On Sunday afternoon, March 21st, mom left her house in Bellbrook, Ohio…the one she had lived in for 55 years…for regions beyond. Her story began 85 years ago when she was born to John and Icy Reffitt in Mt. Sterling, KY. She honored her parents and did them proud all the days of her life. Mom did not eat the bread of idleness. She had a house-full of children to care for. Looking back I remember that one of my earliest impressions of mom was what a hard worker she was. Too bad it didn’t occur to me to be of more help to her.
She came from the country and big city living wasn’t for her. That’s how we came to live in the village of Bellbrook. It was indeed a good and safe place in which to grow up. I have no doubt at all…that it was due to my mom’s persistence…resistance…and insistence that our little house remained ours through all the years. Mom worked in all sorts of ways to keep the wolves away from the door.
She raised five children on meager funds…and I don’t believe any of us ever felt we were poor. To this day, I would just as soon have ham-seasoned pinto beans and dumplings with real southern cornbread (not sweet) as to have a filet mignon. Every fall we went to school in new clothes for which she had scrimped and saved. I would get new blue jeans from JC Penney’s…as well as a shirt or two…and always a pair of US Keds. It almost made going to school worthwhile in my child’s mind. Almost.
She believed in taking care of strays and helping anyone down on their luck. She believed in paying her bills and speaking the truth. The children of Sarah Oakes knew the difference between right and wrong even if we failed to choose the right over the wrong.
I am so grateful that there came a day in her life when she said “Yes” to Jesus Christ. Her commitment of faith later gave me the opportunity to do the same. That has made all the difference in my life.
Mom’s life wasn’t easy. There were many obstacles…some of which I could see and understand…others I could not. I’m convinced she did the best she could. My one remaining sister who served mom with extreme devotion, beyond duty’s call for many years…and my one remaining brother who loved and was loved by mom and was quick to bring her flowers and gifts and help any way he could…and I…are what my mom left behind to remember her…to carry on the good stuff…and to try, as she did, to help someone else along the way. We three pause to thank God for our hard-working mom who loved us the best she could.