Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Oh, the joy of dyeing Easter eggs with an octogenarian April 22, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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SOMETIMES IT IS the unexpected which brings joy.

I did not expect my nearly 82-year-old mother to effuse such enthusiasm over dyeing eggs on the Saturday before Easter.

But she did when I told her days in advance of a weekend visit that I would bring hard-boiled eggs to color in addition to a cooler full of food for our meals.

“I haven’t dyed eggs in years,” she responded, giddy like a kid with anticipation.

Her enthusiasm was precisely what I needed as I had been feeling a bit melancholy about my first Easter in 28 years without any of my and my husband’s three “kids” around. We could easily have skipped the egg dyeing.

But as I rummaged through my mom’s kitchen cupboards looking for containers in which to dye the eggs, I was glad I’d brought those eggs.

Like an eager child, Mom was already struggling to open the tightly-glued package of Easter egg dyes while I counted out six empty “I can’t believe it’s not butter” containers for the dye tablets.

My husband and mom dye eggs at her kitchen table Saturday evening.

My husband and mom dye eggs at her kitchen table Saturday evening.

Eventually we settled at her cluttered kitchen table, bowls of dye before us, spoons and tongs at the ready. Not to worry about spilling on the table, she assured us. So we didn’t. But we didn’t. Spill that is.

Stirring and dipping and dyeing and trading colors.

Stirring and dipping and dyeing and trading colors.

Rather we laughed and talked and dipped eggs in dye and stirred and waited and mused that the purple was more pink than purple, the red dull, the blue especially eye-pleasing.

Ten of the eleven eggs dyed.

Ten of the eleven eggs dyed.

And in the process I realized that long-standing childhood holiday traditions matter. Even to an 82-year-old.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


The squirrels what? March 30, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 3:02 PM
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MY SECOND DAUGHTER phoned the other day, just to talk. The conversation turned to Easter, which she will celebrate alone or in a Wisconsin hospital. She’s a Spanish medical interpreter and will be on call on Easter.

“Are you sending me a chocolate bunny?” she asked.

I guess I am now, I thought, then the next day purchased and mailed a chocolate bunny.

That got me thinking about Easter traditions, like the chocolate bunnies we give our kids. And dying eggs. And Easter morning church services. And Easter egg hunts, once a part of extended family Easter dinners, now in the past as we don’t all gather anymore.

Traveling through Madison Lake last weekend, I noticed this sign for an Easter egg hunt.

Traveling through Madison Lake last weekend, I noticed this sign for an Easter egg hunt.

But many communities still have community Easter egg hunts, like the one held at the Rice County Fairgrounds in Faribault last weekend and the one this morning on the campus of Shattuck-St. Mary’s School.

I remember, as a child, participating once in an Easter egg hunt at the Redwood Falls High School football field several blocks from by grandpa’s house. We searched for hard-boiled dyed eggs, not flimsy plastic orbs manufactured in China. The finders of the few golden eggs each received a dollar bill. The rest of us got, well, boiled eggs. And we were happy.

I heard on the radio yesterday that the city of Richfield had a problem with theft at this year’s egg hunt. Seems the squirrels nabbed some of the eggs.

That does not surprise me. I recall watching a squirrel steal my niece’s pink plastic egg during an Easter egg hunt many years ago. She was practically in tears. Over an egg.

Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


Defining Easter eggs in Seattle April 21, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 7:39 AM
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I spotted these over-sized Easter eggs in the front yard of a home along Second Street Northwest in Faribault.

HAVE YOU HEARD about “spring spheres,” the latest politically-correct terminology—at least on the West Coast—for Easter eggs?

Apparently a Seattle teacher would allow a high school volunteer to bring candy-filled plastic eggs into her classroom only if she called them “spring spheres.”

Now, how ridiculous is that?

As soon as the volunteer pulled the eggs out of a bag and after the teacher pronounced them “spring spheres,” the third graders promptly called them “Easter eggs.”

You can’t fool kids into believing an oval is a sphere and Easter isn’t Easter. These Seattle students clearly know their shapes, and their holidays.

More Easter decorations in that Faribault front yard.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling