Anna M. Jones passed away in her sleep on June 22, 2011, Kenneth, the fifth of Anna and Joe's seven children, delivered this eulogy for Anna upon her burial at Calverton Cemetery in New York on June 25, 2011.
Everyone else had plenty of counter-reasons as to why I surely could not be the favorite.
My older brothers Robert and Joseph would like to point to that fateful night where they tricked me into plugging the heater into the faulty electrical outlet. Being a naive and young kid, I did so because that was the condition they had set to allow me to hang with them to watch "Combat" on the television. Needless to say, the jolt of electricity I was hit with practically threw me across the room. Mom's biggest concern at the time was why all of the lights in the house were flickering. But, to me, that was a minor blip on the radar. I was still the favorite.
My sister Helen would contest this, and she would probably bring up the infamous "Hedge-Trimming Party" she held at the old house in Jamesport. Late in the day as I was trimming the hedges on a scaffold six feet up in the air, I made a careless error and screwed up in the most "Ken-Jones-way" possible - I ended up accidentally hedge-clipping the electrical wire that powered the very hedge-clippers that I was using, sending me rocketing off the scaffold and down onto the ground. When I told Mom about what happened, she stated, and I quote, "Oh my Gosh, you could have set the bushes on fire." Yes, mom was grateful that day because the hedges were not aflame and she did not have to call 911. The fact that my hair was smoking and I could have died, not a problem That would not deter me. I was still the favorite.
Many of us might recall how my youngest sister Joanne would get absolutely livid when mom would insult her, using the phrase, "You're just like your brother, Kenneth." Yes, to Joanne, there was simply nothing worse than in this world than being compared to me.
All of these things may be examples - and good examples, at that - of why I may have not been Mom's favorite. But now, as I stand before you this morning delivering the eulogy, I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that I truly am Mom's favorite, once and for all.
But enough of that. Today is a day in which we honor Mom and collect our fondest memories of her to share with one another.
Many of us recall how Mom was an absolutely fantastic baker - and that was true. Who could forget her delicious Oatmeal Raisin Cookies she made especially for me and her Apple Squares, which were Eugene's favorite. Of course, we all just as easily remember how poor of a cook mom was. The saying always was, "Dinner is ready when the smoke detector went off the third time"
Mom would recall later to me how she regretted not disciplining her kids the right way. Mom was a very stern woman, and I can recall nights where discipline consisted of shoes being thrown at me. If this was mom's idea of "poor discipline", I shudder to wonder what the right course of action should have been.
OCD is a common problem amongst many of us, and we can all directly point to Mom for that one. She would only shop at Macy's, Alfred Dunner Department, and it better be 'on sale'. She had to have an open napkin on her placemat at meal time. She had to have a paper cup full of milk for breakfast. Her tissues needed to be folded in exactly the right way.
One thing we all can agree upon was that she was an incredibly generous person to all. She spent countless days with Aunt Pat, in Valley Stream, Jamesport and in Raleigh, always reaching out, and never tiring of her company - even if some of us did sometimes.
Mom's obsession with cards was unwavering. Incessantly, she would ask, "When is the next time we are playing cards?" or "Do we have enough people to play cards?" Her cards obsession coupled with her long-standing job as a window operator for the OTB earned her the nickname, "The Bookie Lady" in our house. At various times, mom was also known as the Hat Lady, Chip Lady, and even the Bag Lady because of her propensity to store things in little Ziploc bags.
But always, mom was known as a lady. As her hearing declined later in life, phone calls with Mom became less routine and more of a "Mad Gab" adventure. My throat would oftentimes be sore after one of our calls, and on one occasion when I phoned her from a hotel, the man next door banged on the wall to turn it down.
Those are just some of the hundreds and hundreds of memories I will have of Mom. That was the best thing about her: she was multi-faceted. Life with mom would never be dull or boring.
She had a great sense of humor, and yet she could be firm.
She was a loving mother but also sought perfection from her children.
She was always a lady but never shied away from hard work.
She loved her children without bounds but would give them a smack when they strayed.
She was forgiving but would give hell to anyone who dared mistreat her children.
She was a model of grace, dignity, and courage, handling the passing of her youngest child, who we all knew was an angel on earth, and handled it with the utmost strength and class.
She had the courage to abide by the wishes of her loving husband of over 50 years and let him die with grace and dignity. The love and devotion mom displayed to our Dad was special, and certainly one for us to emulate.
Ultimately, Mom taught us how to live our lives with both honor and dignity..
If I can pass one-tenth of what she taught me on to my children, I will consider myself lucky.
If my children can feel for me half as much as I feel for her, I will consider myself successful beyond my wildest dreams.
I will miss her and love her, always and forever.