When Adolph Provazek asks Martha Huff to polka-dance, she always says yes.
It's a bond that they've shared for the past 10 years, the common theme in a love story between Provazek, 93, and Huff, 83.
By most accounts, Huff and Provazek are one of the oldest couples stepping out at dance halls in North Texas.
"I've never seen anyone older than us," Provazek said with a smile one recent morning at his Dallas home.
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"We're out there because we love to dance," said Huff, who lives in Arlington.
The couple, whose parents were born in Czechoslovakia, represent one of the most dramatic trends in the United States: older residents living longer and enjoying greater prosperity, according to a 2010 nationwide report on the condition of older adults.
The U.S. Census Bureau projects that the population age 85 and over could grow from 5.7 million in 2008 to 19 million in 2050. The aging of baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, will accelerate the growth, according to the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics.
To Huff and Provazek, statistics don't mean much; they just love each other's company.
A native of Granger, northeast of Austin, Huff and her husband, John, had four children and were married for 51 years before he died in 1997. She retired as an assembly worker.
Provazek was born in Buckholts, near Temple. He was a farmer and worked on oil field engines and equipment, and retired from E Systems. He and his wife, Ella Mae, had a daughter. They were married for 54 years before she died in 2001.
The Huffs and Provazeks knew one another from Czech dances throughout North Texas. The Provazeks even attended the 50th wedding anniversary of the Huffs in Arlington.
That was the only social contact between the couples, though.
After their spouses died, Huff and Provazek accidentally met at an Ennis dance hall in summer 2001.
"She was at a table and I knew she could dance," Provazek said. "I asked her and she said yes. We danced three sets."
Near the end of the dance, Provazek made his second move.
"He asked me if I wanted to go out and eat something with him," Huff said. "Of course, I said yes."
They haven't stopped seeing each other.
They go dancing at least once a month, but the couple had to stop for a few weeks when Huff had knee-replacement surgery more than two months ago. They returned to the dance floor in July in West, just north of Waco.
The couple will drive to Waco, Ennis, Fort Worth, Dallas or anywhere else just to swing around a dance floor. In 2005, they were the King and Queen of the Polk of A (Polka of America), Dallas chapter.
But these two do more than dance.
Huff tends her garden at her Arlington home, embroiders, makes quilts, and cans vegetables and fruits.
Her beau's garden is a mix of tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, green beans and squash. Provazek plays the accordion and is a gadget whiz, making windmills, paper towel holders, wind chimes and a tree swing.
"They really put us to shame. ... When we start complaining about aches and pains, we just shake our heads because the secret is to keep going and staying active like they do," said Cindy Huff of Keller, Huff's daughter-in-law.
Provazek's daughter agreed.
"It's a blessing," said Pat Brown of Dallas. "It's a joy to see them together. They have been just so good for each other."
Huff and Provazek don't believe they'll be walking down the aisle.
"If by chance I get mad at him, I want to be able to leave and have a home of my own that I could go to in a hurry," Huff said with a laugh.
But Provazek knows he's found a winner. "I couldn't ask for a better girlfriend," he said.
"There better not be others," she said with a smile. "And I couldn't have found a better man."
Domingo Ramirez Jr.,