Robin Roberts: Spirit of a Winner in a World Trying to Feel Better, Wanting to Laugh



I was stunned with an“eye-rubbing response” to the oddest of scenes. It was orchestrated by my Uncle Mort at the domino table in the thicket’s corner store.

I figured my visit there coincided with his. I’m no Sherlock, since the first clue was his parked golf cart, its muffler long since cool and starting to frost over.

Inside were four old men – their average age nearing deceased – each wearing surgical masks and all banging elbows against the table. “Unshuffled” dominoes were idle.


   Three shoppers chose other aisles. Going straight to the table, I learned what was going on from my Uncle Mort, who’ll celebrate birthday number 101 on July 4. His cohorts provided supportive “uh-huhs” on cue.

The masks, of course, were to fend off flu germs. The “elbow-banging” wasn’t so easily explained.

“We left here yesterday a mournful bunch,” Mort said, “determined to find something to laugh about today. None of us could think of anything, and I mentioned that it would be fun to laugh again, if only from hitting our funny bone. None of us could remember the last time this happened, so we decided to see who could bang his funny bone first. You caught us at ‘mid-bang.’”


   Not being the kind of doctor who can do folks any good, I explained that it’s not a “funny bone” at all, rather a “funny nerve,” and that the sensation shooting down the arm to the little finger usually ebbs by mid-life. (I think Nixon was president the last time I banged mine.)

Soon, though, I shifted gears.

“If you want something to smile about,” I said, “Leave your funny bones alone – hit ‘em and it hurts – you’ll laugh to keep from crying. Instead, get a dose of good medicine from Robin Roberts. Her announcement on Good Morning, America today made a nation smile.”


   Out of commission battling cancer for a half-year, she made her first TV appearance since August on the January 14th telecast.

I can’t imagine any viewer not being inspired by her few dozen sentences. Tossing “political correctness” aside, she sported her coast-to-coast smile that won hearts. Her scalp shined, too, devoid of hair and totally uncovered. It was her smile that held our attention.

Early on, she THANKED GOD for her cancer-free status. She offered thanks to viewers for their PRAYERS. Robin EXPRESSED OPTIMISM about starting the road back to her GMA anchor chair. Her faith and gratitude, scattershot toward many, was evident.

Can she say that on TV? Many people probably wondered.


   What a great “can do” spirit. Her scheduled return to TV next month will bring many smiles. Mort and his buddies decided they’d give their elbows a break (pun intended).

They figure if Robin Roberts can hold her head up high, so can they.

The old domino players were cheered by her reference to late cancer victim Coach Jimmy Valvano. “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up. This, too, shall pass.”


   One of the players –  on Medicare the shortest time–heightened the moment’s positive turn with a shocking announcement – he said “I do” for the first time on Christmas Day! He grew solemn, though, when he revealed his wife’s pronouncements on New Year’s Day.

“I’ve got some new year resolutions for you,” she warned. “You didn’t tell me you were hooked on fishing, and I’m sick of the time you’re spending making flies. And I never saw a guy wasting so much time packing his own shotgun shells. There are pellets everywhere, and I nearly slid down on ‘em yesterday. Your pick-up truck is a disgrace. You’ll wash it weekly and wax it quarterly.”

“You sound a lot like my ex-wife,” the old-timer interrupted.  “You never told me you’d ever been married,” she whined. “I haven’t,” he answered.


Everyone laughed as the session broke up. The sun had begun its surrender to darkness.

   “Maud will tell you that I wrote the constitution for our marriage four score years ago,” he bragged. “But I’ve accepted all of her amendments.”

He said she’d caught a ride with a friend to catch some mall sales, and that he needed to arrive at home before she did. “I’ve got to make some vacuum cleaner tracks,” he cackled.

   Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Speaking inquiries/comments to: Phone: 817-447-3872. Twitter: @donnewbury. Web site: 

Humorist Don Newbury is author of ref=sib_dp_kd-4When the Porch Light’s on. Click the book cover to read more about the book on Amazon.



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