Work can be the birthplace of life-long friendships. Include the spouses and children in the mix and the two families sometimes grow close. Though there may be no shared name or heritage, it is their shared experiences that create the familial bond.
My dad, "Hoosier," and his friend "Conrad" shared an interest in boating. One sunny Saturday they took their young families out on their boat to spend the day on Berlin Lake.
It wasn't long before the two inexperienced boaters discovered the hard hitting waves had caused the plug to work its way out. The adults scurried around to return the boat to seaworthiness. In all the mayhem, the bean salad Conrad's wife prepared for lunch, tipped over and the air-tight lid released its contents all over the floor of the small motor boat.
Collective laughter erupted as Eli frantically attempted to clean it up and salvage whatever she could. Though none of us could understand her native Greek language, her rapid speech, and flailing arms revealed she was not a happy passenger. No one even got to try her salad yet!
It didn't take long for her to realize that it wasn't the end of the world. Before long the laughter ceased and everyone calmed down. The toppled salad was cleaned up. The two dads started the motor, and once again we felt the wind in our faces. We burst out in belly-laughs, when the beans were spotted floating in the disturbed waters behind the boat.
In our wake, we not only left a trail of legumes. We left with tummy aches and tears of laughter. It is our "Three-Bean Salad Saga." Through the years I heard my dad re-tell this story, in his most pathetic Greek accent, more times than I can count. A half-century old story re-told at every reunion of the second generation friends. It's one "family" story for their children - that just never gets old.