Thursday, July 31, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Andrew Montgomery Goff was born, July 23, 1892, and Nellie Hughes Goff was born, July 10, 1892. Andy was the son of Richard and Mary Ellen Goff (nee Stephens,) of Somerset, Kentucky. Nellie was the daughter of Bud and Mattie Hughes, also of Somerset.
Andy used to talk about the first time he saw Nellie in almost fairy-tale prose. She was running across the meadow with her long red hair blowing in the wind, and she was the prettiest thing he'd ever seen. They eloped to Huntsville, Tennessee and were married by Justice of the Peace, James McDonald, on April 29, 1913.
Andy found work on the river barges, moving coal up and down the Cumberland River, while Nellie set up housekeeping. Their first child, Herbert, came along on February 28, 1914, but died on March 21, 1914. John Milton Goff came along on June 20, 1915, followed by Thelma, born February 12, 1920.
By 1920, Andy was working for the Southern Railroad, and he moved his family to Ludlow, Kentucky to become a foreman. They moved into the section house, a home owned by the railroad. Nellie would give birth to three more children, Richard on November 17, 1924, Paul Martin on June 12, 1927 and Abel on April 2, 1930.
The child rearing and discipline fell to Nellie, as Andy's job took him away from home five days out of the week. The depression hit the Goff family hard, as they were beyond poor but still had it better than some, since Andy always had work. Five children tried the patience of the fiery redhead who was known for her Irish temper. Nellie sometimes took drastic measures to keep her children in line. One legend that surfaces at every family reunion is about the time she tied Johnny to a tree to teach him not to run away from home!
Andy and Nellie were strict Southern Baptists. That defined who they were and how they lived their lives. Andy believed in the cooperation of churches to advance missions. He believed in that old fashioned, soul saving grace. Members of the First Baptist Church of Ludlow, Kentucky, Nellie attended as often as she could when her health permitted. Andy sported a perfect attendance pin 35 years of faithful service. They reared their children in the church, and when they were grown, they too reared their families in the church.
Andy retired in 1955, and with all his children married and on their own, he and Nellie bought a little home in Covington, Kentucky. The house on 18th Street is where they were living when I would come to know them. I can remember walking up the steps and into the front door. On the left was their master bedroom. Walking past that, the living room was a big open room with two huge windows that Nellie had covered with venetian blinds and white lace curtains. There was a couch on the front wall, and two chairs on both side walls. The main attraction, though, was the huge black iron wood stove with the smell of Andy's cornbread emanating from within.
The kitchen was simple with linoleum floors, white walls. It was very utilitarian with a stove and refrigerator and a table with six chairs. Nellie's signature dish was chicken and dumplings, and that is what she served whenever the family gathered there for dinner. Dinner was often followed by Andy playing his fiddle or banjo.
Nellie died on December 4, 1972, five months shy of being married sixty years. After Nellie died, Andy moved in with his youngest son, Abel. Abel's wife, Cora, took care of Andy when Andy could no longer care for himself. In the four years following Nellie's death, Andy got weaker and weaker until congestive heart failure finally took him home in May, 1976.
Andy and Nellie are together now in Gloryland. They watched the big Goff Reunion of 2004 from the Great Cloud of Witnesses, and must have been overjoyed by those of us who came together. Strangers met at Appalachian Park in Renfro Valley and came away family. Relationships were made that will endure forever, despite distance and absence. The Goff legacy is well established.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
This is the Rio Grande, the photo taken standing on the dam outside of Del Rio, Texas. The right side of the river is Mexico; the left is Texas.
Standing on the dam, it is easy to imagine standing on a bridge that crosses Jordan. Loved ones are on both sides, those we leave behind, and those standing in that great cloud of witnesses. The bridge across Jordan is a bridge built by love, not that we loved Him, but that He loved us.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
tried we're oft made to wonderWhy it should
be thus all the day longWhile there are
others living about usNever molested
though in the wrong
we'll know all about it.
we'll understand why.
Cheer up my
brother. Live in the sunshine.
We'll understand it all by and by.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Of course, Scott County was at one point Morgan County, and Morgan was once Roane. The map just kept changing around the old Webb farm, but the old Webb farm never moved. Webb ancestors raised sheep and chickens. They planted the gardens that sustained their families through the changing seasons. They forged shelter in the caves during the civil war. God surely blessed my ancestors with the old home place.
I never got to visit the old home place. Most of the family had moved north during the depression. At one point the farm had to be sold to pay the taxes, but family bought it back. For more than a 100 years, the old home place kept faith with the Webb family. Finally, they sold the old house, and it was dismantled as the old chestnut logs were carried away one by one down the mountain, probably to be used in a new log home to sustain a new family. I like to believe that anyway.
The Webb and Carpenter Cemeteries are providing temporary residences to all my great grandparents (going back through four generations) and aunts and uncles, cousins I only meet through census reports and paper trails. Someday though, I will meet them all on the streets of Glory. In that day, when we all see the Lord... when we're all on our knees thanking Jesus for our salvation... In that day, I will also be able to thank all my ancestors for the home place deep inside my heart.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Saturday, July 12, 2008
I've been studying Calvinism over the past several years. Ten years ago, I thought Calvinism was reserved for people who, well, let's just say see themselves as set apart from the rest of us. I've learned over and over all about God's sense of humor that's wrapped up in that marvelous irresistible grace that is always sufficient. Thus, today I see this form of theology as very liberating. It gives back to God what has always been His.
The an acronym for Calvinism is T.U.L.I.P..
- Total depravity of man
- Unconditional election
- Limited atonement
- Irresistible grace
- Perseverance of the saints
I am going to write more about this as the days go by, to share my thoughts on why I've evolved to embrace this theology. My pastor and I seem to have this discussion every Sunday, and I walk away laughing, while he walks away scratching his head. Here's the key that turns the lock: God is omnipotent. If He is omnipotent and His grace unlimited, God cannot be limited by human characteristics! In the future, I'm going to include Scriptures that I believe support these five tenants.
Again, I am not a theologian or scholar. I'm just like everybody else, waiting on the Lord and walking toward home. I'm hoping people will visit and leave comments so I can learn from them and maybe everyone else can too.