Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘relatives

Fun Surprise

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What could be more fun than getting together with life-long friends and heading out on a beautiful spring evening to see a Minnesota Twins baseball game at Target Field? I’ll tell you what. Discovering that your cousin from Duluth, whom you infrequently see, is at the same game and then sleuthing out his location to surprise him for a brief visit during the 7th inning.

Yes, that became my adventure the night before last. My son, Julian, brother-in-law, Steve, and four other Eden Prairie friends gathered downtown to see the Twins play game 2, of a 3-game series, against the LA Angels. It was a gorgeous night, and a delight to be out with treasured peeps to check on a team that has achieved an impressive amount of success recently, as compared to what Minnesota sports fans usually face.

As per today’s de rigueur trend, one of the guys snapped a phone selfie with the rest of us mugging around him for the shot. In an instant, our whereabouts were broadcast over the internet, where my sister, Judy, happened to see it. How many other spectators were simultaneously sharing pictures of their night at the ballpark? Well, it turns out Judy also found a post by our cousin, Charles Moulton, revealing his spectacular vantage point from behind home plate.

Suddenly my phone pings me with a message from Judy, showing me that our cousin was at the same game!

I could tell from the view in his image that we were on the same upper deck level, so Julian and I walked that direction to see if we could connect.

Since Charles had no idea we were at the game, I knew we had the upper hand in surprising him, as long as we spotted him first. It didn’t take long to confirm a sighting. He was in the first row, on the railing, and there just happened to be two open seats beside him. At the close of the sixth inning, we stealthily made our way down to the row behind him and then climbed over the back of the seats, asking, “Are these seats open?” without waiting for the answer he was politely offering.

He gave me a glance, as I smugly focused on him and not the field down in front of us, which subsequently induced a second look.

That’s when I was granted the ultimate reward of the surprise, as his face revealed the transforming expression of recognition and delight. We both had our sons with us, so there was also a meeting of second cousins. It was a real treat and a special bonus to an otherwise fabulous outing.

The Twins deserve some credit for putting on an exciting finish for the home crowd, despite the fact it was because they allowed the Angels to climb back from 4-0 to make it a one-run game. A big throw from center field to home for a lead-saving out gave us all much reason for revelry.

To top the night off, the sudden downpour of rain that popped up, waited until the game was over and we had made our way out of the stadium.

It was a wonderful week-night outing, topped with a special surprise that definitely qualified as my idea of fun!

Thanks, Judy!

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Written by johnwhays

May 16, 2019 at 6:00 am

Festivities Continue

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This time, the party moved to our house. All of Cyndie’s brothers came over, bringing some of their kids, along with the Fisknes family from Norway. When our kids learned of everyone’s plans, they decided to make the trip, too. We all had a great time hanging around the fireplace, eating an impressive lunch buffet Cyndie set out, walking the labyrinth, feeding the horses and chickens, and playing card games.

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Eventually, the American contingents all headed back to the Twin Cities, but the Norwegians stayed for a sleep-over at the ranch. That was always in the plan, but we rearranged the days a little to avoid the rain we are expecting today.

We decided weather like that was more fitting for shopping at the Mall of America.

The main highlight of their visit (among many), was seeing the girls succeed wonderfully for their first attempt at making pasta from scratch.

The fresh pasta turned out great and made for a scrumptious dinner. I even got in on the kitchen activity, (an uncharacteristic place for me) sautéing vegetables while the actual family cook was busy with the more important task of teaching the art of home-made pasta.

It was a perfect way to fend off the onset of the wet weather we are expecting to face today and tomorrow.

It all felt downright festive, if I do say so myself.

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Written by johnwhays

December 27, 2018 at 7:00 am

So Christmassy!

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Christmas morning with Cyndie’s family is all breakfast and presents, on a grand scale, both. After getting lavishly fed, we headed downstairs to find 23 people’s-worth of presents around the tree.

It doesn’t take too long for Santa’s little helpers to distribute the packages around the room.

Then begins a cacophony of ripping paper, saving bows, exclamations of surprise/love/and delight, and many voices talking all at once.

As quickly as possible after everything was opened, I needed to slip out for a return trip to the ranch, where Delilah was patiently awaiting some attention. She was very grateful to have a chance to get outside to do her business. I granted her as much time and freedom as possible, trying to make up for the many hours she has been left alone in the last few days.

She seemed to think it made for good opportunity to hunt critters that live in the grass beneath the snow.

“Wha-aat?” she says after we get back inside. “I’m a good girl!”

After I got her fed, and darkness moved the chickens into the coop, it was time for my second drive of the day to Edina.

The Christmas feast which included salmon and beef tenderloin, easily justified the added driving.

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Cyndie stayed at her parent’s house overnight Monday and all day yesterday to help with preparations.

Christmas 2018 was definitely a day that felt wonderfully Christmassy in our family! The added blessings of having Norwegian relatives joining in the festivities was icing on our cake.

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Written by johnwhays

December 26, 2018 at 7:00 am

Festivities Underway

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The week after the winter solstice has become a time of amplified car commuting in my mind, ever since we moved an hour away from family in the Twin Cities, to rural countryside in western Wisconsin, where we have animals that need tending.

For some occasions, we have been lucky to find sitters to live in our house and care for our horses, chickens, and dog, but holidays are a tough time to ask others to do the job, at the expense of their own family gatherings.

Generally, that means we do the hour drive to participate in a few hours of holiday festivities, and then duck out early to make the hour drive back home again. Although the commute has become second nature for me to get to the day-job, the short time between trips each day around Christmastime makes the driving seem much more significant.

And, on Christmas day, we do it twice in one day.

It is not ideal, but it is always worth it, on both ends. We never regret time spent with our animals, and the time with family is forever priceless.

This year, we have an added bonus of relatives visiting from Norway. That wouldn’t be my relatives. The Fisknes family are from the Ravndal clan on Cyndie’s family tree. Cyndie’s great-grandmother was a Ravndal. We drove out to Eden Prairie last night to greet the family of five who are initially staying at the home of Cyndie’s brother, Steve.

After Christmas, the plan is for them to spend a night or two with us at Wintervale.

We don’t have oodles of snow to show off, but that might just change right in the middle of their visit. Precipitation is coming, but there is a sad chance it could be rain and snow mixed. Yuck.

The horses are enjoying the lack of snow cover during their brief forays onto the frozen grass of the back pasture. Yesterday, when I opened the gate for them, Delilah and I lingered in the field with them to appreciate the moment.

All three horses emptied their bladders in quick succession, and then followed that up a short time later with a rambunctious roll on the ground. Seemed like a very business-like routine in preparation of an afternoon of free grazing.

I am getting prepared for some free grazing of my own. Our kids will visit us this morning for our little personal family Christmas brunch, and then we drive to Edina for Christmas eve gathering with Cyndie’s cousins on her mom’s side.

I will sneak out early to drive home. Christmas morning, I finish chores and drive back for the Friswold gift exchange extravaganza.

The festivities are definitely underway.

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Written by johnwhays

December 24, 2018 at 8:11 am