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Seeing Mother

Family 8rr

My mother turned 87 on Wednesday, August 8th. When I see her, I see the total of who she has been throughout my life.

I see a loving mother, a committed wife to my dad, and a devoted member of her extended family. I’ve seen her strength in the face of tragedy, illness, and loss. Her small frame stood firm through any challenges that came her way.

Elsie Warnock Yocum 1959

The principal and mother’s class at a school built in 1928 and still in use today. Her son would eventually serve as principal at Yocum from 1994-2001 (long after her retirement).

When I look at my mother, I see a teacher with an amazing work-ethic who invested herself in the lives of children throughout her career. I see someone dedicated to her faith and church. She could write thoughtful and beautiful stories. If a community group needed a directory, she’d organize and type it up. If her church needed a play or program, she’d write and direct it. The little lady got stuff done!


Painting by mother’s brother, Reese Kennedy

I see a mother who was patient with my reluctance to read and obsession with drumming and all things music. She gave me space to explore and follow my interests. She was interested in what I was doing but didn’t hover, or try to control the outcome of everything. Ironically, music led me to greater learning in all areas. She seemed to understand that both of her children were unique and would grow healthier if given love, emotional safety, and the freedom to travel their individual paths in life.

Someone recently lamented the fact that I hadn’t been on any long hiking trips lately due to my parents’ health. I said with a laugh, “They let me live through those rebellious teenage years. The least I can do is help out now.” I’m thankful for the times I’ve been able to serve and assist her during physical struggles. I need the chance to give more than she needs the assistance.

When I see mother today, I do see her loss of mobility and declining eyesight, two things that she finds frustrating because they limit her ability to serve and stay connected to others. More importantly, though, I see a person of dignity in the face of physical challenges. Her humor and kind words for others still brighten a room. Her commitment to my dad is still on full display.

I’m thankful for my mother and grateful for the memories and and vibrant personality that weave into the image I see when I’m with her today.

Mother and Daddy 1

Jimmy & Elsie Warnock


  1. Sue Warnock says:

    Oh, my…what loving tribute to the woman we all love…and accurate, too! Be sure you read this to her many times. Dude, you may be a drummer at heart, but you have your mother’s way with words. I know she is so proud of the man you have become. ❤️❤️❤️


  2. Lonnie Myers says:

    Happy Birthday Mrs. Warnock. You raised a fine son and it has been a pleasure to know him and realize what wondeful parents it took to instill the values he models each day.

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I'm a retired educator. I enjoy learning and sharing with others. If you like the outdoors, check out my other blog: ozarkmountainhiker.com

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