Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘remembering

Different Perspective

leave a comment »

I am thoroughly enjoying the heavy radio and television programming that has been focusing attention on the Apollo 11 mission to the moon fifty years ago this month. Last night it started with PBS NOVA episode 18, “Apollo’s Daring Mission” which tells the story of Apollo 8 that set the stage for the moon mission to follow.

Those who have had the privilege of flying in airplanes know the sensation of gaining a new perspective about the places we live from above. Just imagine what it was like for the astronauts looking back at the entire planet earth.

After that program, we watched “8 Days: to the Moon and Back,” a fascinating recreation of the Apollo 11 mission using actual recorded audio between and among the astronauts and Houston Control.

I was only ten years old when man landed on the moon. Reliving the experience fifty years later provided a different perspective for me that was significantly more informed.

What an amazing accomplishment that happened in my lifetime. I wonder if I’ll be alive when someone eventually lands on Mars.



Written by johnwhays

July 18, 2019 at 6:00 am


leave a comment »


is it possible to know
when we are fully honoring
the best that summer offers
with windows wide open
in short sleeves
and bare feet
fully sun-soaked
amid flowery blossoms
raspberry bushes bending
under the weight of their fruit
smells from the grill
bird songs sailing
on the wind through tree leaves
late hour sunsets
outdoor picnics
echoing laughter
kids out of school
fresh corn on the cob
outfielders chasing fly balls
bug spray
swimming in a lake
napping in a hammock
rumbling thunder
dewdrops of sweat
running down the outside of a glass
long grass
lawn mowers
ice cream trucks
sidewalk cafes deluxe
festivals of music
folding chairs
beach blankets
campers in tents
splashing in puddles
dancing outdoors on a moonlit night
lightning bugs flashing
hay wagons sagging
sand inside sandals
and this unexpected feeling
everything’s gonna be





Written by johnwhays

July 11, 2019 at 6:00 am

Moon Chasing

leave a comment »

Fifty years ago this month, the Eagle landed on the moon. I am thoroughly enjoying the 3-part Robert Stone documentary film, “Chasing the Moon” on the PBS program American Experience this week for its revisiting of the history that led up to that epic event of the first human setting foot on the moon.

Catch the ending tonight if you have access to the PBS programming.

I have enjoyed the portions of the first two episodes that reveal what was happening in the early years of my life before my awareness and ability to remember were formed. As the chronicle moves on to years when I was old enough to be making memories, it is interesting to see the mix of familiarity and obliviousness.

Even the astronauts admit to being out of touch with much of the turmoil of the 60s because they were so singularly focused and generally isolated by the space program. I’m not the only one who couldn’t keep track of everything that was happening at the time.

I find it striking to compare the awed engrossment in every launch and mission detail from those early days of space flight to the virtual invisibility of most trips to space now.

We’ve come a long way, baby.

How long before we find shuttling to visit Mars so unremarkable that nobody pays any attention?

If it happens within my lifetime, I probably won’t remember it very long, anyway.



Written by johnwhays

July 10, 2019 at 6:00 am


leave a comment »


Words on Images




Weather Fatigue

leave a comment »

I succeeded in getting all our grass and innumerable dandelions mowed Sunday. I have one peeve about mowing this time of year, when the lovely yellow flowering weed is at its peak and starting to go to seed.

Do you see it? All that grass so freshly cut and one 10-inch dandelion stem sticking out like a sore thumb. There were others, but that one just stood out so defiantly, I couldn’t help but stop and take a picture. Then I snapped it off by hand.

Mowing dandelions can be a frustrating endeavor for a perfectionist.

Like the meteorologists predicted, Memorial Day was a total washout. It reminds me of two years ago this month when I had tried to host a day of cycling with friends in preparation for the Tour of Minnesota.

I captured this memory from that day:

I have gotten smarter about trying to make outdoor plans that prefer sunny, warm weather. I simply don’t make them. Yesterday, we responded precisely as a cold, rainy day deserves, snuggling back in bed for some extra reading and napping.

Pequenita was all in with that plan.

She doesn’t have a problem with this weather. Personally, I am getting worn down by this chilly rain pattern we have endured so far this spring. Sure, I wouldn’t mind if I could curl up and nap all day, but the landscape doesn’t stop growing just because it’s not sunny and warm outside.

Maybe I’ll get lucky and this trend will peter out by the time the bike trip kicks off in the middle of June.

It would help my frame of mind greatly if that were to happen because we are headed far enough north for this year’s route that cold and rainy could translate into a little sleety/snowy, if you know what I mean.

That would definitely exacerbate my current case of weather fatigue.




Written by johnwhays

May 28, 2019 at 6:00 am

New Focus

with 2 comments

We have something new to focus on today: altering the natural instinct of two broody hens. It is interesting to discover we are far from alone. It appears that the primary method is to put the hen in “jail” for a couple days. A cage lacking in a cozy place to settle, elevated to allow air cooling from below, seems to be the go-to solution.

Something along the lines of a rabbit hutch or a dog crate is common. I did an image search and discovered a remarkable number of people have documented their version of a ‘broody breaker.’

I was thinking about making something out of material I have stacked in the shop garage, but the lure of a quick purchase to get the ideal cage is a strong temptation. I wish we weren’t dealing with two at once.

That actually fuels our interest in breaking this habit as swiftly as possible, as the information we have read indicates the behavior is contagious.

Two days ago, I was oblivious to the syndrome of a broody hen. After reading on the topic, I suddenly feel included in a group of many people raising backyard chickens. There are so many versions of the same story, with the common thread on the internet revealing folks in search of details on how to deal with it.

This reminds me of the first time I discovered a massive magazine display at a bookstore. I had no idea there were so many publications. Growing up, I was exposed to a tiny subset: Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, and Popular Science were of particular interest, among several others that made their way into our house over the years.

Standing in front of a wall display featuring magazines covering more lifestyles and hobbies than I realized existed was a real eye opener for me. Had I known at the time, I could have picked up whatever the backyard chicken mag of the time was, and read all about it.

I haven’t been to a bookstore in a while, but I bet that magazine rack isn’t nearly as impressive. It is probably a single tablet device connected to the internet with links to every imaginable topic. There, you can find pictures of innumerable versions of solutions to whatever new problem you have stumbled upon.



Written by johnwhays

May 11, 2019 at 8:48 am

Sad Laughter

with 4 comments

It wasn’t funny, but we found ourselves laughing over the absurdity. I feel a need to rationalize this tale of Cyndie’s-and-my-collective-failure, with more detail than is probably necessary. For those who prefer a “too-long; didn’t read” synopsis: Cyndie sold our ATV trailer, but I had no intention of letting it go.

The confusion between us goes back in two phases: to last year, when I sold our old lawn tractor, and to our current “passing in the night” level of connection lately.

I will give her credit for remembering that there was a trailer I told her we didn’t need anymore. That would have been last fall, when I sold it, along with the old Craftsman lawn tractor. Unfortunately, last week, when she was preparing to sell anything that wasn’t permanently affixed to the barn, she came upon the ATV trailer.

She thought it was the one I didn’t need.

I wrote that she converted the barn into an equine boutique, but among all the horse care products, saddles, and tack, there was fencing equipment, pitch forks, a 100 gallon stock tank, …and a trailer. I didn’t notice it at first.

So, the day after she gets the barn all set up, she flies to Dallas for a conference, notifying me that I had two appointments to cover, for people interested in our sale. I described this at work: My wife went out-of-town, leaving me home alone, and scheduled two appointments for women to come over and give me money.

The response was, “Isn’t that illegal?”

The first customer arrived Thursday night and spotted the trailer that I hadn’t even noticed was there. I told them that wasn’t for sale, and we joked about my wife selling things out from under me. Later, while pouring through multiple printouts of items and prices that Cyndie put together, I found that she did  list the trailer for sale. I was flabbergasted.

She got home in the middle of the night, Friday, and as I wrote yesterday, the morning was all about the weirdness of the fraudulently purchased packages. (One more arrived in the mail yesterday.) While Cyndie was in the middle of frying eggs for breakfast, there was a knock at the door. It was a shopper for horse stuff.

I stayed in the house, grateful to no longer be responsible for trying to price Cyndie’s sale for friendly strangers who want a better deal. A short time later, Cyndie returned and I good-naturedly asked if she sold anything.

There it was.

She sold the trailer, among other things.


I blame myself for not moving it out of the barn immediately when I discovered it. But, it was wedged behind a table of items and I didn’t want to mess up her wonderfully arranged displays. I should have put a sign on it that said, “Sold.”

I should have brought this up for discussion the moment she got home. While we cursed, whimpered, and laughed over what had just happened, I could see the moment she figured out the trailer I didn’t want was the other one. Understandably, she feels just awful now.

That trailer would have come in handy for a couple of chores I did yesterday.

We’ll probably use some money from her horse stuff sale to buy a replacement for the trailer she sold.

I’m trying to laugh about it, …to keep from crying. Sometimes, life imitates sitcoms.



Written by johnwhays

April 28, 2019 at 6:00 am