Because my ministry often carried me many miles from my home in Louisiana, I usually did not get to spend Mother’s Day with my mother. To let Mother know that I was thinking of her, I always tried to send her a nice card and call her on that day. Sometimes, my card was running late in the mail, so as Mother’s Day approached in 2007, I determined not to let that happen again. I mailed the card early in the week so that she would get it before Mother’s Day.
My mother, Reba Jones, began her journey in the little community of Peason, Louisiana in 1919, where she was one of five children born to Henry and Elizabeth Goins. She was the fourth-born of their children.
Mother always loved learning. She learned to read before she started to school at the age of 5. During elementary school, she did so well that one year she was promoted two grades at the end of the year. The result of this was that she finished high school at the age of 15. She was the first in her family to attend college. Her dad sold a cow and used the money to pay for her enrollment at Louisiana Normal (now Northwestern State) in Natchitoches, Louisiana. She worked her way through school and graduated three years later with a major in English.
Upon graduation, she got her first teaching job at Plainview High School, which was about seven miles from where she was reared. In that community, she met and married a young farmer named K. C. Jones in 1938. Over the next 10 years, they had three sons, of whom I was the second-born. While raising three boys and a garden, milking a cow morning and evening, and teaching school and Sunday School, Mother also got her master’s degree in the mid-50’s.
Upon arriving in Plainview, Mother became a member of Plainview Baptist Church. Over the years she held every position possible in that little church and saw all three of her sons saved and baptized into its membership.
My dad was stricken with severe rheumatoid arthritis and forced to retire in the early '60s. Mother taught school by day and was up with my dad most of the night taking care of him. She retired from teaching in 1971 to care for my dad, but he died a few months later. Mother went on to other careers as a legislative assistant for her congressman and later as a Medicaid caseworker.
Despite my early mailing of her Mother’s Day card that year, Mother never got it. She had already changed her address before the card arrived. On Wednesday morning, May 9, 2007, she moved out of the Woodlands Nursing Home in Leesville, Louisiana, and into her new home in Heaven.
Although Mother did not get her card for Mother’s Day that year, I am sure that it was her best Mother’s Day ever. She had always joked with us that when she died, she would leave us nothing but her debts. That was not true. She left us so much more. She left us the memories of her love, faith, commitment to duty, and profound selflessness. She once told me that she had heard so many preachers brag on their mothers that she would get me if I ever spent any time bragging on her. Sorry, Mother. I had to do it at least one more time!