Long before Kate came home, Deb had it in her head we should have a family barbecue so she could see the three Uncles in the vicinity. When Kate mentioned something similar, plus her desire for an all-American barbecue, things started to click and a surprise gathering was planned.It became difficult to pull off once she was actually in the house as extra-large quantities of food stuffs began to appear here and there. Then, your’s truly, accidentally left the notation ‘barbecue’ on the master family calendar followed by a slip of the tongue on Wednesday. By Saturday, as we began prep around her, she knew something was up. Of course, she had no idea how many were coming, or who was on the guest list. We decided to do all the prep around her, without acknowledging her queries.By 2 p.m. and the first guests turned up, she was ready for anything. It was a smallish affair, compared to some of our other gatherings, with invitations sent out on the fly. Robbie feverishly worked Facebook to secretly invite her closest pals, only to learn how many were actually out of town this summer (ironically, most in Washington). Which worked as the headcount fluctuated, especially when one Uncle admitted he had forgotten all about it and booked work that day while another attendee had a death in the family.Still, it was a smash success as everyone not only mixed well and got along, but had a great time. The weather was iffy all day; cool, cloudy with occasional drizzles so we kept things indoors except the actually barbecuing. The menu did include hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, cole slaw, green salad, fruit salad, etc. capped off by a ton of desserts.The friends that could attend were instructed to come at 5 for a second wave. I happened to be seated next to Kate when she spotted her friend Kelly’s car pull up. She was delighted but then was out of her chair and through the house like a bullet when she saw who came out of the passenger side. Robbie suggested and then helped arrange that Mikey, Kate’s ballroom dance partner, come up from Washington as a surprise. Kelly agreed to host/hide him until arrival.People chatted, mixed, ate, chatted and ate some more. Our pre-dinner time included an impromptu Cold Stone Creamery run so there was ice cream both before and after dinner, which seemed to fit the mood.By 8:30, it was down to the family, Kelly and Mikey so we finally settled in and watched the video of Guys & Dolls, featuring our delightful daughter as Adelaide. As college productions go it was pretty darn good. She deserved all the positive accolades she received in Egypt and I’m very thankful we had a copy to see it.All in all, a terrific welcome-back-to-America day.