Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘Memories

Sibling Dinner

leave a comment »

My Hays siblings don’t gather often, but whenever we are all able to be in one place at the same time, it’s a real treat. Last night, we met at Elliott and Wendy’s house in Richfield for dinner.

The weather was HOT and HUMID at the beginning of the evening, but just as the grill was getting ready for cooking, heavy rain began to fall and that cooled things off a little. Elliott braved the downpour, beneath his hanging umbrella over the grill, and prepared chicken and burgers. The rest of us were to bring the sides.

The delicious coleslaw and a spicy white corn concoction that Judy and Mary brought were dwarfed by the massive collection of desserts that they and Cyndie laid out on the table.

It ended up being a little dinner, and a LOT of dessert.

I particularly enjoyed some of the reminiscing about the different memories of mealtimes when we were young. I asked if there was pressure to clean our plates, because I don’t remember any, yet have always tended toward that behavior. Apparently, there was some history there. Mary recalled Auntie Kay was one source of that message.

I remember our father at mealtimes asking if there was a fire, or “Where’s the fire?” in the sideways manner of getting us to notice how fast we were eating. Elliott said that eating fast offered the best chance of getting any seconds.

It’s been a heck of a lot of years since we were all kids eating around the same table, but for a few minutes last night, I enjoyed a glimmer of some of those times with my brothers and sisters.

I feel very lucky to have such wonderful siblings.

What’s not to like? They remind me, in so many ways, of me.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

July 13, 2018 at 6:00 am

Leaky Tree

leave a comment »

I’m reporting from a remote location this morning, having stayed a night in the cities to attend an event honoring students and staff at the old alma mater. Instead of driving home, only to turn around in a few hours to drive back to work, I spent the night at Cyndie’s parents’ house in Edina.

It was a real treat to see some of the accomplishments of the present-day people at Eden Prairie public schools. That is where both Cyndie and I graduated from, as well as both of our children, and where Cyndie worked as high school principal for several years.

The number of young, new-to-me faces of staff being given special recognition by the Foundation for EP Schools last night was inspiring, yet caused me to become acutely aware my advanced age. The years of our involvement seem like a really long time ago now.

At the same time, a few of the music teachers present were the same people who taught our children, and they were excited to pass along greetings to their former students. So, I guess it wasn’t that long ago.

It’s all relative, isn’t it?

Cyndie sent me pictures and stories of the antics of Cayenne sneaking through one of our web fences, twice!, yesterday; the chickens came in the barn and totally ignored the cheep-cheeping chicks; and the chicks are another day happier and healthier.

She also captured this picture of an impressive dual-pronged sap-cicle on a branch of one of our young maple trees. I don’t know why this one is leaking at that spot, but there is no mistaking the fact that the sap is flowing strong.

Syruping season is here.

It may not feel like spring yet, but when the pure maple syrup starts getting boiled down around these parts, nice weather can’t be far off.

I’m feeling ready for some of both.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

March 22, 2018 at 6:00 am

Past Blast

with 4 comments

Yesterday, a co-worker pointed out that it reached 80° in March six years ago. I had no recollection whatsoever about what I was doing in March of 2012, but I pointed out that I have this handy-dandy online journal that allows me to easily check.

The blast from my past that appeared on my screen was very interesting to read, in relation to some of the current challenges and discussions Cyndie and I have been having lately regarding what lies in store for us and Wintervale Ranch.

I am moved to re-post what I wrote for March 29, 2012:

Dream Hesitation

What the heck do I know about owning a horse farm? With the brains of this organization off gallivanting around Boston right now, it is I, your humble correspondent, who am on the front line of decision making. Yesterday, we received the first batch of properties from the realtor we met with a month ago, and I noticed some things about the listings that triggered a little apprehension in me.

“Do we know what we want to spend?” she wrote. Um… no. Well, that’s not true. We would like to spend nothing, but I assume that is not going to bring the results we are hoping for.

Private sewer? This property has a private sewer. Oh, just what I always wanted, a sewer of my own.

One property had a lot of acreage, but within a flood plain. Do I want to open that box?

Then, there are all the improvements we did to our home of 25 years. Looking at this first list of potential properties, I see all the things we’ve already done here, needing to be done all over again. Oy. Siding, insulation, gas fireplace insert, gutters, windows, garage door and floor, new driveway, landscaping, kitchen remodel, bathroom upgrades. Did I mention siding?

And, of course, now we are going to have all the walls and ceilings here repaired, freshly painted, and new carpet installed! How many of you can see John deciding to stay here and rent a stall in a stable nearby for Cyndie to have a horse?

Cyndie is the true dreamer of our team. I’m just a tag-along. I fill in some of the creative blanks, but I also tend to drag in a bit more realism (read “pessimism”) than she wants to hear. I guess we are a good balance, eh?

It doesn’t feel right trying to do this without her around.

But, hey, don’t let me get you down. This is just a normal phase of my processing things. I’ll get over it. Seriously. And, Cyndie visits again in about 3-weeks. In just a few minutes of arriving, she’ll have me back up on our dream cloud and we’ll be designing our little paradise together as if it is what my whole life groomed me to be doing.

Meanwhile, maybe I should sneak out to visit the horses she tends to here, on my own, and just stand near them… see if I can hear what they have to say. I could use a dose of their wisdom.

. * . * . * . * . * . * .

.

It is so interesting for me to read that, especially the end. I had zero experience with horses at that time.

We did end up designing a little paradise together, and it has felt like what my life groomed me to be doing. At the same time, it feels jarring to read my pondering about staying put in our old house and renting a stall for keeping a horse when questions have been popping up recently about the viability of our current situation.

The past really does provide an interesting reference for the present.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

March 8, 2018 at 7:00 am

Legacy

leave a comment »

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

January 19, 2018 at 8:43 am

Photo Memories

with 2 comments

Legacy …  7/18/1996-1/14/2018

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

 

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

January 16, 2018 at 7:00 am

Tuesday Monday

leave a comment »

It’s back to the old routine today, sort of. The holidays are over and we are back to the regularly scheduled program. I’m headed to work this morning, and will be facing the classic Tuesday Monday. It’s the first day of the work week, which for all intents and purposes makes this a Monday. Only, it’s not.

Today is Tuesday.

The incongruity serves to blur the edges of decision-making, lending a dose of fog to the workday. Catching up after a week of vacation will not happen in a day without a fair amount of purposeful effort.

Wait. Isn’t that what’s supposed to happen every day at work?

Of course, for all of us in the Friswold family, there is the added complication of our minds still being flooded with memories of a week’s-worth of tropical fun in the Dominican Republic.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

One of our excursions off the resort property was a snorkeling adventure, which also included a fair amount of partying on the boat and in the water at a brief stop near shore. Cavorting with stingrays and nurse sharks, among the many other small ocean fish was almost secondary to the rest of the fun in the sun the crew encouraged.

I’m afraid work will have a hard time competing for my full attention today with distracting memories like these swimming laps in my mind.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

January 2, 2018 at 7:00 am

What About

with 2 comments

What about the Hays family Christmases? How could we fly off to the tropics for a week over this holiday!? Well, it’s not for lack of love to my birth clan, that’s for sure. Here’s a shout out my siblings and their families.

I see the difference between Cyndie’s and my family as an asset. Basically, it starts with the difference in age of our parents. Ralph and Betty were nearing the end of their high school years when Fred and Marie were born. I was the fifth of six kids, while Cyndie was the first of five. Our combined perspectives are broader than they would be, each on our own.

Now my parents have moved on to the world of spirits and my siblings are all grandparents. They are the matriarchs and patriarchs of their own respective families. My siblings and I haven’t maintained a specific Hays tradition of celebrating Christmas together.

However, the memories of our glorious past endure and I’m sure have directly shaped the new traditions of our kids and grandkids.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Just three years ago, Cyndie and I had the pleasure of hosting a gathering of Hays families at Christmastime and I wrote about it here on Relative Something. Here is an excerpt from December 2014’s “Sibling Revelry.”

Despite a sloppy wintry mix of precipitation doing its best to dampen our spirits (sorry ’bout the pun), the gathering of Hays relatives was a joy and a half. As always happens to me at family gatherings of limited duration, the riches of access to siblings I grew up with is enticing, but the reality of our usual chaos leaves me wishing there was more time. It is hard to finish a story, and sometimes a single sentence, without interruption. My attention is too often wrenched away from the person I was listening to, and time flies by so fast, the hour of departure comes up way too soon.

Regardless, every moment was precious. Reconnecting after long periods of separation, with siblings who share so many tendencies and characteristics, is refreshing and invigorating. I tend to feel a kind of validation of who I am, discovering the brothers and sisters that I grew up with remain so similar in behavior and perspectives. I am among my people again.

DSC03401eCHI’m lucky that, as a family, we all get along. These are the people who inhabited Intervale Ranch with me from the day I was born until 9 years later, when our family moved out and the property was razed for development into an industrial park.

With technical assistance from my son, Julian, I was able to display a digitized version of a slide show I put together close to 30 years ago, which featured that old farm property. It provided an opportunity to exercise our memories, as we analyzed some of the images and compared recollections.

Meanwhile, there was non-stop food to be consumed, youngsters to get reacquainted with and entertained by, and horses to visit…

Love you, Hays relations! Hope you all had fabulous Christmas celebrations at home while we were away!

.

.

Written by johnwhays

December 29, 2017 at 7:00 am