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

Posts Tagged ‘adventures

Superb Escapades

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Superlatives. Yesterday was as wonderful as the day before and served to amplify the pleasantries we enjoyed tenfold. The weather helped to accommodate anything and everything we found to do, including replacing an ailing screen door.

It looked simple enough until the door Mike and I picked up at the lumber yard in Hayward proved to be an inch taller than the one we were replacing. It appeared the old one had been cut down to fit so we borrowed a circular saw and did the same thing. After much searching, we found an old can of still viable stain and successfully completed the unplanned project.

We also received new insights about our trees from an arborist whose services were enlisted to analyze the health of trees around the group of properties that form the Wildwood Lodge Club, of which Cyndie’s family are long-time members. Near the end of winter last year there was a storm that brought down a lot of big branches and a few trees. The size of some of the limbs was enough to inspire seeking professional advice.

Between those events, the day allowed for paddle board and kayak excursions, we swam and sunbathed, and played a mini-tournament of games. Horseshoes, ladder golf, corn hole bag toss, darts, cards, and an encore round of “Fishbowl,” the triple-game of Taboo, Charades, and Password.

On a walk around the property, we twice enjoyed a close encounter with a doe with three very young fawns. They did not stray far after we came upon them the first time such that we found them again, a little further along in the woods where they were munching on ferns.

Cooking dinner on the fire was so good on Friday that we ended up doing it again yesterday.

Today will be a smidgeon less superlative as we adjust to the early departure of our friends, Barb and Mike as they head back for time with their grandkids this afternoon.

Superb, nonetheless.

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Written by johnwhays

July 31, 2022 at 9:48 am

Yep Indeed

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Trying to capture the essence of my adventures of last week on my abbreviated version of the Tour of Minnesota has been difficult due to instantly being transported from one world into another. I am still immersed in the second phase of my vacation, the Friswold family gathering at their lake place, which keeps me distracted from pondering long enough to write about either experience.

I was born on this day back in 1959, and that fact, combined with the focus of this weekend –the one-year anniversary of Cyndie’s dad’s passing– is keeping things spinning faster than my writing brain processes.

And that’s okay. It’s just that I really want to tell my stories and exercise my writing muscles. A lot of life-affirming experiences have occurred for me of late. The occasion of my birthday is the least of them.

Julian has given me another wonderful present in the form of his coding expertise that astute readers may have already noticed this morning. The random wayback feature that I love so much is now a permanent option available on the margin, or trailing the initial posts on mobile devices.

Maybe if the dreary cloud cover that has arrived over Hayward this morning will lend itself toward my finding a quiet corner to collect some words to describe my adventures from the last week. Maybe not.

I’m going to go with the flow. Right now we are in the sunroom with windows all open and family stories and belly laughs are frequent. Breakfast is nigh. I’m sitting here trying to multitask between participating and typing.

Until now. If you want more, click the wayback machine for a random archived post.

Love.

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Written by johnwhays

June 26, 2021 at 8:37 am

Remembering Jim Klobuchar

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Among the most influential people in my life, Jim Klobuchar holds one of the top spots. When I learned last night of the news of his passing, my memories instantly jumped to the two treasured connections I enjoyed with Jim: annually participating in his June “Jaunt with Jim” biking and camping adventures around Minnesota for years, and participating in one of his guided treks in the Himalayan mountains of Nepal.

However, the more profound impact Jim had on me was probably his influence as a writer. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword. I read his columns and sports reporting in the Minneapolis Star Tribune for most of my life. My style of wordsmithing is a reflection of how his writing made me feel as a reader. I wanted to write about people and places in the way Jim did. At the same time, it is very intimidating to compare my compositional aspirations with his professional accomplishments.

Reading Jim’s columns describing the bike and camping adventures he led inspired me to sign up the next year to try my first-ever long-distance cycling expedition. It was in 1994, the 20th year of his leading the June event, and I’ve been doing it ever since, minus a few scattered years when I was unable.

After one spectacular week, I wrote out some lyrics to memorialize the annual adventure. I expected it to be a song, but I couldn’t get all the words to fit a consistent rhythm, so I decided it was a poem, instead. I brought it along the next year to share with the group. On the first night, I told Jim about the poem and my desire to read it for everyone. He asked to see it and when I handed the paper over to him, he tucked it in a pocket, then moved on with first-night greetings and leadership duties.

I don’t remember if it was the next day, but some amount of time passed before he finally acknowledged the poem again. He said he liked it and wanted to read it to the group himself.

Here come those mixed feelings again. “Why you controlling SOB...” I thought. “Wait, Jim Klobuchar wants to read my words to a large group of people?” I was more honored than miffed. Of course, I wanted it read as soon as possible, but Jim had his own agenda. One day passed, then two, three, four… I eventually gave up thinking about it. Whatever.

Jim picked post-lunch on the second-to-last day and his timing was impeccable. He called me up to stand next to him while he more than admirably recited the lyrical lines. A couple years on and I was able to forge the poem into a song that tends to get new air-time each successive month of June. Ultimately, I recorded a version and combined it with images from a couple of year’s rides.

At the time, Jim was living close to where I worked, in Plymouth, MN. I burned a copy of the video onto an optical disk (remember those?) and dropped it off in a surprise morning visit. He met me at the door wearing a robe and somewhat dumbfoundedly accepted the mysterious media.

I received the best response in an email a short time later that morning. He implied he wouldn’t have let me leave without joining him in the viewing if he had known what was on that disc.

The year I flew to Nepal for the trek, Jim and I were lone travel companions with a day-long layover in LA. It was a rare treat to have so much uninterrupted attention from this man whom I considered a mentor. I remember thinking how much he and my dad would have enjoyed each other, especially when Jim regaled me with detailed memories of his days covering the Minnesota Vikings football team.

He was a consummate listener and allowed me to tell him more about myself than anyone needed to hear.

Jim turned 81 while we were in Nepal and he was one of only two trekkers who reached the highest elevation planned. Already showing signs of his fading mental acuity, but not a speck of giving in to it, there were some poignant moments on that trip. Our relationship was cemented forever after.

Here’s hoping Jim has already regained his full mental capacities for the remainder of eternity. Those of us he has left behind will cherish our memories of him at his very best.

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Written by johnwhays

May 13, 2021 at 6:00 am