Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

With Christmas gratitude December 23, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 1:13 PM
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Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.



Your identity is unknown to me. The single clue inside the legal-sized envelope with no return address shows me you are from the Faribault area. I suspect (hope) you read this blog.

Thank you for the cash gift which arrived in my mailbox today. I wasn’t expecting anything for Christmas.

You clearly possess a kind, caring and loving heart. I am grateful for your generosity, compassion and recognition that I really needed this gift. Not solely in the monetary sense, but to uplift me.

It’s been a difficult year with challenges that stretched my endurance. Many remain. But, with the love and support of others and my strong faith, I’ve managed. Hope prevails.

You, dear angel, have shown me the true spirit of Christmas. Thank you. And Merry Christmas!


© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


Celebrating Christmas, Shattuck-St. Mary’s style December 11, 2012

Shumway Hall on the Shattuck campus, decorated for the 2009 Campus Christmas Walk.

Shumway Hall on the Shattuck campus, decorated for the 2009 Campus Christmas Walk.

FOR A DECADE NOW, Shattuck-St. Mary’s School on Faribault’s east side has presented an annual Christmas gift to my community in the early December Campus Christmas Walk.

Visitors are welcome into the prestigious private prep school’s historic buildings to participate in activities like visiting with Santa, listening to musical performances, ornament making, lighting of a community Christmas tree, savoring holiday treats and, later, at one of Shattuck’s nearby ice arenas, watching a figure skating show.

When I last attended in 2009, a craft show and pinata breaking were also a part of the offerings. Additionally, I meandered through the decked-out-for-the-holidays hallways, appreciating aged stone buildings constructed by those who cared about detailed, fine craftsmanship.

The spotlight and cameras focus on "The Nutcracker on Ice" figure skaters.

The spotlight and cameras focus on “The Nutcracker on Ice” figure skaters.

This year I missed all of the Campus Christmas Walk activities on Saturday except “The Nutcracker on Ice,” presented by Shattuck-St. Mary’s figure skaters. What a treat to watch this classic holiday story unfold to a full house.

Because my husband and I arrived a wee bit late, we were seated too distant for me to get any publishable action photos with my non-telephoto lens Canon, although I certainly tried.

The cast, with the little Snowflakes on the right as audience favorites.

The cast, with the little Snowflakes on the lower right as audience favorites.

So, instead, I managed, at the end, to capture a few suitable images that showcase the pageantry, but certainly do not capture the athletic and theatrical skills woven into the students’ performances.

The skaters pose for post performance photos.

The older skaters pose for post performance photos.

For the most part, I am not a sports fan. But this storytelling figure skating, I enjoyed. And bonus, because this was a gift from Shattuck, admission was free.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


Give the gift of Minnesota writing December 20, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 10:49 PM
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ALRIGHT THEN, I’m going to put in a days-before-Christmas gift plug idea here for Lake Region Review, a Minnesota literary magazine. Even though the founders, term it a “magazine,” I’d call this 138-page volume a “book.”

Anyway, magazine/book/journal, whatever word you choose, it’s a collection of fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry by 27 Minnesotans, including me.

In my “This Barn Remembers” poem, you’ll read my memories of laboring in my childhood dairy barn on the southwestern Minnesota prairie. You may want to pull on your old boots as you muck your way through my true-to-reality poem. I tell it like it was, right down to “putrid piles of manure” and “streams of hot cow pee.”

I’m not going to choose a favorite piece of poetry or prose to highlight from Lake Region Review. But you’ll find regional writing from those as well-known as New York Times bestselling author Leif Enger to unknown college student Travis Moore in a collection that melds work by experienced and emerging writers. By the way, getting published in the Review was a competitive process. You’ll read quality writing here.

That all said, Lake Region Review would make an ideal gift for anyone who appreciates regional writing.

You can purchase the $10 volume in these Minnesota, and one North Dakota, locales:

  • Becker County Museum, 714 Summit Ave., Detroit Lakes
  • Cherry Street Books, 503 Broadway, Alexandria
  • Lakes Area Theatre, 2214 Geneva Road, N.E., Alexandria
  • Minnesota Historical Society Bookstore, 345 W. Kellogg Blvd, St. Paul
  • Otter Tail County Historical Society, 1110 Lincoln Ave. W., Fergus Falls
  • Victor Lundeens, 126 West Lincoln Ave., Fergus Falls
  • Zandbroz Variety, 420 Broadway, Fargo, N.D.

Or click on this link for instructions on how to order. (Sorry, the anthology won’t arrive by Christmas.)

Thanks for supporting Minnesota writers like me (not that I earned any money from the Review—I didn’t). But I certainly appreciate readers who value regional writing.

IF YOU’VE READ Lake Region Review, I’d like to hear your review.

CLICK HERE to read a previous post I wrote about Lake Region Review and another Minnesota literary journal, The Talking Stick.