Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Picnicking in the park on a perfect May evening in Minnesota May 19, 2020

From our riverside picnic table in North Alexander Park, a view of the Cannon River last Friday evening.


WHAT A GIFT, THIS BEAUTIFUL Friday evening in May in southern Minnesota. The entire day, our 38th wedding anniversary, proved one of the best anniversary celebrations ever. Even in COVID-19.


Kayaking in the Cannon River, Faribault.


Randy and I took the day off work and spent it together. Outdoors. In the sunshine. In the warmth. In nature. I needed this. The quiet. The surrounding myself with nature. No news. Thoughts focused on the joy of May 15.


Another couple brought pizza to the park for a picnic.


We ended our anniversary celebration with smoked bbq pork dinners picked up curbside from The Depot Bar and Grill, a favorite Faribault restaurant. Ribs for Randy, pulled pork for me. Sides of mixed baked beans, coleslaw and a bun. And extra orders of fries and onion rings. Too much food, but absolutely delicious.


A mallard swims the Cannon in the golden hour before sunset.


We enjoyed our meals along the banks of the Cannon River in North Alexander Park, the evening sun glowing golden upon the water, across the landscape.


Part of a kayaking trio.


Others picnicked, too, fished, kayaked. All delighting in the outdoors and the calm that brings especially during a global pandemic.


Pausing to watch a family of ducks pass by on the Cannon River.


Ducklings trailed their mama across the river while the kayakers paused to appreciate the family. As did we.


Orange fences surrounding playground equipment and park shelters are gone, opening both up to public use.


Across the park, youngsters played on the re-opened playground.


I’ve noticed more hammocks in public places.


And a person and dog relaxed in a hammock suspended between trees.


Lilacs are beginning to open.


After dinner, we walked for a bit, stopping to breathe in the scent of lilacs perfuming the air. Randy clipped a few sprigs for me and carried them back to the van. Days later, those lilacs droop in a vase. But I hesitate to toss them, a sensory reminder of a lovely day in May when we celebrated 38 years of marriage.

© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


14 Responses to “Picnicking in the park on a perfect May evening in Minnesota”

  1. Littlesundog Says:

    I can almost smell the fragrance of those lilacs. Ours are long spent here, Wild honeysuckle now perfumes our property… it grows everywhere in the woods and along fence lines. I

    Randy is a thoughtful fella, to clip you a few blooms. I’m always surprised and pleased at romantic thoughts. I am glad the two of you enjoyed the day.

  2. Almost Iowa Says:

    38 years? Good for you! Gosh, if 38 years brings a rib dinner (and pulled pork), think of what 50 year will bring!

    • And that’s only 12 years away. My goodness, time flies. I love pulled pork and Randy loves ribs, so maybe we’ll enjoy both again. But I’d like to go to a “fancy” restaurant once, you know, the kind where the food is artistically presented and there are foods I’ve never eaten. Way out of our price range, which is the reason we’ve never eaten at a place like that. A friend gave us a gift card to The Depot a few months back; our anniversary was the ideal date to use that. Thank you, Kathleen!

  3. What a lovely celebration. You just have to look for the positives and focus on those and you definitely did. Happy anniversary! 1982 was a very good year!

  4. So glad the two of you enjoyed the day, your special day together 🙂 You have lilacs and here the magnolia blossoms are just big and gorgeous this year. Love arm chair nature through your photos – thanks. Happy Day – Enjoy!

  5. Kiandra Says:

    Happy Anniversary! Beautiful pictures of the Cannon River. We live near it in Northfield and we will walk the trail that passes by it often. It’s been fun to watch it change with the warmer weather. The trees along it are so green!

  6. JanBeek Says:

    Congratulations! Happy Anniversary, indeed! Thank you for sharing the joy, the beautiful park and kayaking with us. I loved it! I could almost smell those beautiful lilacs right through my computer screen!!

  7. Connie McIntosh Says:

    Very much enjoyed this blog! So happens Fri..5/15/20 was our 50th Wedding Anniversary. Our family celebrated with a Covid lawn party with guest limited to drive-by greetings only – yet a very memorable occasion. My wife enjoys a hobby and talent of photographing flowers with various vases/settings,etc.. Thus, the lilac pix was her favorite. Several years ago we visited Faribault and via E-mail you provided an excellent touring site outline. Enjoyed the visit and provided background when reading your local stories.Regards: Dr. Michael and Connie McIntosh Omaha,Ne.

    • Congratulations on 50 years of marriage! That’s worth celebrating. It sounds like you had a splendid drive-by party with many memories made. I DO remember you from a few years back and providing info on Faribault. It’s good to hear from you again. My prayer is for many more wonderful years together. Happy anniversary!

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