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  • This weekend begins the annual pilgrimage to the mountain. We will meet there this weekend - IBM programmers, newspaper reporters and editors, teachers, farmers, attorneys - just friends.

    Dave owns the mountain. It's been in his family for centuries. This May picking picnic is the unofficial start of the Bluegrass Festival Season. We go all over to hear and play the music. We always camp together -as a family. We are a family.

    I will play the bass. Billy will play some mean harmonica. Jason will have a bango, guitar, and a ukelele. Charlene will have a guitar and a drum. Earl will have a banjo. Mark and Brian will have guitars. Tony will have a fiddle and a mandolin. Scott will have a dobro and a bass. Rebecca will bring Lucille - her stand-up bass. Lynnie will play the banjo and Ross will play the drums. Someone will have a washboard and spoons.

    We sit in a circle, playing music and singing. Everyone will sing. We sing the songs the mountain people have been singing for as long as anyone can remember. Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Whiskey for Breakfast, and Old Joe Clark. Or maybe The Weight, Just Like a Woman, Down on the Corner and Let it Be. Don't worry if you don't know it - someone will call out the chords.

    Women will have brought their finest offerings - a continuous buffet of dishes will be there for the hungry - the only problem will be deciding what to eat next.

    Then there's the cows. Dave rents out the pastures to a local farmer - the cows are free-roaming. One cow in particular wears a tag in her ear that reads Jackie. She is not of typical cow temperment. She wants to lead the whole herd into the picnic area, so the menfolk summon a pack of dogs - everyone brings their dog - and periodically chase Jackie and her herd out to pasture. One does need to carry a flashlight at night - and watch where they step. Damn you Jackie!

    We will lounge like a bunch of lizards in the morning sunshine by the pond. Billy will probably swim - he is always the first in the water every year. We may take rides on the paddleboat. We will drink Morning Mudslides.

    We will marvel at the breathtaking view of the valley and the river below us during the day and the skyscape strewn with stars at night. We will wear tye-dye and purple and flowers. We will dance. We will dance more. We will be sad when it's time to go home.

    But, this is just the beginning. The whole summer is stretching out before us. And like Dave is fond of saying, you have to go home in order to come back!

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