Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

At the Faribault car show, Part II: Fit for royalty & fit for the jester July 21, 2015

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The Rolls Royce parked in downtown Faribault Friday evening for the Car Cruise.

The Rolls Royce parked in downtown Faribault Friday evening for the Car Cruise.

YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU may see at a car show.

A royal photo opp.

A royal photo opp.

At Friday evening’s Faribault Car Cruise Night, it was the 1970s Rolls Royce parked on the corner of Fourth Street/Minnesota Highway 60 and Central Avenue that drew lots of second looks. One group even posed for photos. The owners, whose identity I did not ask, take the car to the occasional car show and on Sunday afternoon drives. I expect if you own a Rolls Royce, you are selective about where you drive.

Typically, this dog's behind is attached to the back of the truck. But on this evening, it was resting on the roof. This made me laugh.

Typically, this dog’s behind is attached to the back of the truck. But on this evening, it was resting on the roof. This made me laugh.

While the Rolls Royce rated riveting royal attention, the behind of a dog attached to the roof of a truck did too. Except it seemed more fitting for the jester’s court. No one was photographing that except me.

Zooming in on the details, a Mustang emblem.

Zooming in on the details, a Mustang emblem.

I often focus on details as much as the overall scene to tell a story. An event is like a book. There are letters within words within sentences within paragraphs within chapters, between the covers. Without one, there is nothing.

BONUS PHOTOS:

Vehicles lined one block of Central Avenue.

Vehicles lined one block of Central Avenue.

I have no idea what Dixie 66 means. But there are always interesting plates on these vehicles.

Apparently 1966 Mustangs are “Dixie Dream Cars.”

Interested in what's under the hood? Many hoods are open at car shows.

Interested in what’s under the hood? Many hoods are open at car shows.

Art on the hood of a Thunderbird.

Art on the hood of a Pontiac Firebird.

Car cruise participants typically bring lawn chairs and sit near their vehicles.

Car cruise participants typically bring lawn chairs and sit near their vehicles.

More car art, this time on the trunk.

More car art, this time on the trunk.

FYI: Click here to read my first post on the July 17 Faribault Car Cruise Night. The final Cruise Night of the season is slated for 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Friday, August 21 on Central Avenue in historic downtown Faribault.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

From Faribault: I’m no gearhead, but I still love car shows July 20, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 12:06 PM
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A scene from the July 17 Faribault Car Cruise Night.

A scene from the July 17 Faribault Car Cruise Night.

IF YOU WOULD HAVE TOLD me a decade ago that I’d ever remotely be interested in a car show, I may have rolled my eyes and laughed. Back then, I considered car shows boring and mostly for guys. Like my husband, an automotive machinist. So he went alone, until the first time I decided to accompany him. With my camera.

Cars pop in cherry red.

Cars pop in cherry red against a white building.

My, how my attitude changed. When he mentions car shows these days, I grab my Canon and go.

I focus on the details, like plates and lights and curves and lines...

I focus on the details, like plates and lights and curves and lines…

When I began to view these displays of mostly vintage vehicles as gallery exhibits, I was hooked. Cars are works of art from the hood ornaments to the curves of fenders to the personalized license plates and more.

Art flames on the side of a truck.

Art flames on the side of a truck.

Randy studies motors and other practicalities of a vehicle. I study the artistic side. And I watch people. It works for us. He is beginning to see what I see. And I am learning more about motors, makes and models.

The turn-out was impressive despite the heat.

The turn-out Friday evening was impressive despite the heat.

A car show like the Faribault Car Cruise Night, held the third Friday evening of the month May – August, is about more than a collection of shiny vintage vehicles. It’s about creating a sense of community, about drawing folks into an historic downtown on a summer evening. It’s about connecting people and building relationships based on a common interest.

Peeling out around a corner of Central Avenue.

Peeling out around a corner of Central Avenue.

The State Bank of Faribault sign flashed 88 degrees Friday evening, ending a day that hung heavy with humidity. Yet, plenty of Car Cruise fans perused vehicles as local radio station, Power 96, cranked out classic rock tunes. The sinking sun angled around old brick buildings. A car squealed tires around a corner. A preschooler was hoisted onto a mini motor bike.

Adding to the artsy aspect of Car Cruise Night, was this colorful attire worn by Faribault

Adding to the artsy aspect of Car Cruise Night, was this colorful attire worn by three Somali women.

And my last photo, snapped as I ambled with my husband toward our 2003 Chevy Impala—not the 64 Chevy he coveted because he once owned one—was a trio of Somali women. They weren’t there to view the vehicles, but simply walking through downtown. But for me, from my perspective, they were part of Faribault Car Cruise Night, their colorful garb weaving more art into this temporary Central Avenue Gallery exhibit.

A 1964 Chevy.

A 1964 Chevy.

BONUS PHOTOS:

The Grain Belt powered mini bike.

The Grain Belt powered mini bike.

Some folks even bring their dogs to the car show.

Some folks even bring their dogs to the car show.

A vehicle sports stickers for area car cruises.

A vehicle sports stickers for area car cruises.

FYI: Check back tomorrow for more images from the July 17 Faribault Car Cruise Night. The next, and final, cruise event is from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Friday, August 21.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

On-the-road patriotism, Minnesota style July 4, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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American flags a wavin', this truck takes the northbound entrance ramp onto Interstate 35 off Minnesota State Highway 60 Friday afternoon.

American flags a wavin’, this truck takes the northbound entrance ramp onto Interstate 35 off Minnesota State Highway 60 Friday afternoon in Faribault.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July, everyone!

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Ducks, a frog, bunnies and, oh, yes, crows June 16, 2015

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IT’S BEEN A BIT of an animal menagerie on my property lately. First, three baby ducks bee-lined across the driveway, around the corner of the garage, up the hill and into the lilies that grow wild at woods’ edge. I have not seen them since their surprise showing on my residential lot blocks from the river.

I was pulling weeds in a flowerbed when I discovered this frog.

I was pulling weeds in a flowerbed when I discovered this frog.

The frog stayed put for a long time so I could photograph it.

The frog stayed put for a long time so I could photograph it.

That leaves me wondering also why a frog would appear, perched on a chunk of limestone rimming a garage side flowerbed. But there this bug-eyed amphibian sat in the sun, unmoving except for the pulse of his heartbeat. Unlike the baby fowl, the frog froze, allowing me to take a multitude of images before he slipped into the flowers.

The bunnies always show up each spring when I plant my flowers.

The bunnies always show up each spring when I plant my flowers.

Petunias are a favorite tried and true annual.

Petunias are a favorite tried and true annual.

No rabbit photos, just more flowers.

No rabbit photos, just more flowers.

And then the rabbits, oh, the rabbits, they have arrived in force since I potted and planted flowers like kale, petunias and impatiens. I’ve noticed a nibble here, a nibble there, but not complete consumption of what, to a rabbit, must seem a salad smorgasbord.

It is the crows, though, which I find bothersome. Ducks are cute. So is a frog in the odd sort of way such a creature can be cute. And bunnies, even if they prefer my flowers to grass, are, undeniably cute.

But crows? There is nothing cute about their annoying and raucous caws that grate at the nerves, that threaten in an unsettling Alfred Hitchock sort of way.

I won't give crows the satisfaction of photographing them. But I did photograph this bird on a tabletop fountain.

I won’t give crows the satisfaction of photographing them. But I did photograph this bird on a tabletop fountain.

And, no, I have never rushed to grab my camera and photograph a crow.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Minnesota Faces: A Dairy Princess June 12, 2015

Portrait #27: Kaylee Wegner

 

Portrait 27, Kaylee Wegner

 

That young people are still interested in agriculture pleases me, for I grew up on a southwestern Minnesota dairy and crop farm.

While I left the farm for an education and career in journalism, youth like Kaylee Wegner have remained true to their rural roots. I’ve known Kaylee, a classmate of my son, for a long time. She’s smart, poised, confident, driven and passionate about agriculture. This fall she begins her senior year at South Dakota State University, pursuing a bachelor of science degree in dairy production.

I last spoke with Kaylee in June of 2013 when her parents, Ron and Diane (about as salt-of-the-earth wonderful people as you’ll ever meet), hosted “A Day on the Farm” at their rural Faribault acreage. Kaylee and her older sister, Brianna, were there, too, actively involved in the event that drew some 600 visitors. Kaylee, then a Rice County Dairy Princess, posed for photos with a calf and kids. I could see how much she loved promoting the dairy industry.

Since 1937, June Dairy Month has been an annual tradition celebrating all things dairy. When you pour yourself a glass of milk, order a cheeseburger or enjoy an ice cream cone, think of Kaylee and all the other young people who still care about, and are the future of, agriculture.

#

This is part of a series, Minnesota Faces, featured every Friday on Minnesota Prairie Roots.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Oh, flowers, the reasons I love thee June 6, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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DO YOU HOLD A CERTAIN FLOWER in reverent respect?

 

My daffodils are in full bloom here in southeastern Minnesota.

 

Perhaps you appreciate the first daffodils of spring erupting in bursts of yellow through a too-long colorless winter landscape.

 

Red tulip

 

Or you delight in the petals of a red tulip unfolding. I remember how my eldest daughter, as a preschooler, surmised that the tulips were opening their mouths. I’ve never thought of tulips in quite the same way since her astute observation. Now I see blood red lips.

 

Today I choose to see the beauty of white in daisies, one of my favorite flowers.

 

I’ve always loved daisies. Perhaps it is the seventies flower child in me emerging or my focus on simplicity and non-extravagance. When I married 33 years ago, the humble daisy was an integral part of bouquets.

 

Virgil and Jane's peonies

 

Peonies remind me of yesteryear. These massive bushes weighed with lush blossoms of fragrant pinks are the flowers of our grandmas.

 

Iris, grouping of purple and white 7

 

And then there are irises, in full bloom now here in southern Minnesota. They remind me of my sweet mom, who loves irises.

Isn’t it this way with so many things in life? We treasure something because of the memories held therein.

IN FARIBAULT, RIGHT NOW, hundreds of irises are blooming along a corner lot at Minnesota Highway 60 and Shumway Avenue. What a wonderful gift to my community from this east-side resident:

Irises stretch the length of the property along a stretch of Minnesota Highway 60.

Irises stretch the length of the property along a section of Minnesota Highway 60.

The iris are in assorted colors and styles.

The irises are in assorted colors and styles.

On the Shumway Avenue side, more irises.

On the Shumway Avenue side, more irises.

Lots of irises like this.

Lots of irises like this mix with other purple flowers.

Beautiful masses of irises.

Beautiful masses of irises.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

A photo essay: Celebrating Memorial Day in Faribault May 25, 2015

The Color Guard always leads the parade.

The parade begins with the Rice County Central Veterans Association Honor Guard/Color Guard leading the way.

FOR THE THIRTY-THREE YEARS I’ve lived in Faribault, I’ve rarely missed a Memorial Day parade and the program that follows in Central Park.

Little Ivan arrives for the parade in a car pushed by his dad, Jake.

Little Ivan arrives for the parade in a car pushed by his dad, Jake.

It’s a time-honored tradition of music and marches, salutes and speeches, flags and families.

Saluting the flag.

Saluting the flag at the ceremony in Central Park.

I’m proud to live in a community where patriotism and service to country and respect for the American flag and all it means runs strong from generation to generation.

From kids to adults, many are dressed in a patriotic red, white and blue.

From kids to adults, many are dressed in a patriotic red, white and blue.

Honorary Grand Marshall, Adrian Gillen, rides in the parade alongside his wife, Jean. The couple both served their country and were duo grand marshalls.

Grand Marshal, Adrian Gillen, rides in the parade alongside his wife, Jean. The couple both served their country and were duo grand marshals.

David Kirkpatrick, who is my eldest daughter's classmate, was the honorary grand marshall.

David Kirkpatrick, who is my eldest daughter’s classmate, was the honorary grand marshal.

The Shattuck-St. Mary's Crack Squad always marches in the parade and always fires their guns.

The Shattuck-St. Mary’s Crack Squad always marches in the parade and always fires their guns.

Cub

The Scouts always hand out American flags during the parade.

The parade includes vintage vehicles.

The parade includes vintage vehicles.

You know the parade is ending when horses and riders arrive.

You know the parade is ending when horses and riders arrive.

At Central Park, the Bethlehem Academy Band awaits their turn to play the National Anthem.

At Central Park, the Bethlehem Academy Band awaits their turn to play the National Anthem.

Some attendees clutch American flags.

Some attendees clutch American flags.

Honored veterans Adrian Gillen, left, and brothers Matt and David Kirkpatrick.

Honored veterans Adrian Gillen, left, and brothers Matt and David Kirkpatrick.

Veterans Travis Quinlan watches the program at the park with hundreds of others.

Veteran Travis Quinlan watches the program at the park with hundreds of others. He was also a classmate of my eldest daughter.

Hundreds gathered in Central Park for the program, presented on the bandshell. The Girl Scouts participated with a presentation on flag folding and more.

Hundreds gathered in Central Park for the program, presented on the bandshell. The Girl Scouts participated with a presentation on flag folding and more.

Archie Temple walked in the parade and then arrived at the park for the Memorial Day program. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1952-1956, during the time of the Korean War.

Archie Temple walked in the parade and then arrived at the park for the Memorial Day program. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1952-1956, during the time of the Korean War. That’s his original Navy uniform.

Honored combat veteran David Kirkpatrick address the crowd as grand marshalls Jean and Adrian Gillen watch.

Honored combat veteran Matt Kirkpatrick addresses the crowd. Grand marshals Jean and Adrian Gillen are seated next to the podium.

David Kirkpatrick gives a few brief remarks.

David Kirkpatrick speaks briefly.

As is tradition each year, members of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 43 place wreaths on the memorial cross.

As is tradition each year, members of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 43 place wreaths on the memorial cross.

The Color Guard is an important part of the day's events.

The Honor Guard/Color Guard is an important part of the day’s events.

As they left the park, veterans Travis Quinlan, left, and David and Matt Kirkpatrick posed for one last photo. Travis and David were Faribault High School classmates.

As they left the park, veterans Travis Quinlan, left, and David and Matt Kirkpatrick posed for one last photo. Travis and David were Faribault High School classmates.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

 
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