Something sweet: Phillips celebrates 105

Published 10:50 pm Monday, May 21, 2012

The day was May 18, 2012, and Inez Phillips knew the importance of that day.

“It’s my birthday,” she said, with a smile.

And she knew how old she was, but like most females, she fudged a bit.

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“I’m one hundred and one,” she said, shaving off four years for good measure.

Inez Phillips turned 105 years young this weekend and celebrated the occasion with family and close friends at the home of her daughter and son-in-law, Jeanette and Gerald Harden in Shiloh.

She did the honors of cutting her birthday cake and cut herself an extra large slice because “I want a big one,” she said, laughing.

When Phillips was born in Barbour County on May 18, 1907, the odds of her celebrating the turn of the century weren’t all that good. She said she never thought about such a thing.

“You just think about working hard,” she said.

Phillips’ dad was a sharecropper and she worked in the fields right along with everybody else in the family.

“I chopped cotton and picked cotton and stacked peanuts,” she said. “The work wasn’t too bad.”

Fieldwork might not have been “too bad,” but it was far from easy. The family went to the field before sun-up and often let dark catch them there.

Phillips said pulling corn, digging potatoes, milking the cow and washing clothes were just a few of the “pleasures” of growing up on a farm in the early part of the 20th Century.

She grew up and, like most young women in those days, she married and stayed on the farm.

She had four children, three boys and a girl. She lost a son and that was “the hardest way life can do you.”

Phillips has enjoyed a long life with only two trips to the hospital – one for knee surgery and the other for appendicitis.

Her greatest pleasures have been raising her children, doing yard work, crocheting and going to church.

As far as television, she likes game shows and a little preaching.

Phillips attributes her long life to the goodness of God and her happiness to “being good to people and loving everybody.”

She said there is no magic formula for reaching 100 years and beyond.

“It’s God’s blessings,” she said, with a smile, while reaching for a knife and a second birthday cake that she won on the radio.

When you’re 105 years old, who’s going to say, “You’ve had too many sweets?”