Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

From southern Minnesota: Signs of the times March 19, 2020

Posted in the window of Keepers Antiques, downtown Faribault, Minnesota.


LIFE FEELS ALMOST SURREAL. Like we’re living in a science fiction film. Or a horror movie.


The Paradise Center for the Arts in downtown Faribault is closed until April (or longer). Messages like “STAY HEALTHY” mark the PCA marquee.


Each day brings more bad news as COVID-19 spreads and more restrictions are put in place. The anxiety is almost palpable. No matter where we live—from rural to suburban to urban—we are affected.


Posted on the door of the local American Legion, which serves food and beverages and is also an event center.


Tuesday evening, on the day the Governor of Minnesota ordered all bars and restaurants and other social gathering places like bowling alleys, theaters and museums to close by 5 pm, I grabbed my camera to document this order. In signs posted in my southern Minnesota community.


Posted at Bluebird Cakery.


Most messages are simple. But the sign displayed in the window of Bluebird Cakery carries an emotional tone, beginning with these words: To our beloved Faribault community and employees…


Bluerbird Cakery is a popular gathering spot in the heart of downtown Faribault.


Beloved. That’s such a powerful heart-touching word, especially in these difficult times.


A helpful reminder posted on the Paradise Center for the Arts marquee.


If we can all remember that we are beloved to one another, then we will have brought something beautiful out of this crisis. That is my hope. That we will care more deeply for one another. That we will grow in compassion and love. That we appreciate and value one another more. That we can rise above that which separates us to that which brings us together. And for now, together means standing unified in our efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus.


Our local library closed on Monday.


PLEASE FEEL FREE to share in the comments section specifics on what’s happening in your part of the world as it relates to COVID-19.

© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


12 Responses to “From southern Minnesota: Signs of the times”

  1. Littlesundog Says:

    Words are important during this time especially. That one word “beloved” can make a difference. We have the same closures in Oklahoma. Oddly, I had not considered why Forrest was coming home daily with orders for more eggs from his co-workers than we could fill. In the past we sold excess eggs at his workplace for about the same price as the grocery stores were bringing. Mostly, it was about getting rid of excess eggs to people who enjoyed farm fresh eggs. He said there were no eggs available in our city or surrounding towns and now people are coming out of the woodwork for eggs! I get 28 to 34 eggs a day, with more orders than our girls can fill. I am still supplying free eggs to a few of our neighbors (which I’ve always done) and keeping a few for our own needs.

    • Thank you and Forrest for sharing your extra eggs with those who need them. Both paying customers and your neighbors. You two have kind and generous hearts and that’s something we all should emulate, especially now. Thanks for checking in from Oklahoma.

  2. I am so blessed that I work for an organization that is on the front lines within its community to do its part in taking care of those that need care and to help stop the spread. I am with you in that I try to focus on the positive and the hope.That we need to do for ourselves to stay healthy and give back to others where we can and feel comfortable doing so. I feel for everyone from a health standpoint as well as an economic standpoint. Taking in one day at a time in the hopes sooner than later maybe it will get back to a new normal for all of us. Take Care and Be Safe.

  3. Kathleen Cassen Mickelson Says:

    I, too, feel like we are in a sci-fi horror film. Apt description. Here’s what I’m grateful for this morning: my kids all responded to my good morning text, so everyone is okay. The transport of food is still working. I hear garbage trucks in our neighborhood this morning, still taking away the trash. Our mail still comes every afternoon. I discovered I like when my husband works at home. We have plenty of space to share. Our dog is delighted that we are now around all the time. This is what I’m going to focus on. And the word “beloved” is a beautiful word.

    • Kathleen, I always appreciate your positive outlook. And you reinforce that in specific ways with, today, that list of reasons to feel thankful.

      I just read online that Rice County now has its first confirmed case of COVID-19. I knew it was coming. Still, the news punched me in the gut. I so wish Randy did not work at a job with direct public contact and no option of working from home. Just can’t do that when you’re an automotive machinist and customers need to keep their vehicles running.

  4. valeriebollinger Says:

    Clever title Audrey
    I’m trying to stay positive and get healthy. I am finding lots to be grateful for. But it’s still scary.

  5. I like Valerie am trying to stay positive, I’m trying not to get caught up in the media hype, because it does me no good, it’s just scary. I pray with my concerns but also gratitude for the good things in my life. i seems kinda like a horror story, I hope it ends soon, for the good of all. Stay healthy my friend.

    • Staying positive can prove challenging. But I would expect nothing less than that from you.

      Thank you for your work as a nurse. Your daughter and son-in-law also. Prayers for protection for the three of you, sweet Carson and all those you love.

  6. This whole thing has most of us shaken. It’s surreal and frightening. Stay safe. ❤

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