Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘family

Live Ball

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I was out late in the big city last night at a Twins game. All the lights and pageantry of Major League Baseball, but not much to cheer about for the home team.

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The best part of the whole night was the weather. Another glorious summer night, as comfortable as ever.

That benefit was followed closely by the fellowship of longtime friends, including my son, Julian, who was a last-minute addition to the crew. I was able to take advantage of a guest parking spot at his building and we walked the few blocks to the ballpark.

It was more than enough fun to make it worth the resulting lack of a full night’s sleep.

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Written by johnwhays

August 16, 2017 at 6:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

Tagged with , , , ,

More Family

with 4 comments

Yesterday we enjoyed a visit with more family when my sister, Judy, and her daughter, Tricia, and kids stopped by for a dose of Wintervale that delightfully just kept on going, despite their intention to make it brief.

I treasure the opportunity to share the preciousness of idle time among our animals and strolling around our grounds. When the participants are as thrilled by what they find here as Cyndie and I are, it is both energizing and confirming. 

The experience is what I believe it to be. Rejuvenating. Inspiring. Mesmerizing.

The kids didn’t want to leave. I couldn’t blame them one bit.

There are chickens! The horses! They walked/ran the labyrinth, laid on the hammocks, split wood for a fire, made s’mores. We ate fresh-picked sweet corn and cooked burgers over the fire. What’s not to like?

The best part for me was sharing some custom time among the herd, just standing or sitting near the horses while they munched on sweet clover in the arena space. We pulled out the giant soccer ball for the horses, but it held little appeal compared to the greens at their feet.

As we stood observing, the horses eventually oriented themselves right in front of us, chomping away about as close as they could get. Coming from our previous snack of corn on the cob, we recognized that they were gobbling the grass with very similar motions and zeal.

Quietly hanging out with the horses is time I am able to enjoy every day, but drop-in guests rarely get the opportunity, with the inherent hazards of unexpected horse reactions and unfamiliar humans creating unnecessary risk. Cyndie offered a crash-course of safety instruction and the group was able to enter the horses’ space for some unscripted interacting.

Hunter was particularly appreciative of all the attention being lavished and he soaked up the scratches for all he was worth. The picture Tricia captured of Brooke’s kiss while Hunter closed his eyes is a wonderful depiction of the sentiments.

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Written by johnwhays

August 12, 2017 at 9:42 am

Possibly Related

with 8 comments

There was a rare gathering of my Hays siblings yesterday for dinner. Some people tell us there is a family resemblance. As we posed for our portrait, I said, “Do the Hays smile.” Someone asked what the Hays smile was.

I just stood there, smiling. It’s simple as that.

It was a wonderful treasure to be together again and share a meal.

I said we should do this every night. Elliott responded that it might be a bit much.

Why? We used to live together when we were young. I guess we could go to “our rooms” if we needed a break from too much family back then.

I am so very grateful to be in a family of siblings that get along really well. Mom and Dad did a pretty good job of raising us to get along with each other. And, they gave us that great Hays smile.

Do you see a family resemblance?

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Written by johnwhays

August 11, 2017 at 6:00 am

All Games

with 2 comments

It’s all fun and games at the lake this weekend. The 4th of July celebration at Wildwood is a tradition of classic competitions between teams of bats (blue shirts) and mice (red shirts). Under a spectacular sunny summer sky yesterday, we waged battle of kicking shoes, eating watermelon, tossing water balloons, a sponge brigade, a scavenger hunt, and moving a greased watermelon across a goal line in the lake.

It almost always comes out a tie, but both teams tend to claim victory over the other. I guess that is part of the tradition, too.

There’s a rendition of the National Anthem around the flagpole and a parade up the driveway past all the homes and back again.

The grand finale is a world-class dinner in the lodge after some spectacular appetizers on the lawn out front.

It doesn’t feel like the American political system is all that great lately, but the energy of people celebrating our independence was as great as ever.

Cyndie and I retired early to keep Delilah company in the loft bedroom under the soothing white noise of a loud fan while the banging and popping of small-time fireworks rattled the night.

It feels like a summer holiday.

Saturday evening the immediate family held a rousing tutorial of the game Tripoly with two of Cyndie’s nephews who, to our surprise, somehow made it to their late teens without ever playing the game. It was a stellar first-time exposure as the game involved some major drama in the last two hands.

Two different rare hands were dealt in the final two rounds, but neither player was able to play them out and collect the reward, because another player used up their cards first and ended the rounds.

We dealt a couple of poker hands to divide up the unclaimed chips and Steve’s son, Eric, came out on top. To my great relief, the chips were issued at no cost, so my pocket book was spared the damages that I would have otherwise suffered.

It’s all fun and games, until someone gets hurt.

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Written by johnwhays

July 3, 2017 at 6:00 am

DejaVu Again

with 2 comments

With less than a week until I leave for my umpteenth annual Tour of Minnesota bicycling and camping week, planning is well underway. Surprisingly, we are also in the midst of planning for coverage to assist Cyndie with life and ranch chores while she recovers from a surgery.

With a totally unexpected speed usually associated with emergency procedures, the office of the orthopedic surgeon initiated an accelerated series of appointments leading to repair of Cyndie’s shoulder on Tuesday, just three days before I leave for my trip.

They got her fitted with a special sling to be used for days after the procedure, and on her way home she was able to squeeze in the requisite pre-op physical. Cyndie will be back on pain meds and placed on the disabled list for ranch management activities for weeks after her surgery.

And I will be on vacation for a week. Good luck with that.

It’s a bit distracting, trying to take a break from the routine, while faced with the knowledge my wife is unable to fulfill her own role, let alone cover for my absence.

The solution: Family and friends.

We wouldn’t be where we are today without them. Thank you, in advance, to all who are volunteering to take a shift covering our needs of Cyndie-care and animal care this week while I try to keep hours at the day-job and then leave for a week of vacation.

You’ll just love the chickens!

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Written by johnwhays

June 11, 2017 at 9:07 am

Precious Getaway

with 2 comments

We are so lucky to have people who are willing and able to take care of our animals for enough time to allow us to get away to the lake place every so often. It is our Memorial holiday weekend in the U.S. and for the second time in three weeks, we are again up at the lake place.

This time, we are without Delilah. She stayed home to be with our very capable recent college graduate, McKenna. Two of Cyndie’s brothers are up here with kids, and her parents as well. We got the weekend off to a very festive start by venturing out to the Lost Land Lake Lodge for the Friday night fish fry.

The place was hopping and our server was a real charm. Food was perfect in every way and the family banter was wonderfully entertaining. It was almost enough to entirely purge the lingering mental distractions of the day-job, where business has gotten so good (busy) it’s getting annoying.

Before the night was over, I had already lost two completely different card games. It didn’t bother me one bit. The precious ambiance was all the victory I needed for putting me in my happiest of places.

A precious getaway is an amazingly priceless luxury. This one is certainly more than I deserve.

As it fills my cup to overflowing, I will send the extra love out to you and the world to distribute and amplify all that is good.

It’s the least one can do for a world that too often seems out of our reach to help.

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Generations

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

May 25, 2017 at 6:00 am