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Inez Phillips celebrates 102 years

Inez Phillips has never flown in an airplane, but she’s picked 200 pounds of cotton in a day’s time.

She’s never surfed the Internet, but she’s ridden bareback on a mule.

Inez Phillips knows things most people don’t know and will never have reason to know. She knows how to dig peanuts, pull corn, slop hogs and “tote” water from the spring. She knows why you place an outhouse on a slope and that chickens won’t leave the yard if there’s a place for them to roost. She knows what it’s like to wake at the crack of dawn to the rooster’s crow and do a hard day’s work and go to bed before the sun goes down.

Inez Phillips has seen more changes in this old world than most people will ever see. After all, not many people will live to celebrate 102 years and do so with a clear mind and in reasonably good health. Mrs. Phillips turned 102 years old Monday, May 18, 2009. She did so rather quietly with family and a few friends at the home where she lives with her daughter and son-in-law, Jeanette and Gerald Harden.

She cut her birthday cake in the afternoon and celebrated again with a pizza party at night. All the festivities didn’t seem too much for Mrs. Phillips.

“I’m having a good time,” she said with a smile.

But, for the one question that was asked, repeatedly, of her, she had no answer. “I don’t know what I’ve done to live this long,” she said and added with a smile, “I never thought about it. I guess God has just blessed me.”

Jeanette Harden characterized her mother as loving but stern. “She wouldn’t let us play cards or go to dances, and we very seldom got to spend the night off. But we were always in church. That was our social life.”

And, the church was the social life for Mrs. Phillips.

“I’ve always gone to church. Always want to,” she said. “I go now if I can.”

Mrs. Phillips said the church was a huge part of her life, and she has always trusted in the Lord and tried to do right. She was one of five children and was her daddy’s “pet.”

“When I wanted to get married, everybody told me that I’d better run away, that my daddy wouldn’t give me up,” she said. “I said that I wouldn’t run away. I would talk to Daddy, and I did. I told him that I would be good, and that I would come to see him and he gave me up. I did what I said I would do.”

Mrs. Phillips had grown up on a farm near Elamville, and she knew what it was to work hard and none of that changed when she got married. She stayed on the farm.

“Everybody worked hard,” she said. “We all had chores to do. I always did my share.”

Contentment is a quality that is a blessing, and Mrs. Phillips had her share and more. She was content to be a wife, mother and housewife. She and her husband lived for a long while with his daddy and mother. She found happiness and contentment no matter whether she was stacking peanuts or caring for a blind and aging mother-in-law. She sang in the church choir and taught a Sunday school class for “little ones.”

And now at age 102, she’s still enjoying life. She watches every game show on television and basks in the love of family and friends and between times she “takes a nap.”

And, Mrs. Phillips knows she has been richly blessed in life. She’s sure of that.

“The Lord has been with me,” she said. “He blessed me. I asked him to bless me and he did. Real good.”