Family and friends ... what in the world would we do without them?

Last weekend our children showed their love for Dad on Father’s Day by getting together for a surprise lunch.

My husband, or “Pa” as he is known to the grandchild generation, was taken aback somewhat when he walked into the restaurant believing he was meeting one child and her family for lunch, when in fact all of the children and grandchildren were there.

This made his day (and mine).

It was the first time that all of the crew — including daughter-in-law, both sons-in-law and the future son-in-law — had been under the same roof for several years.

Despite the fact it was the day that fathers were to be center stage, the grandchildren stole the show, as usual.

We gathered at the state park to enjoy a Father’s Day buffet luncheon. Sitting at a long table for 14 near a large window overlooking the pool area entertained the toddlers. The poolside view charmed them so much their lunch consisted of an occasional bite at the insistence of their mothers.

The now almost 4-year-old grandson spent most of his time with his face pushed to the window, urging the girls at the pool to look his way. His younger cousin (by 3 months) enjoyed walking on top of the air conditioning vent. The walk on air made the skirt of her dress blow up. Each pass was followed by a giggle from the little one and a stern warning by her mother of “don’t do that again.”

The older grandson was more interested in the wide variety of food on the buffet, while the newborn became quite disgusted with her father attempting to feed her some of that delicious looking orange baby food.

As the norm, the new mom was tending to the little one and was the last to fill her plate. After finishing his meal, Dad took his turn at restaurant baby feeding.

Not getting her lunch at the speed she was accustomed to was upsetting the little one. Watching my son, who still has not completely mastered the art of holding an infant with one arm and shoveling food in with the other, was getting on my last nerve.

I couldn’t stand it any longer. I got up from my seat and demanded control of the child and the food, which by then was distributed from ear to ear and all points south.

We finished our meal, visited for a short period of time and off they went, each in their own direction. Some quickly jumped into their car speeding off to make sure they caught their late afternoon flight. Others headed south on a two-hour drive home. The children who live nearby bid their farewells and as I watched each vehicle go out of sight I visualized them heading home for a short afternoon nap.

All were gone, traveling in four different directions.

Pa and I drove back to town, making a stop to wish someone very near and dear to us a “Happy Father’s Day.”

Both my father and my husband’s father died several years ago. Since that time we have been fortunate to have been adopted by a man who I have affectionately named “Poppa K.”

As a newspaper person I have worked with Carroll Knicely for years. The former owner of this newspaper has been a mentor all that time. Over the years, he and his family have become family to us.

Not only he and his wife, but the sons and daughters, as well, have made us feel a part of their family. That says a lot when people are willing to share what is most important in life — their love and caring for one another.

I could write on and on about the accomplishments of Carroll Knicely during his career as a newspaper man, a local businessman and as a state office holder.

But the biggest accomplishment I can write about is what he has personally given to us ... and that can’t be put into words, even if you are paid to write.

After our visit Sunday, my husband was saying his goodbyes and wished “Poppa K” a happy Father’s Day, he replied, “Thanks, son.”

Just as we have adopted him and his family, they have, in turn, adopted us.

Stop and think for a moment about the turmoil in today’s world. Wouldn’t it be so much better if we all would cross the line and offer a hand of friendship, love and concern for others?

Families today are often made up of so many people in so many different ways.

We don’t have to be family to care. We don’t have to care just about family.

We just have to care.

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