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Every year, in mid-June, Vogel State Park in north Georgia is taken over for an entire week by Burnses from all over the country. It’s the Burns Family Reunion, and this was Jackie’s second experience with Katie’s great uncles and aunts, second cousins, third cousins, sixth cousins twice removed, and so on. Jackie shared the spotlight with a few other children this year (including Henry, Audrey, Emilyn, and Emory), but she somehow managed to get plenty of attention and/or ice cream whenever she wanted either or both.
This was the first year of the BFR (of 44 years total) that Katie served as co-organizer and chief cabin coordinator. With her Uncle Robert’s tutelage, she did an outstanding job making sure that everyone had comfortable accommodations.
I brought a special non-Burns friend along to the BFR this year. Robah made the trip southwest, and I really appreciated him coming. He’s always been a true friend, but I was surprised to learn what a good hiking partner he is. You could say that Robah is a dog’s dog, except that he doesn’t really like other dogs. He does love people though.
Here’s a generalized schedule of the typical day during our week at Vogel State Park:
6:30 — Katie, Robah, and I wake up. Robah goes out to relieve himself, sees a deer in the woods, and takes off for about two minutes (the amount of time it takes for the deer to lose him)
7:15 — Katie heads up to her parents’ cabin, where Jackie is sleeping
7:15 – 8:00 — Robah and I listen to Tame Impala, Ariel Pink, The Arcade Fire, Tennis, and others as we get ready for the day
8:00 – 11:00 — Robah and I hike one of trails that head at VSP. Katie and Janet cook for the family members hanging around Janet and Ben’s cabin (at least 5 guest eaters total, maximum of 15). Jackie entertains, or is entertained, and then naps.
11:00 – 12:00 — Robah and I eat leftovers and snacks for lunch while we catch up with Jackie and Katie on the morning events
12:00 – 4:00 — The Joneses change into swim gear and enjoy the lake, except for Robah, who naps
4:00 – 7:00 — Jackie naps, and Katie, Robah, and I read and relax
7:00 – 9:00 — BFR dinner gathering (everyone), socializing or planned event (e.g. talent show) afterward
9:00 – After reading books with Nana and Papa, Jackie goes to bed in cabin #25
9:00 – 11:00 – Before bed Katie reads, Robah snoozes, and I play with my new phone
The schedule listed above shouldn’t leave you with the impression that every day at VSP is the same. Every day brings nuanced surprises, or in the case of our next-to-last day there, a fairly major event. Robah and I had a scary and exhilarating hike to wrap up our week, but I won’t go into details here.
Katie is lucky to have an amazing extended family (both paternal and maternal), and I’m lucky to be accepted by them (Robah was also accepted, except for the few isolated instances when he slobbered on someone).
Here are pictures from the week. Video will follow when I get around to editing and polishing.