Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

One word: VOTE November 3, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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My dad carried home a July 31, 1953, memorial service bulletin from Sucham-dong, Korea. In the right column is listed the name of his fallen buddy, Raymond W. Scheibe. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

MEN AND WOMEN have fought and died for our democracy.

A chair placed before a Stephen Somerstein photo offers visitors a place to sit and contemplate. This photo was taken at the “Selma to Montgomery: Marching Along the Voting Rights Trail” exhibit at St. Olaf College in 2015. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

Men and women and children have marched for equality. And they still are.

A portion of a photo by Steve Somerstein, from the exhibit at St. Olaf College. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2015.

There was a time not all that long ago when people of color and women did not have the right to vote.

A message posted on a house in Dundas. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo August 2020.

It is our responsibility as citizens of the United States of America to vote. To let our voices be heard. To exercise our freedom. To cut through the political rhetoric and untruths to make informed choices. To recognize that in a democracy, every vote matters.

This folding polling booth, patented in March 1892, is on display at the Village of Yesteryear in Owatonna. It comes from the Meriden Town Hall, where voters used it until 2009. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo July 2012.

If you have not yet voted, then get to your polling place today and cast your votes. I voted early, via mail-in ballot. And, yes, I hold full confidence in that system.

Randy put this sticker on his sweatshirt after voting in the 2010 election. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

And then, like the rest of you, my dear Americans, I will wait, recognizing I have done my part by voting, by exercising my democratic right.

© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


Oh, beautiful America, land of the free July 4, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:36 AM
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IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, we have much to be thankful for, most notably our freedom. Have a wonderful Fourth of July and enjoy these photos, my gift to you as we celebrate the birth of our great nation.

My great nephew Hank, born on June 20, is celebrating his first Fourth of July.

My daughters light the southwestern Minnesota prairie sky with sparklers at a weekend pre-July Fourth family gathering.

The flag which flies at the home of my middle brother.

Flags line the park area along Highway 169 through St. Peter.

One of my favorite patriotic songs, America the Beautiful.

Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


Thoughts upon the death of Osama bin Laden May 2, 2011

AS I CLIPPED freshly-washed laundry onto the clothesline with 35-degree temperatures nipping my fingers under a heavy sky this morning, I contemplated what I would write here about Osama bin Laden. I could not not write something.

But what could I, an average American in a mid-sized Minnesota community, write about the death of this al-Qaida leader, this terrorist, this murderer, this most-wanted fugitive, one of the most-hated men in the world?

What profound words could I pull together that would express my gratitude to the U.S. intelligence community and military?

What could I say to those who lost loved ones in the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998, in the attack on the USS Cole in 2000, during the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks?

I could write nothing that hasn’t been spoken, written or thought.

And then I remembered a photo I took about a week ago of a billboard while traveling along Interstate 90 east of La Crosse, Wisconsin. I have no idea who posted the patriotic message.

But today, for me, this image summarizes how I feel as an American, as my country, the United States of America, stands, united and free.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling