Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

From flowers to cayenne peppers, a birthday celebration October 1, 2021

A beautiful birthday bouquet from my eldest daughter and her family. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo 2021.

I RECENTLY CELEBRATED a milestone birthday and I’ve never been happier to turn another year older. Gone is my absurdly high monthly health insurance premium of $1,245 (with a $4,250 deductible), replaced by affordable (and usable) Medicare coverage. And now I’m also eligible for the Pfizer booster vaccine. Yeah. Here’s to turning sixty-five.

Walking through the prairie at River Bend toward the woods. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo 2021.

I didn’t celebrate my birthday with great fanfare or the usual birthday treat of dining out. (Even though vaccinated, I continue to be cautious and careful in these days of COVID-19.) Rather, Randy and I hiked across the prairie and woods at River Bend Nature Center, a treasured place to connect with nature in Faribault.

Omelet and hashbrowns, along with watermelon from the Faribault Farmers’ Market, comprised my birthday brunch. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo 2021.

Afterwards, I enjoyed a delicious brunch prepared by Randy. We dined al fresco on our patio at a card table draped in one of my many vintage tablecloths.

Then, in the afternoon, we spent time with our eldest daughter, her husband and our precious grandchildren at their home. I appreciated the grilled burger and vegetables with my favorite, cheesecake, for dessert. A wonderful way to celebrate.

The only thing that would have made my birthday even better would have been the presence of our second daughter, her husband and our son. But they called from southeastern Wisconsin and northwestern Indiana and that brought me joy.

Thank you to those who sent cards, this one from my second daughter and her husband. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo 2021.

Some friends and extended family also texted wishes. I got greeting cards, too.

Gladioli from The 3 Glad Girls. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo 2021.

And flowers. Randy purchased a clutch of gladioli at the Faribault Farmers’ Market. And when he presented them to me with a “Happy birthday!” while I was chatting with Andy Webster of MEG’S Edible Landscapes, Andy took note. “It’s your birthday?” he asked.

“Well, not today, but tomorrow,” I told him.

Smoked cayenne peppers gifted to me by Andy of MEG’S Edible Landscapes. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo 2021.

Then he scooped a baggie of smoked cayenne peppers from the table. “Happy birthday!” Andy said with a smile. Now if that wasn’t the sweetest gesture from a young man who lives on his dream rural acreage in the Sogn Valley, runs his business and is working on a horticulture degree from Oregon University.

Andy’s genuine passion for MEG’S Edible Landscapes showed in his pitch and his personality. He is a genuinely warm and engaging person. To summarize, Andy sells a mobile system for growing vegetables like peppers, basil, beans, lettuce, carrots and more in bags that you can easily pick up and move. It’s ideal, he said, for someone like me without garden space. If enthusiasm and knowledge make for business success, then Andy is certain to succeed.

His unexpected birthday gift of those smoked cayenne peppers touched me in a way that resonated deeply. In these challenging times, I needed that affirmation of an unexpected act of kindness. What a great way to begin my next year of life.

© Copyright 2021 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


25 Responses to “From flowers to cayenne peppers, a birthday celebration”

  1. beth Says:

    Happy birthday to her!

  2. So, October 1st? Happy Birthday, Dear Audrey! I too, am looking forward to that milestone! 🙂 ❤

  3. Bernadette Hondl Thomasy Says:

    Happy Birthday, Audrey. Older is better in so many ways, as you pointed out, especially that Medicare coverage. Your celebrations sounded perfect.

  4. GunnyN Says:

    Happy Birthday too Yoooou!!!!

  5. Judy Says:

    Happy Birthday. It sounds like you had a lovely day.

  6. Sandra Says:

    Happy birthday, Audrey! You have DEFINITELY got this birthday celebrating thing figured out. Jealous! Many more blessings to you both!

  7. kathleentara Says:

    Happy Birthday, my friend! Happy Birthday – one of full of joy, happiness and good wishes in every way – Medicare coverage included! ❤️Kathleen

  8. Sounds like a lovely birthday, My jaw dropped at the sight of the brunch made by Randy, I wanted to jump through the screen and eat it. Happy 65th my friend, woo hoo for Medicare!!!

    • Thank you for sharing my excitement about this milestone birthday and Medicare.

      Randy makes brunch every Sunday. Yes, I’m spoiled. Usually it’s an omelet with mushrooms for me, a side of hashbrowns and fresh fruit. He makes THE BEST brunch. And he is also a really really good griller.

  9. Awesome!!! So glad to hear that finally your insurance is cheaper. Sad that takes getting older to make it affordable. I know that I was so happy to have my Dutch medical insurance while suffering a medical emergency recently in MN! Since the VA would not take me the two hospitals I was transferred to plus ambulances I am sure it was well into numbers that would have made me sicker!
    Enjoying your birthday with small gestures from family and friends is a wonderful way to pass the day.
    An unexpected act of kindness is just icing on the cake.😊 🎂

    • Paula, I’m sorry you had to deal with hospital transfer issues while in medical crisis. How are you? You have been in my thoughts.

      Yes, I feel incredible thankful to now have Medicare with premiums I can afford and usable health insurance.

      And, yes, the unexpected act of kindness from Andy truly was icing on the cake, or in my case, cheesecake.

  10. Norma Says:

    Sounds like you had a very happy birthday!!! I know that the Medicare was an extremely happy occasion. October is a good month for birthdays. It’s also my favorite month of the year. My dad, my grandma, two daughters, and two great granddaughters, plus yours truly all share the same month. Could that possibly be why I think October is a great month? Anyway a belated birthday wish for you.

    • Thank you for your birthday wishes, Norma. My birthday is actually in September.

      It’s been an exceptionally beautiful October here in Minnesota. Randy and I went on fall color drives this weekend, hiked and also stopped at an apple orchard.

      • Norma Says:

        I guess that’s what happens when one doesn’t check mail everyday. September is a good month also. I also have a daughter born in September. Anyway, It sounds like your birthday was great whatever month it is.

      • It was a wonderful birthday, Norma. Thank you. Your grandson grilled some delicious burgers paired with delicious grilled vegetables.

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