Celebrating her 101st birthday, Ruby Arnold said she has made it this far by continuing to never worry about her life and by trusting God's plan.
"I’ve never worried about anything; it doesn’t help anything," Arnold said. "I just take it as it comes. God saw fit to let me hang around, he didn’t need me anywhere else. That’s why I’m still here."
Arnold spent her birthday party with other members of the Ivy Terrace community, made up of government-subsidized housing for the elderly and disabled.
Faye Whitesides said she lives a few apartments down from Arnold and has nicknamed their road "Ruby Lane," in honor of Arnold's proclaimed green thumb.
"She is such a wonderful, kind and caring neighbor for everybody," Whitesides said.
Party attendees enjoyed food cooked by Ivy Terrace resident Pat Catania, non-alcoholic piña colada and a cupcake birthday cake.
Arnold was born March 23, 1917, in Watauga County.
Arnold grew up as one of 16 siblings: 9 boys and 7 girls. She said her father was married twice and had three boys from a previous marriage. Together, her parents had 13 more children. She was the third youngest, with two younger brothers. She said she's the last of her siblings left.
Growing up in a house with three older and two younger brothers, Arnold said she was the only girl.
"I had to play like the boys and fight like them," Arnold said. "I was just one of the boys."
Her family had a farm where she helped tend to cattle, mules and sheep. Arnold's family grew just about every crop that they could need, and said her father was talented when it came to cultivating the plants. She said this could be how she received her own green thumb.
While in high school, Arnold said she was a waitress at a restaurant on King Street, across from the Mast General Store. After graduating from Elkland High School in Todd in the 1930s, Arnold set off for New York to stay with one of her brothers for roughly a year.
Arnold's journey then took her to Maryland for a while, where she stayed with a different brother. Eventually she found her way back to Boone, where she said she met her husband — Carl Arnold — in 1941. The two married a couple years later and moved to West Virginia where her husband was a mortician. While in West Vriginia, Arnold said she started working for a bank.
The Arnolds proceeded to move to Winston-Salem where she said she worked for City National Bank until they were taken over by First Union Bank. Arnold's husband bought interest in a funeral home in Rockwell, so the couple moved yet again. In Rockwell, she said she worked in the funeral home office dealing with insurance companies.
Arnold was married to her husband almost 30 years when he died in 1974. She said she stayed in Rockwell eight more years before moving to Lexington to work for Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company — now known as PPG Industries. She later retired in Lenoir to be closer to her niece and sister-in-law.
Arnold has resided in the Ivy Terrace community in Boone for the last 11 years.
When it comes to hobbies, Arnold said she still loves to garden as well as listen to country music and church hymns.
Arnold said she learned to knit at a young age and it continues to be one of her favorite pastimes. As someone who was declared legally blind three years ago, Arnold said knitting is one of the few things she can do without having to see.
Whitesides mentioned Arnold is always knitting blankets for people, and has even made one for Whitesides's dog.
She said she considers the Ivy Terrace community her home and the people who live there like extended family. She said she was glad to be able to be surrounded by her friends to celebrate her birthday.