I love field flowers. I’m thankful for the time I spent in Wisconsin this summer, which is where this picture was taken. I’m thinking about that family reunion Wisconsin trip and there were several happenings that I never mentioned that were very good.
A very satisfying element of the reunion was that it centered around my grandfather’s farm which has undergone several major changes in the years since he passed away. My father and my youngest brother made a decision years ago to take advantage of the farm’s location, close to town, and built a very attractive nine hole executive golf course. The farm house became the club house with some clever remodeling, and also had living quarters for my brother. The barn became the workshop for the golf carts and lawnmowers. All of us who visited got to golf in the evenings when the paying crowd cleared out. Many of the cousins got to peddle soft drinks to the thirsty golfers, hunt for lost golf balls and other chores. The farm had never looked so good, with it’s landscaped meadows and brooks and ponds.
My brother married and got tired of golfers looking in his living room window so he moved to another house. The golf course hit a few bad years with weather, the economy, etc… and my brother built another business for his own income. It was headquartered on the farm and largely internet based. The second big change was made when the golf course was closed and the farm became Par Lane Condominiums. My brother’s family remodeled the clubhouse again and moved back. The energy efficient duplexes that he built and sold were very attractive and the abundance of green space left room for walking trails and picnic areas. My parents bought one of the units and love living there. It’s a safe and beautiful community where most of the owners know each other and socialize. Walmart moved in to the adjacent property and erected a nice, tall fence between them with a gate – it’s like having a shopping mall in the back yard whenever something is needed.
Even with Walmart next door, the farm is still on the edge of town where the woods and the wild meet the streets and buildings of Hayward. The old barn is still standing and functions to hold lawn maintenance tools and tractors. As we gathered in the evenings at the reunion we often remembered the places we had played, the spot where Grandma’s garden had been and where the chicken coop had stood. The landscape is as beautiful as it ever was, even through all the changes. One of the special occassions that my brother had planned for us was an afternoon photo shoot with a photographer. She came and took photos of all our families using the barn and the pond around it for backdrop. In return for her services she had permission to use the setting for other photo shoots and I’m guessing it could become quite a popular place.
It was a good, good time. And I’m thankful for family, for Wisconsin heritage, for all the memories that have been made in that spot.