My dad Felix Vigil celebrated his 92nd and 23rd birthday simultaneously on Feb. 29 and it was a great time.

My daughter Tamara came up with the idea that we should all take a trip to Pueblo for dad’s unique birthday. It was intended as a surprise and he was definitely caught unawares.

Just a couple of weeks before his birthday, my mom, Naomi, told me dad mentioned that he didn’t think he would see all of us again before he went to be with the Lord. She knew about our surprise plans for him, but stayed true and kept it a secret from him.

Jordan and Crystal and their three children left earlier in the day on that Friday to spend some time at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs. Gail and I waited for Tamara, her son Felix and our son Ben to arrive in North Platte from eastern Nebraska. The five of us then rode together on our trek south.

After a fun time at Focus on the Family, the kids were getting restless so Jordan and Crystal drove on to Pueblo and arrived at mom and dad’s earlier than the rest of us. They decided to go on in and when they rang the doorbell, mom answered and they walked into the entryway.

Dad heard the doorbell from his room where he was watching sports on TV and came out to see who was there. As he walked around the corner, there stood the kids and at first he didn’t recognize them. The last time we were all together was Thanksgiving 2018, so the kids have changed a lot in a year and one half.

When he realized who they were, he was so excited to see them and a lot of hugs went around, I was told.

The rest of us arrived and after some adjusting we all met at mom and dad’s house on Saturday morning and that began 24 hours of family love.

My sister Beth and her son Tommy, his girlfriend and their baby came over as well and we had dinner early afternoon. Dad was a bit overwhelmed as we all sang happy birthday to him and cut the cake.

He kept saying how surprised he was that we came and how grateful he was to see us all together at least one more time. We are hoping perhaps Beth can bring mom and dad up for a visit this summer, if they are up to the trip.

Of course, we missed the other members of our family who were not able to make the trip. My brother Jon and his wife Tobie, their kids Melody and her husband Jerry, Jonathan Jr., Matt and Adam.

It was a blessed time and we laughed a lot and the weather was wonderful so the youngsters were able to play outside and enjoy the sunshine.

Ben and I played golf — he won by two strokes, even though I birdied the last two holes. I think we tied, but he insists I didn’t mark down all my strokes on one par 5, so I conceded that and took a 9 on that hole.

Unfortunately, dad just doesn’t have the energy to golf anymore and even riding in the cart wears him out, so he was not able to tag along.

Throughout the rest of the day, we loved on each other and at the end of the day, everyone was so glad we made the trip.

Sunday morning, we all went out to breakfast at Nachos, the restaurant at the golf course dad played at for years. It was marvelous. The huevos rancheros were amazing.

We are so grateful to still have mom and dad with us. They are healthy and still living in their own earthly home and intend to stay there until God calls them to their heavenly home.

Please remember to appreciate your own parents, no matter what age they are, and at least give them a call a couple of times a week. I know they would love to hear your voice.

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