Shoffner Reunions, 2004-Present

My wife Abby’s family, the Shoffners, originally of Ryan, Oklahoma, hosts a large annual family reunion. Many years it takes place at the Taff Farm east of Duncan, Oklahoma. Activities at the reunions over the years have included spook walks, haunted houses, pig tying contests, donkey riding, corn shucking contests, three-legged races, boat races, skeet and trap shooting, bowling for cousins, hexapede races, family photo sessions, and Sunday devotional services. I attended my first Shoffner reunion in October 2004 just a week after Abby and I got married.

Shoffner Reunion 2017

Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017
Shoffner Reunion 2017

Shoffner Reunion 2016

Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016
Shoffner Reunion 2016

Shoffner Reunion 2015: Tipsy vs The Mayfloat

Ryan pilots Tipsy the boat while Justin swims ahead during pond races at the 2015 Shoffner reunion.
Ryan pilots Tipsy the boat while Justin swims ahead during pond races at the 2015 Shoffner reunion.
Our RV, the Kokopelli, is the perfect choice for events like the reunion.
Our RV, the Kokopelli, is the perfect choice for events like the reunion.

Abby and I were quite pleased that for the first time in many years Abby’s daughter Chele was able to come to Oklahoma for the reunion, and bring her husband Tom and their son Paul, our grandson, for their first ever Shoffner reunion. Abby and I packed us all into our RV, the Kokopelli, and drove to Duncan Saturday morning, October 3, where we were able to plug in for the night.

In addition to bringing out the hexapede game from three years ago, we got the boats, the Tipsy and the Mayfloat, out of retirement, cleaned out the rats nests and wasps, and hosted boat races in the pond.

Allie and Aiden play with a box of kittens.
Allie and Aiden play with a box of kittens.
Abby and Mechelle marshal groups of families for the photo sessions.
Abby and Mechelle marshal groups of families for the photo sessions.
Brothers Darrell and Daniel share a moment.
Brothers Darrel and Daniel share a moment.
The family says Grace together prior to Saturday night's meal.
The family says Grace together prior to Saturday night’s meal.
The twins, Jean and Joan, work up the motivation to sit for a photo.
The twins, Jean and Joan, work up the motivation to sit for a photo.
Teddy Lauren Brown models the latest in 18th century farm wear during the auction.
Teddy Lauren Brown models the latest in 18th century farm wear during the auction.
Donald listens as Ryan and Heather sing a duet.
Donald listens as Ryan and Heather sing a duet.
When Ryan discovered he forgot his capo, Donald constructed one for him with a clamp and two pieces of plywood.
When Ryan discovered he forgot his capo, Donald constructed one for him with a clamp and two pieces of plywood.
Tow of the girls row and splash the Mayfloat to victory in the pond race.
Tow of the girls row and splash the Mayfloat to victory in the pond race.
Your humble host takes Team 24/7 into the lead in the hexapede race.
Your humble host takes Team 24/7 into the lead in the hexapede race.
Teddy poses with a kitten. Readers might remember a similar photo of Teddy from ten years earlier. Scoll down to the 2005 reunion to see it.
Teddy poses with a kitten. Readers might remember a similar photo of Teddy from ten years earlier. Scoll down to the 2005 reunion to see it.
As dusk grew near Saturday night, the crew played a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos.
As dusk grew near Saturday night, the crew played a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos.
Rachel holds a sleeping kitten as she attends the auction.
Rachel holds a sleeping kitten as she attends the auction.
Our grandson Paul decided that Avery was his girlfriend. The two are seen here with a terrarium they constructed out of a cookie box for a lizard Avery caught.
Our grandson Paul decided that Avery was his girlfriend. The two are seen here with a terrarium they constructed out of a cookie box for a lizard Avery caught.
Daniel and Darrel lift Paul into the air.
Daniel and Darrel lift Paul into the air.
There is no such thing as a routine photo op at the Shoffner reunion.
There is no such thing as a routine photo op at the Shoffner reunion.

Watch Tipsy vs The Mayfloat here…

Shoffner Reunion 2014: Home on the Range

In keeping with their nature and the prankish tradition of the Shoffner Family Reunion, Darrell and Justin arrive at the shooting range dressed as bandits.
In keeping with their nature and the prankish tradition of the Shoffner Family Reunion, Darrell and Justin arrive at the shooting range dressed as bandits.
For years, retired Lieutenant General "Dutch" Shoffner, Abby's uncle, gave the Sunday devotional. Dutch passed away in 2013. This year his son Andy gave it.
For years, retired Lieutenant General “Dutch” Shoffner, Abby’s uncle, gave the Sunday devotional. Dutch passed away in 2013. This year his son Andy gave it.

I have just returned from the annual Shoffner Family Reunion at Judy Taff’s farm in Duncan, Oklahoma. Sadly, my wife Abby was down with a sickness (probably something going around, since two of her coworkers reported the same), but since I feel very much a part of her family, I went anyway, and was glad I did.

The main Saturday activity was trap and target shooting. Ronnie brought his target launcher, and everyone brought a number of shotguns, pistols, and rifles. I brought my Ruger SR22.

The original schedule called for a family photo session at 2 pm Saturday, but the shooting activity lasted all afternoon, so we made family photos Sunday.

Heather has a new dog named Finlay.
Heather has a new dog named Finlay.
Katy looks at Ronnie in amazement that she missed her first shot.
Katy looks at Ronnie in amazement that she missed her first shot.
Mechele shows off the soon-to-be newest member of the Shoffner clan, a son.
Mechele shows off the soon-to-be newest member of the Shoffner clan, a son.
Your host shoots the .22 version of the excellent H&K MP-5. I seriously considered buying one of these before I got my M&P 15/22.
Your host shoots the .22 version of the excellent H&K MP-5. I seriously considered buying one of these before I got my M&P 15/22.
Teddy models the latest in knitwear at this morning's auction.
Teddy models the latest in knitwear at this morning’s auction.
Mike brandishes a 9mm while his wife Holly aims her .380.
Mike brandishes a 9mm while his wife Holly aims her .380.
The kids play Twister on the grass Saturday night.
The kids play Twister on the grass Saturday night.
Abby's nephew Mike brought his M&P 15 5.56mm rifle, seen here in my capable hands.
Abby’s nephew Mike brought his M&P 15 5.56mm rifle, seen here in my capable hands.

Watch Home on the Range here…

Shoffner Reunion 2013: In-Laws and Outlaws

Abby makes pictures of some of the Shoffner sisters.
Abby makes pictures of some of the Shoffner sisters.
Just what you would expect to find on the fender of a 1947 Jeep: Avery and a half-eaten hamburger.
Just what you would expect to find on the fender of a 1947 Jeep: Avery and a half-eaten hamburger.
Teddy models an item at the auction.
Teddy models an item at the auction.
Family members make their way to the Jeep for a photo session.
Family members make their way to the Jeep for a photo session.
Daniel waxes philosophic.
Daniel waxes philosophic.
Judy watches the auction from the open door of the barn.
Judy watches the auction from the open door of the barn.
The kids go on a hayride, led by Skeeter the dog.
The kids go on a hayride, led by Skeeter the dog.
Abby photographs some of the family with the Jeep.
Abby photographs some of the family with the Jeep.
Justin and Avery horse around between photo ops.
Justin and Avery horse around between photo ops.
Teddy models a dress.
Teddy models a dress.
The girls play on the hexapede game, first introduced in 2012.
The girls play on the hexapede game, first introduced in 2012.
Family members sit and chat.
Family members sit and chat.
Daniel and his kids pose for a photo with the Jeep.
Daniel and his kids pose for a photo with the Jeep.
Four sisters and an aunt.
Four sisters and an aunt.
Some of the girls pose in the bed of the Jeep.
Some of the girls pose in the bed of the Jeep.
Abby photographs a large group of family members, in-laws and outlaws, on the Jeep.
Abby photographs a large group of family members, in-laws and outlaws, on the Jeep.

Shoffner Reunion 2012: Walk the Plank

Some of the teenage girls in the family react as they move through the haunted house Saturday night at the Shoffner Reunion. If you are afraid of clowns, this haunted house might have been too much for you.
Some of the teenage girls in the family react as they move through the haunted house Saturday night at the Shoffner Reunion. If you are afraid of clowns, this haunted house might have been too much for you.
A clown with an axe? Perfect.
A clown with an axe? Perfect.

Abby and I spent the weekend at the 2012 edition of the Shoffner Family Reunion. Some highlights:

  • Thunderstorms, sometimes severe, passed through off and on Saturday. Clear and cooler Sunday.
  • The kid’s scavenger hunt started just as a huge thunderstorm began, though none of the kids came in from the rain.
  • The game this year was called either “Hexapede on Skis” or “Walk the Plank,” and involved two teams of three people racing to a finish line atop two 4×4 boards with ropes attached. It was harder than it looks.
  • The hay ride was also an Easter egg hunt. Yes, we know it’s not Easter.
  • The annual “spook walk” was indoors due to the possibility of rain, and took the form of a haunted house full of clowns.
  • We paused to shoot family photos between “Dutch” Shoffner’s devotional and the auction. We posed in front of an old four-wheel-drive truck named Elmer.

It was another great reunion.

This game, alternately called "Hexapede on Skis" or "Walk the Plank" ended up being amazingly fun.
This game, alternately called “Hexapede on Skis” or “Walk the Plank” ended up being amazingly fun.
A large group of family members poses on the Jeep.
A large group of family members poses on the Jeep.
Siblings Dutch, Myra and Judy move hay in preparation for a photo op.
Siblings Dutch, Myra and Judy move hay in preparation for a photo op.
Dutch and Beverly Shoffner pose with Skeeter the dog.
Dutch and Beverly Shoffner pose with Skeeter the dog.
Kids fish from the bridge on the north end of the pond.
Kids fish from the bridge on the north end of the pond.
Abby photographs family members.
Abby photographs family members.
The kids hang out on Judy's swing near the pond.
The kids hang out on Judy’s swing near the pond.
Teams prepare to "walk the plank" on the hexapede game.
Teams prepare to “walk the plank” on the hexapede game.

Shoffner Reunion 2011: The Forge

Donald fires up the forge for curious reunion goers; he used coal, but also added some coke he said he found with the forge.
Donald fires up the forge for curious reunion goers; he used coal, but also added some coke he said he found with the forge.
  • Abby and Judy sit in the coveted Adirondack chairs prior to the auction Sunday.
    Abby and Judy sit in the coveted Adirondack chairs prior to the auction Sunday.

    Donald Ashford fired up the old forge, one which had belonged, we believe, to Abby’s grandfather. He heated some scrap steel and demonstrated some ironworking, such as bending, cutting, and shaping metal. He made several letters as souvenirs, including an “A” for Abby.

  • Abby’s nephew Michael Larson is reenlisting as a Master Sergeant in the Air Force, the oath for which only needs to be administered by an officer. Abby’s Uncle Dutch Shoffner, a retired Lieutenant General, did the honors.
  • Because of continuous rain, the annual spook walk had to be moved inside, so we created a parade of characters from the haunted woods, including such Shoffner legends as Sacky Joe, “The Twins,” Bloody Bags, and more.
  • Sunday morning’s auction shattered all records for sales, due in large part to two cypress Airondack chairs Dutch had handcrafted just for the occasion. Abby and Judy got into a fierce bidding war, with Judy taking the prized pieces with the admonition, “Those aren’t leaving here.”
  • The rain, which started Saturday afternoon at about 2 pm, continued through the end of the reunion, but as Abby noted, the kids made up indoor games and never got bored.
Mindy Ashford photographs her husband Donald with his brothers Daniel and Darrel.
Mindy Ashford photographs her husband Donald with his brothers Daniel and Darrel.
This game is normally played in the water.
This game is normally played in the water.
Just as the scavenger hunt began, a driving rainstorm started. The kids were not deterred.
Just as the scavenger hunt began, a driving rainstorm started. The kids were not deterred.
Abby uses my iPad to show off pictures of our grandson, Paul Thomas Reeves.
Abby uses my iPad to show off pictures of our grandson, Paul Thomas Reeves.
Aiden tried out the karaoke machine.
Aiden tried out the karaoke machine.
The Ashfords pose for a photo op - almost.
The Ashfords pose for a photo op – almost.
Avery clings to Justin's legs.
Avery clings to Justin’s legs.
Rachel and her mother Gail chat with relatives.
Rachel and her mother Gail chat with relatives.
Abby and I share an intimate moment between photo sessions.
Abby and I share an intimate moment between photo sessions.
Fired by coal and coke, the forge glows red hot.
Fired by coal and coke, the forge glows red hot.
Kids load up for the hayride.
Kids load up for the hayride.
Judy and Abby mock-quarrel about who will own the adirondack chairs.
Judy and Abby mock-quarrel about who will own the adirondack chairs.
Mindy shows her camera to family members.
Mindy shows her camera to family members.
Taylor poses with a turtle, the animal mascot of the reunion.
Taylor poses with a turtle, the animal mascot of the reunion.
The spook walk was indoors due to rain. It reduced several of the younger kids to cowering in their mother's arms.
The spook walk was indoors due to rain. It reduced several of the younger kids to cowering in their mother’s arms.
Two of the spookier spooks pose for a photo.
Two of the spookier spooks pose for a photo.
Retired U. S. Army Lieutenant General Wilson "Dutch" Shoffner administers the oath of office to reenlisting U. S. Air Force Master Sargeant Michael Larson. Dutch's original retirement uniform was destroyed in a house fire, but he was able to replace it for this occasion.
Retired U. S. Army Lieutenant General Wilson “Dutch” Shoffner administers the oath of office to reenlisting U. S. Air Force Master Sargeant Michael Larson. Dutch’s original retirement uniform was destroyed in a house fire, but he was able to replace it for this occasion.

Shoffner Reunion 2010: Wild Ass Reunion

Some of the family share a fun moment during a photo session.
Some of the family share a fun moment during a photo session.

Abby and I just returned from the annual Shoffner family reunion. Readers will recall themes for past reunions like Pigs Gone Wild, Ten Little Shoffners, Put Mabel in Charge, or Legend of the Chupacabra. Last year’s swine-themed reunion featured an actual wild pig, and a pig-tying contest. This year, those in charge, most notably the Ashford sons, were not to be outdone, and brought an untamed donkey for everyone to ride. Thus this year’s theme, Wild Ass Reunion. And although I was unable to join the group until later, Abby made some great images of the event.

I find myself amazed by this family, who not only put on a great show, but make sure that everyone is welcome and has a good time. It is a privilege to be part of this family and their excellent reunions.

 

Kim tugs on the donkey's leash as Andy goes for a ride.
Kim tugs on the donkey’s leash as Andy goes for a ride.
Judy rides the donkey, assisted by the crazed Scotsmen, Donald and Darrel.
Judy rides the donkey, assisted by the crazed Scotsmen, Donald and Darrel.
With Mindy at the wheel, the reunion team drives to the location of the donkey.
With Mindy at the wheel, the reunion team drives to the location of the donkey.
The girls take a turn at leading and riding.
The girls take a turn at leading and riding.
What is that crazy Scotsman doing to my wife?
What is that crazy Scotsman doing to my wife?
Apparently, not all the donkey rides went as planned.
Apparently, not all the donkey rides went as planned.
Heather, Dutch and Mindy have a discussion.
Heather, Dutch and Mindy have a discussion.
Some of the kids play foosball.
Some of the kids play foosball.
The kids wear star sunglasses for the hayride.
The kids wear star sunglasses for the hayride.
Judy models the latest in pink veils.
Judy models the latest in pink veils.

Shoffner Reunion 2009: Pigs Gone Wild

Abby, Donald, Joan and Jean share a laugh at the pig tying contest.
Abby, Donald, Joan and Jean share a laugh at the pig tying contest.
Two crazed Scotsmen and two indentical 65-year-old twins in matching leopard fleece wrestle a wild pig
Two crazed Scotsmen and two indentical 65-year-old twins in matching leopard fleece wrestle a wild pig

We feel that this Shoffner family reunion might have been the best yet. Despite colder weather, everyone had an amazing time. This year’s theme was “pigs gone wild,” and featured, among other attractions, a wild pig tying contest, with a real wild pig.

The first of the three "spook walks"; this one is for the little children, followed by one for the big kids, then one for the adults
The first of the three “spook walks”; this one is for the little children, followed by one for the big kids, then one for the adults.
Darrel and I look over the pig tying event.
Darrel and I look over the pig tying event.
Donald carries the pig to a waiting net.
Donald carries the pig to a waiting net.
Abby's uncle Dutch photographs the pig tying contest.
Abby’s uncle Dutch photographs the pig tying contest.
Gage and Daniel run around the pen trying to grab the pig.
Gage and Daniel run around the pen trying to grab the pig.
These signs displayed who was competing and what tools they could use.
These signs displayed who was competing and what tools they could use.
Dutch and Beverly Shoffner pose for a photo.
Dutch and Beverly Shoffner pose for a photo.
Hershel Shoffner visits with daughters Inez and Abby.
Hershel Shoffner visits with daughters Inez and Abby.
Heather poses with a sweet potato. According to her, it was "her baby."
Heather poses with a sweet potato. According to her, it was “her baby.”
Judy gives a ride to her sisters Jean and Joan.
Judy gives a ride to her sisters Jean and Joan.
Abby heads the photo team.
Abby heads the photo team.
Hershel poses with his daughters Inez, Gail, and Abby.
Hershel poses with his daughters Inez, Gail, and Abby.
Seven Shoffners: Dutch, Horsefly, and Hershel on the front row; Joan, Jean, Myra, and Jean on the back row.
Seven Shoffners: Dutch, Horsefly, and Hershel on the front row; Joan, Jean, Myra, and Jean on the back row.
The author photographs the pig tying contest.
The author photographs the pig tying contest.
Donald and Darrel perform their comedy routine during the pig tying contest.
Donald and Darrel perform their comedy routine during the pig tying contest.
Mike tries out a zip line that would later be used for the spook walk.
Mike tries out a zip line that would later be used for the spook walk.
The spook team poses for a photo.
The spook team poses for a photo.
Jean and Joan share a moment during the photo session.
Jean and Joan share a moment during the photo session.
Darrel slides down the zip line.
Darrel slides down the zip line.
Abby flashes me her beautiful smile.
Abby flashes me her beautiful smile.

Shoffner Reunion 2008: Legend of the Chupacabra

A sign in the woods warns spook walk participants to beware of the legendary Chupacabra.
A sign in the woods warns spook walk participants to beware of the legendary Chupacabra.
The spook walk began with the appearance of an escaped lunatic.
The spook walk began with the appearance of an escaped lunatic.
The spooks take time for a photo. Mindy, in yellow, is holding a real live rattle snake that was made immobile by refrigeration.
The spooks take time for a photo. Mindy, in yellow, is holding a real live rattle snake that was made immobile by refrigeration.
Darrel attempts to navigate Tipsy the boat.
Darrel attempts to navigate Tipsy the boat.
The girls make bubbles in the yard.
The girls make bubbles in the yard.
Donald and Gail auction off the Shoffner Sanitarium straight jacket.
Donald and Gail auction off the Shoffner Sanitarium straight jacket.
Hershel switches on his homemade "dancing man" sculpture.
Hershel switches on his homemade “dancing man” sculpture.
Abby and Gail try to get their father's hair to behave for the photo session.
Abby and Gail try to get their father’s hair to behave for the photo session.
Judy, Gage and James compete in a corn shucking contest.
Judy, Gage and James compete in a corn shucking contest.
Teddy laughs as I make faces.
Teddy laughs as I make faces.
The girls put on their best cool as they hang out in Judy's swing.
The girls put on their best cool as they hang out in Judy’s swing.
Photographers gather for the family photo session.
Photographers gather for the family photo session.
As is often the case, the photo ops are opportunities to goof off.
As is often the case, the photo ops are opportunities to goof off.
And as is often the case, everyone handed me their cameras so they could be in their shots.
And as is often the case, everyone handed me their cameras so they could be in their shots.
This is another sign in the woods, put up for the spook walk.
This is another sign in the woods, put up for the spook walk.

Shoffner Reunion 2007: Ten Little Shoffners

This plate was created to commemorate the original ten Shoffner siblings.
This plate was created to commemorate the original ten Shoffner siblings.
The spook walk crew poses for a photo.
The spook walk crew poses for a photo.
Sisters Gail, Abby and Inez share a laugh during the photo session.
Sisters Gail, Abby and Inez share a laugh during the photo session.
Kids lean on Darrel during the photo session.
Kids lean on Darrel during the photo session.
A spook walk monster sneaks up on Donald.
A spook walk monster sneaks up on Donald.
If you go into the woods, you might run across this chainsaw wielding maniac.
If you go into the woods, you might run across this chainsaw wielding maniac.
Donald and Mindy take the kids on a hayride.
Donald and Mindy take the kids on a hayride.
Abby brags on Darrel's huge muscles.
Abby brags on Darrel’s huge muscles.
A family takes advantage of a photo op.
A family takes advantage of a photo op.
Sam and Gage go fishing from the paddleboat.
Sam and Gage go fishing from the paddleboat.
The Ashford brothers aim high...
The Ashford brothers aim high…
…and reach for the stars.
…and reach for the stars.
Abby's father Hershel, second oldest of the 10 Shoffner siblings, finds amusement in a family story.
Abby’s father Hershel, second oldest of the 10 Shoffner siblings, finds amusement in a family story.
Heather gives a ride to one of the younger girls.
Heather gives a ride to one of the younger girls.
Abby and Mindy smile as they finish up the family photo session.
Abby and Mindy smile as they finish up the family photo session.

Shoffner Reunion 2005: Put Mable in Charge

Some of the kids hang out on Judy's swing.
Some of the kids hang out on Judy’s swing.
Abby made this image of her great niece Teddy Brown holding a kitten. It's one of our favorite images of her.
Abby made this image of her great niece Teddy Brown holding a kitten. It’s one of our favorite images of her.

Because of work, I was only able to join the festivities of the Shoffner Reunion 2005 on the last day, Sunday, but the ever-capable Abby made images in my place.

Daniel and Justin horse around in the east yard.
Daniel and Justin horse around in the east yard.

With abundant sunshine and plenty of pets to entertain the kids, everyone had a terrific time.

Mable the dog seemed to be on top of everything, so we put her in charge.
Mable the dog seemed to be on top of everything, so we put her in charge.
One of the boys caught this fish from the bridge over the pond.
One of the boys caught this fish from the bridge over the pond.
Family members take their dog for a ride on the paddleboat.
Family members take their dog for a ride on the paddleboat.
Teddy makes bubbles.
Teddy makes bubbles.
Children play on a swing set.
Children play on a swing set.
One of the kids smiles after riding a zip line.
One of the kids smiles after riding a zip line.
Abby's father Hershel listens to the latest gossip.
Abby’s father Hershel listens to the latest gossip.
Abby's sister Gail looks on on the kids as they fish.
Abby’s sister Gail looks on on the kids as they fish.
James takes the kids on a hayride.
James takes the kids on a hayride.
Hershel and his brother Horsefly bait their hooks.
Hershel and his brother Horsefly bait their hooks.

Shoffner Reunion 2004: Hop Along

Abby poses with her father Hershel.
Abby poses with her father Hershel.

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.
Heather Ashford splashes a boatload of kids in the pond.
Kids enjoy a sack race.
Kids enjoy a sack race.
Heather splashes someone from the shore of the pond.
Heather splashes someone from the shore of the pond.
Abby's father Hershel poses with one of his fiddles.
Abby’s father Hershel poses with one of his fiddles.
Abby sports a mischievous smile at the start of the adult sack race.
Abby sports a mischievous smile at the start of the adult sack race.
Older kids and adults compete in the sack race.
Older kids and adults compete in the sack race.
Daniel holds his son on his shoulders.
Daniel holds his son on his shoulders.
Abby poses with her uncle Dutch and aunt Beverly.
Abby poses with her uncle Dutch and aunt Beverly.
The daughters of Hershel: Inez, Gail, and Abby. Their fourth sister, Gwyn, died in 2000.
The daughters of Hershel: Inez, Gail, and Abby. Their fourth sister, Gwyn, died in 2000.

In 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”…