Keeping Up With These Joneses Takes Dedication

December 18, 2003 -- Posted at 11:45pm

JONESBORO, AR - If you want to keep up with one particular Jones family in this city, you'll need to gather three current generations, and move into homes next door to each other on the same city block.

"Three generations of our family has grown up within this two block radius, and we made the conclusion that if it was good enough for three generations of the family, then it was probably good enough for the fourth," said Robert Jones, the man with the family most recently joining the block from Cherry Avenue south to Elm Avenue on the east side of Main Street.

Robert Jones and his wife, Mary Kay, moved into their home in February of this year with their four daughters. Robert's aunt, Charlott, is next door to the south.

Charlott Jones said, "Oh I just love it, and just today Isabell said to me, could we come to your house during Christmas and paint?"

Roberts' parents, Flo and Phil, are south of Charlott's home.

"I took piano lessons once, and I had a recital song, and I like to play that on the piano for my family," said Lilly Jones, Robert and Mary Kay's oldest daughter.

"I like helping Mimi and Papa, and I like going over there," added her sister, Kate.

Phil Jones responded, "We get to see our grandchildren every day. How many grandparents can say that?"

Mary Kay explained, "Living here is great. If one of the girls is asleep, I can pick up the phone and ask Mimi or Papa or Great Aunt C to walk over and sit with the girls while I go pick up the others at school."

Drivers know Phil and Flo's home is known for the nativity scene displayed during the holidays on the porch of their house.

"Since the children moved over here, they come over every year, and they put all the statues out, and then they all fight over who is gonna put baby Jesus in the crib, but it's quite a tradition that we've started with the children," said Flo Jones.

A new tradition for these Joneses is yard signs sending holiday greetings to those who pass by. On the other side is a sign for the rest of the family members who don't live on Main Street.

Robert Jones explained, "There's always a 'smart aleck' in the family who happens to be my brother, Phillip, who lives actually in another part of town, but who owns the property across the street."

"Of course, he wanted to put everybody's name on it that don't live on Main Street, but they couldn't fit it all on the sign," his mother, Flo, added.