Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘traditions

Intentional Community

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Wow. Similar endings in both World Cup games yesterday, in that, the final results were determined by penalty kicks. I only got to see parts of both games, due to a special meeting of the Wildwood Lodge Club association members in the morning, and then our trip home in the afternoon, but what I saw was highly entertaining.

There is some work needing to be done to maintain the soundness of the aging lodge building up at the lake, which will require significant financial commitment. At the same time, after over 50-years of existence, the association is facing the aging out of the first generation. Financial burdens are beginning to fall on the multiple sibling families that make up the second generation members.

We are facing some big decisions as an intentional community, about what the six expanding families’ long term wishes and dreams are for the future of this communal vacation paradise.

I walked portions of the property in the early morning on Saturday and captured the some of the quiet beauty.

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I’ve written about Wildwood before, but to summarize for newer readers, it is an association of now 6 families that share a central lodge building, play field, tennis court, gorgeous beach, and boats. When the old fishing resort was purchased by 11 families in the 1960s, it was a number of small, mostly primitive small shacks surrounding the main lodge.

Moms and kids would spend most of the summer there, with dads coming from the Twin Cities for the weekends. Families would rotate cabins throughout the summer and often dined communally around the main fire pit in the central “triangle” on their peninsula of Round Lake.

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In the 1980s, when the member numbers had dropped to seven families, the maturing clans elected to split the property into separate plots in order to allow for enhancements to the living accommodations, while also providing equity for the investment by individual families.

Meanwhile, all the traditions and celebratory community activities from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and for a decade or so, New Year’s Eve, played out with emphatic zest.

It was intentional community at its best. Kids and dogs, and all the good and bad that happens with outdoor space, a lake, and time, became the joys and concerns of all. With this precious group, there were always a lot more joys than there ever were concerns.

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Saturday, in celebration of the mid-week 4th-of-July holiday this year, we broke out the red “bats” shirts and the blue “mice” shirts to split the community into two arbitrary teams for a mostly typical array of challenges for dominance.

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There was a relay race, water-balloon toss, three-legged sack race, shoe kick, watermelon eating contest, and finally, a water scrum to move a greased watermelon across the opponent’s line.

The day of games was topped off by a grand feast in the lodge for dinner, all prepared, served, and serviced by a combined effort of member families, kids included (to varying degrees of success).

Now the community is needing to address what the next version of Wildwood Lodge Club might be?

There are many variables involved, and few, if any, right or wrong decisions to be made. That presents us with a significant challenge.

If Wildwood is to remain some version of its former self, it will involve a big commitment from all the members.

In my mind, big commitments are what it takes for “intentional communities” to survive and to thrive.

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Written by johnwhays

July 2, 2018 at 6:00 am

What About

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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.

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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!

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Written by johnwhays

December 29, 2017 at 7:00 am

Truly Best

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DSCN4237eOur Christmas celebrations this year have provided a wonderful addition to years of fabulous Christmases with Cyndie’s family. Now that we live in Wisconsin, the routine for us has settled into a pattern of driving back and forth to Edina on Christmas eve, and then two more times on Christmas day. This allows us to participate in spectacular meals, and all that comes with them, as well as tend to the care of Delilah and our horses back home.

I’m used to driving that route, so it doesn’t bother me. The trouble comes in accounting for that extra hour that always separates us from our intended destination. It becomes a struggle to get out of the house on time to arrive at the celebration by the appointed hour.

Then we need to watch the clock while enjoying the time of our lives so that we don’t end up forcing our dog to wait too long without us at home. Sure wish we could just ask Scotty to beam us home. We always want to stay longer at the social gathering, but without it resulting in such a late return to our home an hour away.

I enjoyed two particular “bests” yesterday that deserve specific mention. Cyndie’s mother, Marie, is a master hostess who prepares world-class meals for large numbers of guests. The traditional family dinner of beef tenderloin on Christmas day is one of my favorites. It is magical, because no matter what variations may occur every year, it is always the best meal I have ever had.

This year, it was even better than that.

Honestly, I struggle to justify enjoying such gastronomical pleasure. The dessert which followed the best-dinner-ever included a cranberry cake with a caramel sauce topping that always tastes so amazing, it should be recognized as a dangerous weapon and require a license to prepare.

I received some very nice gifts from very generous people this Christmas, but there is one that immediately claimed my heart as the best possible thing I opened. We draw names for a gift exchange in Cyndie’s family, and this year, my fellow in-law, Sara, wife of Cyndie’s brother, Ben, picked my name out of the hat.

DSCN4243eShe nailed the precise art of matching a gift to the recipient, and steeped it in her own joy while creating it. Sara made a wood-burned image of our Wintervale logo on a beautiful pine board. I find it absolutely beautiful to look at. It smells good, too!

It is the best gift.

I just want to look at it again and again. It is one of a kind, made by Sara’s hands, and intended specifically for me. What a precious thing.

I had a very merry Christmas.

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Written by johnwhays

December 26, 2015 at 10:42 am