Offbeat: 106 Year Old Woman

BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) -Birtie Ross makes her bed every morning, something she's been doing all life, and for Birtie Ross that's long time.  Miss Birtie was born May 30, 1902, so Miss Birtie just celebrated her 106th birthday.

Miss Birtie was born in Luxora and had 4 brothers.  She spent most of her childhood working in the fields picking cotton.

"I used to pick 100, sometimes 200 pounds," said Ross.  And she credits that work ethic with her long lease on life.  "Hard work, that's all I know.  One day at a time, one day at a time."

And it's one day at a time, living on her own.  November 5th, 1949, that's the day Miss Birtie moved to Blytheville.  She's been married 3 times, her last husband died 5 years ago at age 97. So everyday she gets up and tends to her life and her chores, but these days she's doing those chores in her brand new kitchen, in her brand new home.

Miss Birtie moved in back in April, a home built with the help of local, state, and federal organizations.

"It's so beautiful," said Miss Birtie.  "It's wonderful, everything is wonderful!"

"I got a chance to know Miss Birtie in the process," said contractor Dan Freeman. "She always has that smile on her face.  A couple of times she came by and it gave me more energy to finsih building her home."

Ross' old home had to be torn down.  She had holes in her roof and didn't even have hot water.  "I'm so thankful," said Ross.  "I'm so thankful to everyone who helped get me this house.  I never dreamed I'd ever own any thing like this.  It's so beautiful."

Nettie heard has lived next door to Miss Birtie for 38 years. "I think she's wonderful," said Heard.  "She's been like a mother, a big sister, an auntie, because she helped me raise my kids and she helped me too.  She still helps me."

"She's just a good lady," said her neice, Joyce Nash. "A lot of laughter. She has inspried me in life. It's just really amazing how God's been so good to her and she still gets around by herself."

Birtie Ross, 106 years old and kind of like that energizer bunny, still going.

When asked how long she hopes to live, Ross replied, "As long as i can, becasue I have to."