Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Oh Yes, Family

This is my family. My mom and dad are seated on the couch. (That's Myrtle in Dad's lap.) My husband, Phil, and I are standing behind them. This photo was taken Thanksgiving 2004. My dad was gone by Thanksgiving 2005.
I was named after my dad, his being Paul Martin Goff. My mother is Reba Webb Goff. Both my parents are products of Ludlow, Kentucky. Dad always referred to Reba as the "prettiest girl to ever come out of Ludlow High School." She hated that.
My parents were married 54 years. They set the example for commitment. I do remember times they were extremely angry with each other, but they obviously got over them. For the most part, I think they were both happy with their lives.
My dad worked for the railroad for 37 years of his life. He was a pipefitter by trade, although he was very talented and could just about anything he wanted. My mother worked for the Boone County KY Fiscal Court as a secretary, first in the Juvenile Court, and then in the Police Department. She retired from the police department when she was 65. A year later, she went back to work part time. I doubt she'll ever completely retire.
My parents were strict Southern Baptists in the "old" sense of the phrase. That is, they both believe the Bible cover to cover. They believe in the priesthood of the individual believer. They believe in the autonomy of the local church, and they understood the difference between preachers speaking to their own church and tele-evangelists who had a different calling on their lives. They preferred the former.
My parents were also strict Democrats. Even when the county around them was becoming republican, they stayed true to their values. Franklin Roosevelt put people to work. My grandfather (John Webb) was able to work through the great depression, thanks to the WPA. My great-uncle gave his legs at the invasion of Normandy. The DNA spilled on battlefields around the world bought them the right to be Democrats, no matter what those who would call them "demoncrats" would say. To my parents, those people were neocon opportunists who had suddenly gotten two nickles to rub together and had forgotten from whence they came.
To know me is to know that, as much as I might have at one time fought it, I am a chip off the old block! I am that Southern Baptist who reserves the right to interpret the Bible as it speaks to me. I am that Democrat whose core belief is in the responsibility to help those who cannot help themselves.
These are things I have tried to change over the years, but they come to me through DNA. As my parents were, so am I. We can't choose family. We are products of what God sent before us, and even if that weren't so, I don't think I'd want it any differently.
Now an upcoming post will be about my extended family, and that's DNA of a different variety.

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