Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A fitting quote as we heal from the baseball field shootings June 15, 2017

This plaque marks a baseball player sculpture at Memorial Park in Dundas, Minnesota. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2014.

 

THREE YEARS AGO I photographed a plaque at Memorial Park Baseball Field in Dundas. It marks a woodcarving of a Dundas Dukes baseball player.

 

Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2016.

 

Today, the day after the shooting of House Republican leader Steve Scalise, four others and a gunman on a baseball field near our nation’s capitol, these words by John Thorn seem especially fitting. Thorn is the official historian for major league baseball.

 

My great niece Kiera painted this stone, which sits on my office desk as a constant reminder to hold onto hope. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

 

Now, more than ever, as attacks and tragedies like this continue in the U.S. and throughout the world, we need our spirits replenished, our hope restored, our losses repaired, our journeys blessed.

 

Batter up for the Faribault Lakers. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2016.

 

We must continue to play ball. Violence can change us. But it cannot steal away the freedom we hold dear.

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

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Refuse to remain silent August 26, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 7:00 PM
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I AM SO TIRED of it. The headlines. Another woman murdered. The court records. Another man charged with domestic assault. The close-up personal experiences that twist my gut.

An edited snipped of a Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women banner.

An edited snippet of a Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women banner photographed during a recent The Clothesline Project display in Owatonna.

Earlier today my heart raced when I heard the raised voices, the “let me go,” watched the young woman pull away from the young man’s grasp.

I hesitated for a moment. And then I was at the front door in a flash, yelling across my busy street, “Hey!” Her head pivoted toward me. “Are you alright?”

“Yes.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

Her response seemed genuine.

Yet, I continued to watch as she crossed the street and headed up the hill, barefoot, shoes in hand.

I’ll likely never know her story. But the behavior and words were enough to concern me, to pull me into action, to speak up.

It’s not the first time I’ve refused to remain silent. Twice before I’ve phoned the police when women were being abused. In my neighborhood, in the open, along a busy busy street. Once I should have called 911, but didn’t. I won’t make that mistake again.

It’s been an interesting day, one which started with a “pop” that sounded like gunfire, followed by a second pop around 8 a.m. That got my attention. It is unnerving to look out your window to see police vehicles parked across the street and two policemen standing in a neighbor’s yard. Turns out they had been dispatched to shoot a sick raccoon.

Shooting. A TV reporter and cameraman in Virginia are dead today. Shot while doing a live broadcast. Just doing their jobs.

I am tired of it all. The violence. The craziness. I don’t blame the media for reporting these stories. It is their job to report the news. They don’t make the news. But sometimes they do.

On days like this—when shots are fired in your neighborhood and at Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia—it is easy to feel unsettled and to despair.

But then the opportunity arises to speak up, to yell across the street and ask, “Are you alright?” And you feel the power in your voice, in perhaps making a difference because you chose not to remain silent.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling