Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘Independence Day

Spectacularly Pleasant

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We were blessed with a fabulous summer-weather day for our Wildwood Lodge Club annual Fourth of July games. Things started a little slow, with a pickup wiffleball game occupying some of us, while the rest of the folks made their way to the lodge.

The flag was raised to a recorded version of our National Anthem.

Shoes were kicked.

Also, water balloons were tossed (thrown), wet sponges were passed, bodies were spun, and watermelon was handlessly gobbled. Yes, it gets messy.

Greased watermelons were then wrestled toward invisible goal lines.

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Finally, a feast was shared in the lodge.

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After dinner, I played a little guitar around the fire to cap off a spectacular day of events.

The most difficult part of this precious weekend is facing the return to reality that happens today. We drive home this afternoon in a line of holiday traffic to resume our normal weekday duties.

I suppose the plus side of that is, it tends to make days like these all the more special that we get to experience them.

This year will go down as a particularly precious Fourth of July weekend enjoying summer games up at Wildwood with all the families present.

I look forward to dwelling on it for as long as circumstances will allow.

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Written by johnwhays

July 7, 2019 at 8:23 am

Real Joy

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We are up at the lake for our US holiday weekend closest to Independence Day and large numbers of family are in attendance. That makes for special times. Even though the earth is shaking in California and stupid statements fly in Washington, D.C., our attention is localized in the here and now.

Last night the cousins and friends gathered around a table for a rousing game of “Catch Phrase” which blossomed into a classic manifestation of unbridled joy.

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It’s as much fun to watch as it is being a contestant.

Today, the seven families of our Wildwood Lodge Club will congregate at the lodge for a flag raising and National Anthem followed by a parade up and down the driveway. Then, the games commence. Fierce competitions of coordination and silliness between teams labeled “bats” and “mice” as we toss balloons, kick shoes, and gobble watermelon.

Next, there will be a massive community feast in the lodge and maybe a few fireworks after dark.

Laughter abounds throughout it all.

Extended family, and friends and neighbors who have always been close as family, sharing time and activities together in the glorious lakeside summer sunshine.

Even though there are harsh realities in the world, moments of our freedom and independence can be celebrated among smaller communities who know how to show love to others and be loved ourselves.

We are very lucky, and I absolutely cherish these times when we get to be at the lake with the people who know us best, experiencing real joy and sharing so much genuine love.

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Written by johnwhays

July 6, 2019 at 8:37 am

Passing Time

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Just like that, another day is gone. Independence Day is over. The weather at the lake was a mix of perfectly summerish and occasionally rainy, and I didn’t do much beyond wallowing in the luxury of the fact it was a day off from the usual routine.

I played some guitar, read some, napped briefly, played cards, and eventually helped inflate some Rave Sports water toys.

Passing time with no agenda.

Almost as if there was some meaning to my doing so.

If there is, I’m successfully remaining oblivious to it.

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Written by johnwhays

July 5, 2019 at 6:00 am

Starting Early

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Cyndie and I left for the lake after I got home from work yesterday. We had no idea that Wednesday night the 3rd of July would be the time when towns would hold their fireworks shows in Wisconsin.

It seemed to me that traffic was flowing fairly well for the night before a holiday that was providing a 4-day weekend for most folks. Maybe the people who were going to be out of town had already left. We only ran into two backups.

The first one was at a roundabout, of all places. The very system that was created to minimize congestion at an intersection was not achieving its potential when we arrived. There was no zipper merging happening because someone in our lane was intent on waiting until no other cars were anywhere in sight before executing their right turn.

The second backup happened as we approached Shell Lake. Several hours before darkness was to arrive, officials had already closed Hwy 63 and were detouring traffic through town to create a safe zone for the fireworks show. We didn’t wait around to see the spectacle. It seemed a day early to us, but maybe it had something to do with the holiday falling on a Thursday.

We stopped for dinner at a local diner/gas station that won our hearts after our first visit there last year. In this case, the second time wasn’t the charm. It seemed so dang impressive the first time we ate there. Last night, our experience was surprisingly underwhelming.

It’s all relative, I tell ya.

Makes me want to try seeing things with the joy and wonder of the first time, regardless of how familiar it may have become. I’ll have a good chance to practice this over the next few days. We are up at Wildwood for the annual 4th of July festivities, including the long tradition of games between the “bats” and “mice” teams.

Water balloon toss; shoe kick; watermelon eating contests; relay racing.

We’ve been through this routine so many times, it is easy for me to become jaded over it. When it was still fresh to me and I was much younger, I was so moved by the experience that I wrote a song about it. The excitement has faded as I have aged.

This year I have a new goal to look at the weekend with the wonder I felt the first few times I came up here and to send a lot of love to all who show up to participate. What’s the worst that could happen? I might have as much fun as the year I wrote that song.

Go, team, go!

Happy US Independence Day everyone!

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Written by johnwhays

July 4, 2019 at 6:00 am

The Fourth

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Rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air. It being a wonderfully warm July night last night, we had all the windows open. Beyond the rhythmic ratchety chirp of a few nearby frogs, we were serenaded by holiday revelers getting a head start, lighting up over an hour’s worth of pyrotechnic battle sounds on the third of July.

Today is a mid-week pause from the day-job, but the ranch chores never take a break. Jackie traveled across Wisconsin to be with her family for the holiday, so Cyndie and I will be tending to all our animals for the day.

I may do some mowing, if it doesn’t rain, and Cyndie is considering canning some black-cap jam. She may even get some help from Elysa and Ande, who messaged an intent to visit.

Other than that, we have no special Independence Day plans.

I’m sure we will have another night of battle sounds echoing throughout the hours surrounding sunset.

O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Happy 4th of July to all who reside in the US of A!

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Written by johnwhays

July 4, 2018 at 6:00 am

Pickin’ Time

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Today is Independence Day in the U.S. I’m not sure whether there is added significance about the holiday this year, but it feels more complicated than usual with the turmoil over the bizarre turn our national government has taken, starting early in the Presidential campaign season, then through the change of administration and beyond, and all the while, compounded by the apparent ongoing meddling of foreign nations.

Did someone say “Russia?” Cough, cough.

Are we still an independent country? “One nation, under multinational corporations, indivisible…”

Regardless, we will be celebrating the day by mowing grass, composting manure, and picking raspberries. We returned from the lake yesterday afternoon, despite the gorgeous conditions beckoning us to stay. There was just too much work to be done at home.

Unfortunately, more than gets done in one day, but what a difference a day can make. I’m confident I will feel just fine by the time I throw in the towel tonight and head in for a shower and some dinner.

We took a little reconnaissance walk around the property last evening and found horses and chickens in good order. Most noteworthy was the amount of progress visible in the raspberry bushes compared to how they looked when we left on Friday.

Without delay, Cyndie got a bowl and started collecting berries. Soon, the chickens arrived to join her. It appears she will have some added competition this year on picking raspberries.

Another new addition to our landscape is bursting open like 4th of July fireworks! The first of the many colors of lilies at the top of our driveway are in full bloom.

It was a nice treat welcoming us home.

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Written by johnwhays

July 4, 2017 at 6:00 am

All Games

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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