Republican of the Year
My mom, Dorothy Kelly, recently featured in the Frederick News Post with a headline that included the word “Opinion,” was born in Tioga, Texas, on April 14 1925 to Raymond and Dovie Bodovsky, farmers, is the 2007 Republican of the Year for Frederick County.
She grew up with her three brothers, and later, a surprise sister, on a farm with all the “amenities” of her time. She ran freely with her brothers, ate homegrown, home-baked food, wore homemade clothing, and got homemade gifts.
My mom’s clothes were made from flower sacks, and she once received a doll wearing a dress that her mom had crocheted from the threads that held the sacks together. The thrill of Christmas was the orange in her stocking. She sometimes ate clotted cream with maple syrup for breakfast.
Her own mom was brave, strong and ambitious. She raised turkeys in addition to all her other chores, once saving money for parlor furniture for her farmhouse. You know, the kind with looped wool upholstery and carved wooden trim.
Her friends said, “Dovie, you are out of your mind to buy that. Your boys will tear it up!”
Her answer, “No, they won’t”, and, of course, they didn’t. They sat on it on Sundays, when allowed, wearing, I’m sure, their clean, bleached flour sack shirts and their irrepressible grins!
My mom inherited her occasionally sharp tongue from my Nana Bo, along with an understanding of love, honor, and of caring for others from both her parents. My Granddad, caught hiding his brothers’ hootch under his barn floor during prohibition, went to jail rather than tell on them. Nana Bo cared for two elderly mothers. My mom cared for my dad’s parents in our home.
My mom, who has referred to herself as a rednecky farm girl, is that, and more. She met my dad in Texas during World War II, and left her world behind to come to Washington, D.C., and marry him.
She raised – and played – with my brother and me, driving us and our dog Chico to Texas each summer to spend time with her family on the farm. She went sleigh riding, and, some 20 years ago, white water rafting. You should have seen her smile of delight during that adventure!
She was always active in her neighborhood, community and church, and a southern Democrat. She became a Republican before moving to Frederick, as that party more accurately reflected her values.
When my brother died accidentally in 1987, she stood her ground in the face of terrible grief, going about her daily business of living with great courage, and supporting my dad in his anguish. It took five years for her to be able to say, “Other people have lost children,” but you wouldn’t have known it from her daily demeanor.
She is a wonderful grandmother, a second mother to my children, and now spends one day a week watching her great granddaughter. She says she’s going to babysit fulltime for the coming baby, too!
Her arthritis may show her down a bit, but she’s definitely still in the game – an extraordinary, ordinary woman.
In Frederick, her volunteer efforts have mostly involved politics, along with her work for the Frederick County library. She is serving for the third time as president of the Republican Women’s Club of Frederick County, the oldest continuously active club in America, founded at about the time women got the vote. She has contributed enormous effort to the club, reviving it from near death on more than one occasion!
She has worked very hard to support political candidates, always down to earth, honest, honorable people such as Jeff Holzinger and “Chuck” Jenkins, and many others before them. There’s usually no doubt about where she stands.
She has referred to herself as a conservative moderate. I think she means that she is a moderate, inclusive Republican, one who believes that there is room in the party for people of different faiths and lifestyles, who espouse core Republican values.
To her, those values are the ones she learned as a child: hard work, fair play, faith, taking care of yourself and those around you, serving your country, and being allowed personal freedom with minimal necessary government regulation and taxation.
That’s because she believes that people can be good on their own, like she is.
(Editor’s Note: The award as Republican of The Year was presented to Dot Kelly at the annual Lincoln Day Dinner, held last night at Dutch’s Daughter.)