Bright Spot: 105-year-old family matriarch celebrates another year

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Today, many families will gather to give thanks and share a meal. One family in Northeast Arkansas is not only together for another holiday dinner - they're also celebrating 105 years of life with the family matriarch.

Mrs. Annie Barnes is this week's 'Bright Spot.'

These days Barnes spends her time watching television and working word search puzzles. It's a much slower pace for the centenarian who lives in Blytheville, Arkansas.

Her voice isn't as strong as it used to be, but her enthusiasm about her life and family is obvious.

"I had a happy family life," said Mrs. Barnes. "I'm the mother of 13 children, and I have two sets of twins."

The day WREG visited she was surrounded by her daughters, nieces and cousins. Her constant companion is her granddaughter.

"I can remember telling my mother I wanted to be a nurse when I grow so I can take care of my Big Mama, because I love her so much," said Mrs. Barnes' granddaughter.

On Friday, Mrs. Barnes will celebrate her 105 birthday. The pictures that fill her walls and countless albums in the house serve as a connection to her past and a life well lived.

"I enjoyed my big family," said Mrs. Barnes.

She was an usher and choir member at her church. When she turned 100, the mayor of Blytheville presented her a plaque.

As her birthday approaches this year, her gift list is simple. "Oh yes," said Mrs. Barnes. "I'll appreciate anything."

For her age, Mrs. Barnes is in good health and good spirits. Amanda is always there, and she's learned so much from her grandmother in the last four years that they have lived together.

"The most important thing I learned was to treat people right, love the lord and everything will be alright," said Mrs. Barnes' granddaughter.

Mrs. Barnes didn't offer a secret or any advice for longevity. She looks around at her loved ones who fill her home with smiles and laughter and she is grateful for her life.

"I'm thankful that God has been good to me and my family, and I'm just thankful to God," said Mrs. Barnes.