Today, in gratitude I honor the life of my mother, Ethelda Oaks Potts, who is celebrating 80 momentous years. Born December 31, 1934 in Booneville, MS, she has lived a life of faithfulness, influence, and service. I can’t begin to recount the many ways she has helped the greater community through her life’s work as a teacher, librarian, musician, and civic leader. She has molded and influenced countless young and old people alike to strive for and appreciate the highest, most beautiful, most excellent, and finest offerings of life and vocation. A quintessential Southern lady, she is one of the most gifted and cultured people I have ever known. And she has walked the lonely road as an Alzheimer’s caregiver, laying down her own life to love more deeply the life of her beloved husband of 48 years, Lester. May God bless and honor you, Mother, and give you peace.