At the Burky family graveyard
The friends and family making music.
Up at Turkey Bone, the original Burky place in West Virginia
The Little Helvetia Church
The Burky Family Reunion, 2010
Family reunions have always been fun for me. Growing up in the 1950’s and 1960’s, we would go the Rowe reunion at my Uncle Wayne’s farm near Van Wert Ohio. The land was flat as a table top and my relatives were, well pretty straight laced and pretty boring as well. It seems we all had to behave the way we thought others wanted us to. It was still nice seeing our cousins, but it wasn’t much fun because I had to be someone else for those few hours each year.
Flash forward to 1977. I married Diana Snyder, the daughter of Irene “Burky” Snyder and Clair Snyder. Irene was the oldest child of the Helvetia Burky family. Her brothers and sisters were Norman, Vernon, Herb, Ed, and Alice.
Since joining the Burky family I have been to a lot of Burky family reunions and I can say that the Burky family is the most welcoming bunch of people I have ever met. You can be yourself with the Burkys. I love the Burky family! Some of them call me the flatlander. (Where I live I can drive 10 miles to the next town and not have a single curve in the road and the tallest hill may be a 30 feet elevation change.)
The 2010 Burky reunion was held at Sandy’s house, just outside of Pickens. Sandy is Vernon’s daughter. She has obviously inherited the welcoming Burky gene. Diana and I were the first to arrive Friday afternoon at Sandy’s house and were greeted by the pony that barks (a very nice Great Dane). As others arrived, so did the food and musical instruments. Before the evening was over everyone was full of food, had listened to stories and had enjoyed Swiss and blue grass music.
On Saturday several of us went up to Turkey Bone, the old Burky place. We visited the old Burky graveyard. It was very picturesque. It is a small area with tall pine trees planted in a circle around the graves. Vernon pointed out where the house stood and where the old driveway went. There was not much left up there except for the graveyard and the beauty of nature.
Saturday evening was much like Friday evening, except more people. Many of them were town people bringing instruments to play for just the fun of it. There was more food, drink, stories, jokes, music, yodeling, and just plain good times. Have I mentioned that I love the Burky family?
On Sunday morning many of us went to the small church in Helvetia. I don’t know why, but this is always one of the highlights of my annual trip. I think the majesty of God’s beautiful creation in the Helvetia and Pickens area just need to be lifted up to God and given thanks for. This area makes me think of the old hymns “How Great Thou Art” and “For the Beauty of the Earth”.
Sunday noon was another food fest with another potluck and a lot of leftovers. This is where we all say our goodbyes and compare highlights of the weekend.
Lately we have been experiencing the circle of life in the Burky family. Over the years we have seen the passing of Herb, Hazel, Eddie, Roger and more recently Gwen and Norman. It was sad this year because Vernon was the only one of his generation attending. Alice and Irene didn’t come since they had just traveled to WV for Norman’s funeral. But here comes the circle, last year on our way home Diana and I had news that our first grandson was born and this year on Saturday Mike and Marquita had news that their first granddaughter was born. Hopefully sometime soon this new generation of Burky descendants will be attending the reunion and enjoying the hospitality of their ancestry. Did I mention that I love the Burky family?
Favorite son-in-law of Irene “Burky” Snyder