(Town Crier photo/Nan Snider)
Barnes, his wife Cindy, and children, Morgan and Zach, have been carefully listening to KFIN radio, of Jonesboro, for clues in the Christmas Treasure Hunt.
"Cindy had a dream that Morgan had found the treasure," Barnes said. "We had thought long and hard on the clues, carefully analyzing each one, and had studied the Jonesboro map. Last Monday night (Nov. 28) we had gone Christmas shopping in Jonesboro and were on our way home, thinking about hiding places for the prize. Zach told me he bet it was on the 'Welcome to Jonesboro' sign, west of Lake City. We turned around and went back to look. It was dark and we didn't have a flashlight and there was a lot of construction going on there. We didn't find anything. We just went on home."
Barnes works at Frito-Lay and passes that sign every day.
He went into work on Tuesday and again on Wednesday. His wife was listening to KFIN and they were talking about the treasure hunt. She couldn't shake the feeling the prize notice was near that sign. She called her husband and asked him to go back by before coming home.
"While I was waiting to hear from Lynn, I was praying that the Lord would show him where the treasure was," Mrs. Barnes said.
"I had a feeling that God was telling me to look again, and look real hard this time," Barnes said. "I saw two strips of black tape in the shape of a cross on the back of the sign with a folded up paper in the center. I thought it was probably instructions to some electrical outlet or something but tore it off anyway. I thought I was going to faint when I saw it was the winning treasure hunt notice saying, 'Congratulations you have found the Clear Channel Christmas Treasure.'"
Barnes called his wife, who works at Gipson Well Company in Monette, to tell her the good news. At first she thought he was just kidding her, but soon realized he indeed had found it.
"I just had to tell everyone," Barnes said. "I called my brother Joey Barnes in Leachville on my way to claim my prize. I went to Parker Road and was declared the winner. I just knew this was an answer to a prayer.
"We are so thankful for our good fortune. Needless to say, we are going to have a wonderful Christmas season. We have thanked the sponsors for the nice gifts and thanked God for his special blessings to our family this Christmas."
Prizes included a high definition television, medical and boutique supplies, a year of food at three restaurants, sunglasses, grandfather clock, farm equipment, generator, recliner, Nascar race-on driving experience, gasoline for a year, three night vacation to Las Vegas, airfare from Memphis, and numerous gift certificates.
"We are having a wonderful time with this," Barnes said. "Cindy and I have used gift certificates to buy us new winter coats, already. It just goes to show how quickly your life can be filled with good things when you least expect it. We give God the credit for leading us to the treasure, and are thankful to the people who sponsored the gifts.
"Every day when I go passed the sign, I just smile. I will never feel the same about that sign again, now it is very special to me."
Barnes and his family attend the Monette Assembly of God Church and have been sharing their experience with their church family and friends.