Carol's wedding & Aaron 's Birthday
Monday, December 19, 2022 - I awoke this morning, as per usual, and checked my messages to see if the world still existed outside of my cozy corner of the world. It still did for me, but one of my long-time, admired, former students, Carol Earnhart-Butts, unexpectedly, and suddenly passed away yesterday.
It was such a shock, even though I can’t say we’ve been very close throughout the years. In fact, it’s probably been 35 years or so since I’ve even seen her. Carol was a student in my Levy church high-school Bible class back in the late seventies. We had been Facebook friends since the early days of social media but no personal face-to-face contact since the late eighties.
My most endearing memory of Carol was a day and an incident that I’m sure that neither of us ever forgot. It was July 12, 1985, her wedding day, and the same day my youngest son was born.
I owned a photography studio in Little Rock and was scheduled to photograph her wedding that evening. The night before I attended the rehearsal, something for which I didn’t normally do, and informed her about a working agreement I had with a new friend. I wish I remembered his name. He was also a photographer that I’d just met about two weeks previous. Like us, he and his wife were also expecting a baby. He was the photographer for Governor Bill Clintons press staff, and took wedding photographs on the side. After meeting and discovering that we both had a baby coming along soon, we jokingly agreed to cover for each other’s schedule should the occasion arise that one of our baby’s, were to be born causing a conflict in our schedule. I wasn’t worried because Aaron wasn’t due for another two weeks or so, but for some reason I felt compelled to tell the Earnhart’s that night.
The next day, Carol's wedding day, about 10:00 a.m., my wife and I had a visit to our OB-GYN for a weekly check up on our baby that was due to be born on or around July the 21st. I went into a panic when the Doctor said, “Clear your schedule, this baby is going to be born early, in fact today, and probably very soon.”
OH. MY. GOODNESS! I have to photograph Carol Earnhart’s wedding tonight! What will I do? I can’t miss the birth of my baby, and I can’t just NOT show up for that wedding! Could I do both? Maybe? It just depended on when the baby was “imminently” about to be born. As luck, or fate, would have it, about 4:00 o’clock that afternoon I knew I had a conflict. As I quickly processed the options in my head and I made the call to my new friend first. After convincing him that no this wasn’t a ha-ha moment, and that I was indeed having a baby today, he didn’t hesitate to ask me who, where and when? And that he would take care of it for me, (and Carol).
I then called the Earnhart’s and spoke to Carol directly. She and her family were already at the building preparing for her 7:00 o’clock ceremony. I told her I would in fact NOT be there to photograph her wedding, but my new friend, (man, I wish I remembered his name), would soon show up to do so for me, and that she had nothing to worry about. Carol, Christy and her parents all expressed joy for us, and told me not even think about them, that my baby being born was more important!
Aaron Michael Shaner was born on July 12, 1985 at 6:20 p.m. Carol Earnhart was walked down the aisle by her father Charles to be married about 40 minutes later! Carol and I bonded that day in an experience like no other! For years we laughed and hugged about our special bond. Now my son Aaron is 37-1/2 years old! Even though Carol and her new husband met my baby son a couple of Sundays after he was born, we hadn’t seen each other much after that. In more recent years, after I moved back to Arkansas, I had always planned to have some sort of meet-up reunion to re-introduce the two of them that shared that very special day.
I am heart-broken! That meeting will have to wait until we all meet again in heaven.
Rest in peace Carol.
Agape blessings to all those that loved her so dearly.
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