Your love is music to my earsJan 28, 2020 01:31PM ● By Carole Ann McKelvey
Joe Aragon jams on the guitar
Montrose musicians sing their way into their wives’ hearts
Falling in love all over again? Two long-married Montrose couples don’t feel there are any secrets to remaining in love.
Despite his burgeoning career as a musician, Joe Aragon decided years ago that being with his wife, Annie, and his family was the most important thing in his life.
“I was given the opportunity to sign a six-month contract to go on a USO Tour to Greenland (playing Texas Swing—his specialty) but it would be too hard to be gone that long,” said Joe, now 82.
It wasn’t the only chance he had to go on to the “big time” in music, but Joe decided he wanted to stay close to the girl he fell in love with at the Delta movie theatre so many years ago.
“There are different kinds of richness,” he said. “Sometimes all that glitter just ain’t gold.”
LOVE AT THE MOVIES
Joe and Annie met when they were teenagers. Both their parents were farmers, so they only knew each other in passing.
Joe said he got to talking to Annie’s brother-in-law and asked about the pretty girl with the long “dish-water blonde” hair.
Then, fate took a hand and Joe spotted Annie sitting in front of him at the local theatre. He said he was flirting with her and she slapped his hand away.
“But when I asked her to come sit next to me, her girlfriend whispered something to her and then she came and sat. That was it,” he said.
They dated for five years before getting married. Now, 61 years, four kids and five grandchildren later, Annie and Joe are still as romantic as ever.
“I’m lucky I met her. She’s precious and probably the reason I’m still here,” said Joe. “We’ve had our rough spots, like everyone else. You just have to use a little commonsense and step back.”
He and Annie have lived in Montrose for the past 59 years. During that time, Joe has worked many different jobs while playing the guitar in pick-up bands on the side.
“When I was a little kid, they couldn’t keep me away from the instrument with a baseball bat,” he said.
“You know, he’s self-taught,” Annie, 81, added, beaming with pride.
Joe played every Saturday night for four years at the Wagon Wheel dance house before it closed down. He’s been in many little bands, like the Larry Flowers Band, and played at the Elks Club and Pea Green.
Now he plays on a fancy new electric guitar given to him by his daughter.
These days, you’ll find Annie and Joe at the Cowboy Jam every Friday night at the Circle 3 Cowboy Church on LaSalle Road in Montrose. This informal group of local musicians gets together to play mostly cowboy music but sometimes venture into other genres. It’s where Annie and Joe celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary.
It’s also where they met fellow Montrose musician Bob and his wife Shirley Jentsch.
Bob, 77, has been playing the accordion since he was 8 years old.
He was a teenager when his family moved into the house across the street from 10-year-old Shirley. They got to know each other at neighborhood picnics, where he’d play his accordion with other musicians on a flat-bed truck.
“He was so good. They would haul the flat-bed around the blocks and he’d play,” Shirley, 71, recalled.
Bob and Shirley were just friends until he joined the Marines and did a three-year tour during the Cuban missile crisis. Then he came back home a 22-year-old veteran. They were married in 1967.
The Jentsches split their time between their Montrose home and a cabin in the mountains near Lake City. They’re avid supporters of the Montrose Library, and Shirley volunteers with the Friends of the Library as a researcher and book evaluator.
When asked what’s kept them together all this time, Shirley remarked, “I guess it’s my good cooking—that’s my saving grace.”
Bob added, “I learned how to say ‘Yes, ma’am a long time ago.”
Listen to Aragon and Jentsch’s sweet music at Circle 3 Cowboy Church, 62885 LaSalle Road in Montrose, Fridays at 6:30 p.m.