Not too many days ago, 85-year-old Donna Kramer came home and found eight fresh bananas sitting on her kitchen counter.
Her grandson, Hayfield senior basketball standout Brady Kramer, had bought them and laid them there. He'd also left his grandma a note.
Donna's famous ice-cream banana-split desert had run dry. The pan was empty. So Brady had a request.
"The note said, 'Grandma, it's about time to make another batch,' " said Donna, who also resides in Hayfield, along with her husband of 65 years, 86-year-old Don. "Brady comes by at least once a week. He'll come in even when we're not there. When there's a big chunk of banana-split desert gone, I know he's been there."
Nothing makes Donna happier than this. Except, of course, the more usual scenario, with any of her 12 grandchildren stopping by for a visit, and a bite to eat.
"Those grandkids are our life," Donna said. "We also have 10 great-grandchildren. What a life we've been blessed with."
These days, their most frequent visitor is Brady. He's the youngest of those grandchildren, and the final one of a pack of five related Kramer boys — from two families — who have played basketball at Hayfield.
Actually, they haven't just played there, they've starred for the Vikings.
Together, the sons of Tom and LaVae Kramer (Tony, 2000 graduate; Tyler, 2003; and Tanner, 2010); and the sons of Ted and Jane Kramer (Kody, 2010; and Brady, 2013), have accounted for nearly 6,000 points.
Tanner, Tony and now Brady all reached 1,000 points individually.
The Kramers have brought talent, passion and wins to Coach Chris Pack and his Hayfield basketball program. They've also helped it to a pair of state-tournament appearances since Pack's arrival in 2000.
Hayfield lost to Esko by a score of 60-54 on Wednesday night in the first round of the state Class AA tournament at Williams Arena.
Lots to enjoy
While they've provided Pack plenty to work with, those five Kramer boys have given their grandparents a reason to get up in the morning.
"They love coming to our games," said Brady, who next year will play basketball at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. "They're not yellers, but of course they're cheering for their grandson. They always sit in the same spot, and I wave to them as soon as I see them come into the gym. I love their loving nature."
Brady also loves the advice he gets from Don, who never played organized sports and started farming full-time with his family in Hayfield after dropping out of high school following his sophomore year. His father had died just two years before, prompting Don's move.
"When I start going dry with my scoring, he'll give me tips on my shooting form," Brady said. "When I get 'on' again, he'll say, 'See, I told you.' "
Appreciation for the game
Don has watched enough games over the years — including impromptu ones between his own four boys during their growing-up days on the Hayfield family farm, and then so many of his grandkids' games on the farm — to figure he knows a thing or two about basketball by now.
"I've developed a real love for basketball," Don said. "All of our grandkids have been such good players, and they love to play. Plus, I think they really like it when we're there, watching them."