live either in town or nearby as do a large contingent of extended family. But that is not me.

So this Thanksgiving I am especially grateful for the presence of those I love. I wish for you also a full table and a gathering of family or friends to bless your day.

Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends!

© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


18 Responses to “Thanksgiving reflections”

  1. I am so happy you will have a full table this year at Thanksgiving. I totally understand that we can’t always have our loved ones with us on holidays but it sure is wonderful when we it does happen. Thankful for all the blessings we have received this year amidst the trying times and looking forward to many more. Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Littlesundog Says:

    What a boon to have most of your family present for Thanksgiving! Hopefully, the weather cooperates – it’s looking sketchy from what I’m seeing. Even here, they are telling folks not to head up north. We will have cold, rainy and blustery conditions on Thanksgiving – then warm and severe weather risk (hail, high winds and tornadoes) on Friday. Weird weather, eh? Thursday we will find ourselves at the home of friends – kind of an eclectic mix of people that we’ve gathered with for many years. The food is also varied – the couple putting it on are not turkey lovers, rather we have a lovely brisket with all of the other favorites of Southern celebration (okra instead of green beans, grilled taters and vegetables, and cornbread stuffing) and of course lots of desserts! Blessings and happiness to you and your family, Audrey.

    • I’m sorry to hear that you’re also facing possibly bad weather. Our major winter storm moves in this evening and continues until around noon on Wednesday. I’ve heard snowfall predictions of up to one foot with wind factoring in to make conditions even worse. My second daughter and my son will be on the road Thursday, driving here four hours from southeastern Wisconsin. Hopefully the roads will be good by then.

      Your Thanksgiving with friends sounds wonderful. I’d take the brisket over turkey, too.

      A most blessed and joyful Thanksgiving to you and Forest, Lori!

  3. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Audrey. Enjoy the family time and making beautiful memories! Wishing you many blessings throughout the Thanksgiving holiday and ALWAYS.

  4. valeriebollinger Says:

    So happy you’re kids and grandkids(!) will be around your table this Thanksgiving.
    Happy Thanksgiving.

  5. Jackie Hemmer Says:

    So happy for you and Randy to have your kids and families home for Thanksgiving. Enjoy!

  6. Kathleen Cassen Mickelson (One Minnesota Writer) Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Audrey! Enjoy every moment with your family. We do every other year with our kids so they don’t have to stress about which side of the family to see; one year with their partners’ family, the next year with us. It’s worked well and we are so lucky no matter who is (or isn’t) around the table.

    • That every other year plan is one I’m familiar with as we used it ourselves through the years when all of our parents were still living. With my parents in southwestern Minnesota and Randy’s in central Minnesota, we couldn’t possibly make both places. You are certainly making it easier for your kids with that plan.

      Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Kathleen!

  7. Ken Wedding Says:

    Thanks, Audrey, for your words and pictures and optimism.

  8. Missy’s Håndarbeid (Missy’s Crafty Mess) Says:

    Wishing you a belated Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that you had a good time with loved ones.

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