ANDERSON — The word "father" means a lot of different things, depending on who you talk to, but for everyone, it's someone important.
Whether the memories are of someone special, someone who wasn't there as much as they wanted, or someone you're trying to become, the significance of fathers can't be underestimated. And on Father's Day Sunday, people in Madison County took time out of their day to reflect on what that significance was to them.
Hundreds of people filled local venues at Shadyside Park, Mounds State Park and the Black Expo at Downtown Park to spend time with family, particularly fathers.
Greg Alexander of Gas City made the trek down to Anderson with his family so they could get his favorite meal from his favorite restaurant: Skyline Chili. After finishing lunch at the Skyline off I-69, the Alexanders went to Mounds to relax for the afternoon.
"It's the closest one around," Alexander said.
Alexander's two adopted children, Nakota and Andrew, were a little too young to put into words the importance their father plays in their life, but his wife Cheryl said she admires her husband.
"This is all about paying homage to them today," Cheryl Alexander said. "Anyone can have kids, but it takes a real man and a good person to be a father."
For others, Father's Day is a reminder of someone who is gone, but never forgotten — and a prompting to appreciate the time they have available now. The Rileys of Muncie made a day trip to visit Anderson's parks at the wishes of patriarch Larry, the father of two daughters and two granddaughters. Both Larry's and wife Linda's fathers died when they were much younger.
"I was about 25, and she was about 22 when our dads passed," Larry Riley said. "Mine worked for Delco, and we used to always come to these parks and fish, or go for a picnic. You always miss him, no matter how many years go by. But it's good to get recognized on days like this."