A birthday surprise with friends
By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN
Kathie Tully knew her 60th birthday could be an interesting one after she was injured in a lake accident the weekend before her big day.
She had no idea.
The Salina woman, recovering from a badly bruised hip she suffered when her camper was blown over at Wilson Lake on Sept. 28, had been planning to come to Hays for homecoming weekend 2013.
So her daughter, Lindsey Burns, and her two sons -- Andy and Chris Tully, both graduates of Fort Hays State University -- threw a birthday party their mother will never forget.
More than 30 family members and friends gathered under an elm tree Friday in Frontier Park to surprise Tully as she neared her favorite spot during Oktoberfest.
"I call this my tree," Tully said, "because it's near the Coors Light stand."
The Tullys have been coming to Oktoberfest for several years.
Dwight Tully, the oldest of six siblings who grew up in southwest Kansas, graduated from Fort Hays in 1974, and all three of his younger brothers followed the same path. Then both of Dwight and Kathie Tully's sons attended, and graduated from, their dad's alma mater.
Now, one of Dwight's nieces -- Kelsey Tully, daughter of Dwight's youngest brother, Tom -- is a junior at FHSU.
Because she knew Oktoberfest would fall on her birthday this year, Kathie Tully asked her children to join her, anticipating a fun family gathering.
"We all got together and told her we wouldn't be able to make it," said Burns, who lives in Indianapolis. Andy and Chris Tully live in McPherson and Colwich. "That way we could really surprise her."
Although Kathie Tully never attended FHSU, she is partial to the university, having helped put her husband through school when he attended FHSU.
"I feel like I'm an alum," said Tully, who frequently returns to Hays for homecoming weekend, especially to take part in Friday's Oktoberfest activities.
Burns knew her mom was planning to come to Hays this year.
"She basically already had it kind of planned," Burns said. "So all we had to do was tell people about the surprise."
Burns had contacted several family members and friends, telling them about the get-together and that she was ordering shirts that said "Kathie's 60th birthday."
One of Kathie Tully's sisters used a magic marker to write "I'm" above Kathie on the birthday girl's shirt.
"Oh my, was I ever surprised," the birthday girl said, sitting under her elm tree with friends and family.
The fun began Wednesday when Burns flew into Salina, saying she wanted to spend Friday with her mom on her 60th birthday.
But Tully still thought her sons weren't going to be able to make it to Hays.
"At first, I was so sad they weren't going to be able to be here," Tully said. "Then when I got here, they were here, and everyone else ... the best birthday ever."