While leaving the nursing home one day this week, I ran into Gene and Ruth Ann Evans. Though they are the age of my parents, they are in good health. Of course, if you know them, then this comes as no surprise. They are people some of us might say have lived right. Oh, they would never say that. But it is true.
We stopped and talked as they were going in to visit someone. It’s always good to see them because they are the kind of people who make you feel better about mankind after you talk with them.
As we talked, the subject came around to the number of people who had died recently. One of us mentioned Turk Milford passing away and I immediately felt guilty for not at least going by to see his daughter, Michelle Thacker, while Turk was in the funeral home.
Gene mentioned to me that he and Turk rode together to work for years. This made me think about how I knew Turk.
Gene and Ruth Ann were members at Chalcedonia Baptist Church where I grew up and Turk and his family belonged at North Canton Baptist Church. Now, back then, if you belonged to one of them, you kind of had an honorary membership at the other. There really isn’t anything as an honorary membership to a church. But, if you belonged to either one of them years ago, then you know what I am talking about.
Turk’s family consisted of his wife, Norma, his son, Michael, and his daughter Michelle.
Turk and Norma did something not many people have the desire or the amount of love it takes to do. You see, Michael was adopted.
It wasn’t one of those hidden things. People knew it. But that didn’t matter to Turk and Norma. They had two children. One was adopted and one wasn’t. But they had enough love to give them both. DNA does not make a parent. The lack of DNA does not keep someone from being a parent. DNA or the lack thereof never trumps love.
I don’t remember the exact year, but when Michael was a college-aged young man, he lost his life to an accident. Much like the family of the young bride that lost her life in a tragic accident a few days ago, the Milfords were devastated. Michael’s friends were devastated.
But what I remember most during that time were the conversations I had with Turk. He even questioned if this tragic accident would have happened had they not adopted Michael. I don’t know if it is possible to be in a lower state than that.
Thankfully, Turk, Norma and Michelle had their church to lean on. More importantly, they had God to lean on. And they went on with their life although they were probably never the same. How could you be?
It hasn’t been that long ago that Turk lost his wife, Norma. The man faced adversity in his life. No man ever wants to outlive his kids. And I really don’t believe a good man wants to outlive his wife. But he suffered through both and with dignity.
I am thinking of Michelle as I write this. There must be some sense of loneliness in her heart. She’s a good person and certainly has done nothing to deserve the loss she has been through.
Regardless of what some of the fanatics may think, bad things happen to good people. The reasons are beyond our comprehension.
Then I thought about Michelle’s husband, John, and his wonderful parents, Hugh and Marlene. They will never take the place of Turk and Norma in Michelle’s life; nor should they. But they will be there for her when she needs them and for that she is truly blessed. They will help her get through this tough time in her life. It’s not about DNA. It’s about love.
If you don’t know Gene and Ruth Ann Evans, you have truly missed a blessing. I have no DNA connecting me to them. Regardless of that, they have always treated me in a loving and parental way.
Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of Cherokee County.