The first Shoffner family reunion I attended was in October 2004, just a week after Abby and I got married. At the time, I knew very few of these people, but as I write this, in November 2011, I not only know and love them, I am amazed at how much they have changed in the past seven years.
Abby and I have attended each reunion since we got married except 2006, when Abby wasn’t feeling well. We look forward to it with great excitement.
Heather Ashford splashes a boatload of kids in the pond.
I made this video clip during the three-legged race. Abby and Gail had conjured a system of synchronizing their legs, saying out loud, “In-out, in-out, in-out…” Listen closely at the end, after Daniel and Judy push Abby and Gail our of their way and Abby and Gail fall down giggling, and you’ll hear Gail say to Abby, “Sounds like really bad sex.”
While this article is dated October 2004, it was written in mid 2011.
My wife and I pose under Delicate Arch just minutes after getting married.
Abby and I beam as we exchange wedding vows.
Abby and I got married at the amazingly beautiful and iconic Delicate Arch in Arches National Park near Moab, Utah, October 12, 2004.
I had hiked to Delicate Arch on two previous occasions, but until the day we actually got married, Abby had only seen my photographs of it.
Abby’s daughter Chele uses my camera to photograph our wedding party.
Abby’s daughter Dawna Michele “Chele” Milligan traveled from her home in Baltimore in a trip fraught with so much annoyance that she swore she would never visit Utah again. My sister Nicole came from her home in New Orleans with a guest. My friends Michael Zeiler and his wife Thea Goldsby, and David Wheelock, traveled in convoy with us from Oklahoma. Our surprise guest was Robert Stinson, whose church helped him travel from Boston for the event. He arrived late, and caught up to us on the trail to Delicate Arch.
Abby and I make video and stills at Four Corners Monument on the second day of our trip to Moab, Utah.
The weather was perfect the day we got married, but the next day, when we planned to hike the Primitive Loop at Arches National Park, was insanely windy and cold, but despite that, we had a great time. The next day, on our two-day drive home, we stopped and hiked at Canyon de Chelly in Arizona.
Abby and I both agree that it was an excellent way for us to get married, and could not have been more perfect.
Members of our group visit with Park Ranger Annie Corson at the Delicate Arch trail head early in the morning of October 12.
Robert and Nicole shared a laugh after Robert caught up with us on the trail.
Robert and Michael await Abby’s entrance. With most of our wedding party being photographers, there was no paucity of images from the event.
Chele and Nicole assist Abby in preparing for the ceremony.
Thea makes video as the start of ceremonies approaches.
Abby commences the traditional wedding march. She hauled her veil from the trail head in her backpack.
Chele and Nicole, both ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church of Modesto, California, conducted the service, which was culled from the Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer.
David, center, makes video of the event. which combined with Thea’s second camera work created an excellent two-camera coverage setup.
After the actual ceremony, Abby and I took turns calling our relatives to tell them that the wedding went well.
This image, made immediately after the ceremony, was shot from well above the spot where we got married.
Chele and Abby pose for a photo.
This friendly young Japanese girl wanted to be photographed with us. On the video she says, “Yea, Okrahoma!”
Abby takes aim at a handsome cliff face on the White House Ruin at Canyon de Chelly National Monument.
Looking rugged and beautiful, it’s easy to begin to see why I married this lovely lady.
We made this image on the way home, in Groom, Texas. I wonder how many other newlyweds have made this same stop over the years.
This image shows the scale of this majestic landmark of the American Southwest; you can see Abby and me on the left side of the frame.
An additional narrative and photos are posted on The Traveller here.