About ten years ago I was honored to be asked to participate in a book on aging by Willard Scott.
This is my contribution to the book “The Older the Fiddle, the Better the Tune” by Willard Scott
and friends. It is a book well worth reading by anyone approaching their senior years. Among
some of the other contributors were Dr. Joyce, Brothers, George H. W. Bush, Hugh Downs, Bill
Cosby and Art Linkletter to name just a few.
Don’t Sit With Your Back to the Door
We thought a long time about how to explain the philosophy of life as it pertains to Aubrey and
Ann Roberts and what has made us what we are today. And I suppose this is the best explanation I can come up with.
Face life straight on. Good or bad. You are going to have to face it, and if you see it coming in
the door and it doesn’t slip up from behind, you have a better chance of dealing with it. And deal
with it you will. You may not like it, but it is there. Whether it be good times or bad times, it is
there for you to face.
As senior citizens, we have seen about all there is to see of life. We were never the kind of
people to sit in a corner and crochet, if you will. Aubrey is a musician and bandleader and also
held a regular job to support a wife and four children. I worked for a railroad for many years
until retirement. And we are both still able to do the things we enjoy. He is still playing his
music and I am involved with my art, only I do it digitally now instead of with watercolor and
Aubrey was the oldest of six children. When he was eight years old, his father was killed in an
accident, leaving his mother with no income or help of any kind. He assumed the role of helper
and through this he came to music. He found when he was fourteen he could make fifteen
dollars a night playing fiddle at country dances. The most he could make plowing for someone
was a dollar a day. So he came to music, which is his one love.
I was an only child, without even a first cousin. When I finished high school at sixteen, I got a
job. Back then, a girl either got married or got a job. There was no money for higher education,
but I managed to get a fair education through correspondence schools and night schools.
We have seen loved ones die and leave us. We are the oldest survivors of either of our families.
We lost our parents, siblings, some children and grandchildren and friends. How it hurt to lose
people we loved. We felt the loss, but still we wouldn’t sit with our backs to the door.
In 1969, I was involved in an automobile accident. A drunk diver hit us from behind. My father
was killed, and I suffered a broken back and still wear a brace, but we faced it and went on from
there. It is painful, but I have not allowed it to take priority in my life, and have learned to cope
with it without the use of drugs.
The worst time was when Aubrey had to have brain surgery in 1996 and the struggle back to a
normal life. We faced it and were up to the challenge. There is very little that he is limited in his
ability to do. He cannot lift over twenty pounds, but who wants to pick up sacks of cement
anyway! We started putting even more effort into the music and are now the best-known
Western Swing dance band in the vicinity.
We also do a lot of charity work for the disabled and elderly. And through this connection,
Aubrey was nominated for the “hero of the year” award in 2001. We proudly display the
certificate in our studio.
In our many years on earth, there have been many challenges and triumphs and never once did we shirk or shun them. And we feel it was simply because we weren’t sitting with out backs to the door.