Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A sweet May Day tradition May 2, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:01 AM
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THE UNEXPECTED RAPID ring of the doorbell jolted me from my writing.

Who would summon me to the door shortly after 9 a.m.?

I should have known, should have been on alert.

But I’d forgotten all about May Day and the tradition of depositing a basket on a doorstep, pressing the doorbell and then dashing away unseen.


May Day bag gift tag


As in past years, dear friends have gifted me and my husband with a treat on May 1. Magic marker floral artwork. A plastic bag of puppy chow tucked inside a brown paper bag.

Yummy puppy chow bagged and placed inside a decorated brown paper bag.

Yummy puppy chow bagged and placed inside a decorated brown paper bag.


While I appreciate the treat of rice cereal squares blended with peanut butter and chocolate and coated with powdered sugar, I value even more the thoughtfulness and kindness of this family.

Our friends, Tammy and Jesse, are raising their four children to be kind, caring, compassionate and loving, just like them. What a blessing this God-loving family has been in my life.

Their May Day surprise brightened an otherwise gloomy morning of grey skies dripping rain.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


A sweet May Day surprise from dear friends May 1, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 3:13 PM
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TODAY IS MAY DAY, dear readers. Did you remember?

I had forgotten, until I opened the front screen door this afternoon and spotted a bag on my front steps. This bag:

The sweet May Day surprise friends dropped onto my front steps sometime today.

I knew, even before reading the tag, that this May Day bag (basket) came from my friends Tammy and Jesse and their children, Noah, Hannah, Jack and Amelia.

They are thoughtful like that—so giving and caring and simply the kind of family that you love because they are good and kind and wonderful and genuine.

I read the note wishing my family a blessed spring, untied the blue ribbon and found, inside, a plastic bag brimming with puppy chow. It is not dog food. I do not have a dog. Rather, this version is for humans and is made from crispy rice cereal squares, chocolate chips, peanut butter and powdered sugar. Yummy and addicting and my friends know just how much I enjoy this treat. I will stash away the puppy chow now or it will be gone before the husband and son taste even a morsel.

Love, love, love puppy chow...

CLICK HERE to find a recipe for puppy chow. Thank you, Tammy, Jesse, Noah, Hannah, Jack and Amelia, for brightening my first day of May with your unexpected gift.

Readers, there’s still time today to surprise someone you care about with an unexpected May Day basket/bag on their front steps.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


Forbidden fruit and May Day surprises May 3, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 7:31 AM
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I SUPPOSE IMPRESSING me is not all that difficult. After all, I don’t live a lavish lifestyle, don’t own a fancy house, could care less about the latest fashions, etc.

So when I saw this fruit centerpiece on the island in my brother and sister-in-law’s Woodbury kitchen Sunday afternoon, I ooooohed and aaaaaaahed and carried on like Van Gogh himself had created this piece of art.

As diners loaded their plates with chips and salsa, veggies and dip, then tacos and all the fixings, followed by Special K bars, chocolate chip cookies, angel food cake smothered with whip cream and topped with fresh strawberries, and mints handmade by my mom and aunts, we didn’t eat of the forbidden fruit.

The fruit wasn’t truly forbidden. It just seemed that way.

You know what I mean. Just like no one wants to be the first in line at a buffet or wants to sit in the front church pew, no one apparently wanted to be the first to pluck fruit from the lovely, ever so lovely creation of an employee in the deli department of a local, fancy grocery store.

It seemed a shame to destroy such art, but eventually some brave guest reached out and did it, grabbed a piece of fruit or two and the sinful deed was done.

MORE THAN A FRUIT centerpiece impressed me on Sunday. So did this bit of weather news from North Dakota, e-mailed by my soon-to-be-leaving-Minot-and-moving-to-Missouri sister-in-law:

“We have suffered through yet another NoDak blizzard, which began early Saturday and ended early Sunday. There were 2 and 3 foot drifts in our driveway and many of the streets as we drove to church this morning,”

That sort of puts the whole gloomy, few-snowflakes-falling-in-southern- Minnesota-on-Sunday into an appreciative perspective.

FINALLY, TO END my Sunday, I was also impressed by an unexpected act of kindness bestowed upon my family by friends.

When we arrived home from a day of celebrating (Confirmation, not May Day) with family early Sunday evening, we found a decorated brown paper bag sitting outside by the garage. It was a May Day “basket” filled with puppy chow, which is not food for dogs, but food for humans. It’s crispy cereal squares covered with melted chocolate and peanut butter and then coated with powdered sugar. Yummy.

As much as I savored every single bite of puppy chow, I appreciated more the sweetness of Hannah and Noah, who, probably with the help of mom Tammy and the assistance of chauffeur Dad Jesse, pulled together this sweet May Day surprise for my family.

This little surprise brought back fond memories of weaving May Day baskets from lilac lavender and sunny yellow construction paper, cutting out paper tulips and giving the basket to my mom on May 1 so many elementary school years ago.

To think that friends would think to think of my family, to take the time to prepare a treat, decorate the bag and leave this thoughtful surprise touches me, deeply. It’s reassuring and uplifting to the human spirit to be the recipient of such unexpected kindness.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling