At 100 years old, Lloyd Johnson is still making music.
Once a month, he and his wife Maxine, 93, perform golden oldies, country and western tunes and gospel songs mostly for neighbors in their apartment complex.
"I'm really amazed that I can pick up a fiddle and play it with any degree of musicianship at my age," Johnson said. "I play the fiddle; she plays the piano and sings. And I sing with her sometimes."
When Johnson celebrated his birthday on Wednesday, he joined a rather select club. He's one of only 170 men in Minnesota who are 100 or older, according to the state demographer's office. Just over 1,000 women have attained the century mark.
Making a surprise appearance at Johnson's birthday party was one of his musical idols, Minneapolis mandolin and fiddle player Peter Ostroushko.
Johnson and his wife are stretching out the party through the weekend to accommodate visiting family members.
When they retired to Florida nearly 40 years ago, they performed for audiences on the nursing home circuit.
They moved back to Minnesota a few years ago to be closer to family members.
These days, pretty much every day is a celebration for the Johnsons, who married 71 years ago. They also are happy to demonstrate for visitors the difference between dancing a regular polka and a hop polka.
Both are music lovers and performers. Indeed, performing appears to be a key to their longevity.
The Johnsons have had to pull back from the church choir because they no longer drive but they happily entertain visitors and regale stories from the '30s when Lloyd Johnson and his Rhythm Kings played at dances.
"Yeah, I had a seven-piece band for a few years, dance band," he recalled.
"They made about three dollars a night," his wife said.
"If we were lucky," Johnson said.
As a youngster, Johnson learned to play several instruments and took a few violin lessons. But he didn't play the violin again for 40 years.
"I couldn't play the violin," he said. "I was working too hard."
Retired turkey farmers, the Johnsons raised thousands of turkeys over more than three decades on a farm near Harris, north of the Twin Cities.
They have lots of turkey stories, but the memorable one is from the Armistice Day blizzard in November 1940.
That's the one that caught everyone off guard, as a balmy late fall day turned into a killer snowstorm with 10- and 20-foot-high drifts and plunging temperatures. Thousands of their turkeys perished, but hundreds survived. Lloyd Johnson said they dug out the live birds for a week after the storm.
"They could eat snow, so they had moisture," he said.
"And there was air around their head from their breathing, so they weren't suffocating," Maxine Johnson said.
Johnson carries another winter memory, this one from 1944 -- his worst Christmas ever.
During World War II, he served in the Army on an artillery survey crew near the front lines in Europe. The Battle of the Bulge was about to occur during one of Europe's worst winters ever.
"We went for weeks and weeks without any chance to take a bath," Johnson recalled. "We had kind of a hole in the ground we could crawl into and try to get some rest. . . but it was really cold."
Today, both are still trim and fit.
They are patient with all of the usual questions asked of people who live a long time. Yes, they exercise, or at least Lloyd does: No, they don't really watch their diet: No, Maxine doesn't imbibe, but, yes, Lloyd has a glass of wine now and then.
"Oh, yeah, and I might take a little nip of something else too, but you know just occasionally," he said.
Now that he's part of a special club of centenarians, Johnson is content with his wife and their shared love.
More than anything, music appears to be a key ingredient to their enjoyment of life.
"It gives me a lift," Johnson said.