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The Secret To Raising A Family: Love, Work Hard And Then Play

By Joe Lowe

When the Herald decided to publish Baxter Jones’ history of  his youth in Yocona River Bottom, I thought about writing about some of the escapades we shared after his family moved close to me. I thought Baxter would recover from his illness and we could discuss some of the events of those 65 or so years. It was not to be– God chose to take Baxter on Home.

I have started three different approaches concerned with our hunting, which was a big thing. Also about working together in  his father’s watermelon fields and other working together stories. None of my efforts seemed worthwhile. Nothing seemed important enough to finish what he had started—a story of a happy young boy growing up in a well adjusted family.

  What was so different about his youth and life as an adult? How many children can (or want to?) write a short history about their family relationships? What was different about Baxter’s parents? That was the question! The answer was there in the pages of his story. Love from his parents who shared time with him—yes, maybe spoiled him a little—but isn’t that what everyone wants and needs? Mr. Lem Jones seems to have discovered how to raise a family—love for all the children, encouragements, help when needed, play no favorites to a point of jealously.


Lem Jones, the father, taught: work till finished, then play or hunt, etc.; be active in church; be active in other family relationships; be generous to the needy; help all the family children be successful; and share love with all distant family members. Baxter inherited these qualities. He and Mary Lou have two girls and a son, all  Ole Miss graduates, all active in church life, as was he and Mary Lou. The children have successful children coming on (from similar raising).

Baxter had many friends. I got warm remarks on Facebook and there was a large number at the funeral. I heard, “He was a good man” several hundred times. I guess his work is over but, in a way, is being carried on by his loving family.

  Work hard, then play! Don’t be reluctant to talk to your family members. Let them know they’re loved. It will pay off.

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