Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

From fireworks to face masks… July 9, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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An over-sized American flag flies along Interstate 90 near Madison, Wisconsin, on the Fourth of July.


MADISON, WISCONSIN on the Fourth of July is, if anything, noisy. Loud with fireworks. We sat on the balcony of our son’s apartment in the Atwood neighborhood the evening of July 4 and watched and listened as fireworks spread across the night sky. Left. Right. And in between. No fireworks from an organized official public show, but from neighborhoods.


A pop-up fireworks tent in Mauston, where we stopped for a picnic lunch.


Randy and I arrived in the capital city in the early afternoon, passing numerous fireworks businesses en route. A temporary tent in Mauston. A permanent fireworks building in some other location along Interstate 90 that I can’t recall.


A large-scale fireworks business just off I-90 near Madison.


Wisconsinites like to do it up big with their fireworks, brats, beer and cheese.


Lots of campers on I-90.


Traffic volumes were heavy along I-90 and the city of Madison thrumming with people and traffic. You could forget for a moment or ten that we are still in the midst of a global pandemic except for the people wearing masks and the electronic road signs advising travelers to “buckle up and mask up.”


A public service announcement flashes over I-90. I saw this message numerous times along I-90. Thank you, Wisconsin, for the reminder.


I appreciate the message. And I appreciate, too, the many people I saw in Madison wearing face masks, showing their care and concern for others. We could learn a thing or two from the good folks of Madison about the importance of wearing masks. (At least here in many parts of greater southern Minnesota. Thank you, Rochester, Mankato and Winona, Minnesota, for mandating mask wearing. St. Paul and Minneapolis, too.)

© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


2 Responses to “From fireworks to face masks…”

  1. We have mandated mask wearing in our state and I am grateful even though many people are still not wearing them. Our little town has seen an increase of 70% cases in the past week. Now granted we are not in the 100’s ….yet. But it will happen and there will be deaths and all because people will just not follow simple protocols. Don’t get me started. Stay safe.

    • I am thankful to hear your state has mandated wearing of face masks. Some cities in Minnesota have done the same, but not enough. I am hoping our Governor mandates masks. I see too many people without and that frustrates me to no end given its such a simple thing we can all do to protect one another and stop the spread. We are now to 898 cases in my county with eight deaths, which should be enough to concern anyone who lives in Rice County. I’m to the point where I won’t shop at local businesses that do not require employees to wear masks. They want our business, yet do nothing to show they care about us as customers/people. This failure to wear masks seems to be more of a problem outside the Twin Cities metro based on my observations and based on what I hear from my daughter who tells me most people in the metro wear masks. Vent all you want. I feel the same as you. You stay safe, too, dear friend.

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