January 23, 2017

Hi Gang:

I haven’t posted anything on our Bill’s Journal page for quite some time, and some of you have begun asking why. It’s simply been a matter of time. By the time I write a fan club newsletter each month, do my Ask Bill column, and try to stay responsive to your personal messages, there’s not a lot of time left over.

I’ll try and remedy that today by sharing with you a few random things that are on my frazzled mind.

Nobody asked me but:

Pete Fisher is leaving the Grand Ole Opry a better place than he found it. Our general manager for the past eighteen years, Pete has decided to accept the CEO position with the Academy of Country Music and relocate himself and his family to California.

Pete took over the Opry at a very difficult time in its history. We were about to move into a new century, music and the way music is distributed was about to change dramatically, and Pete’s charge was to keep the Opry true to its roots while, at the same time, move it into the 21st century.

We laughed together in his office a few days ago when I reminded him of all the times I’d pass him in the hallways backstage and say, “I wouldn’t have your job!” He would always smile and assure me there were days when he wasn’t so sure he wanted it himself.

I didn’t always agree with every decision he made, but Pete always treated me fair. I told him in our meeting that when someone once asked my dad how he wanted to be remembered, my dad replied, “I hope they will say I was fair.” Based on that, I told him I couldn’t pay him a higher compliment than to call him “fair.”

Thanks, Pete. Good luck and Godspeed in your new position.

————-

Now that the contentious election and protest-filled presidential inauguration are behind us, I can only say Bobby Bare was ahead of his time in 1969 when he co-wrote and recorded the prayerful, “God Bless America Again.”  Maybe we all need to take it out and listen to it again.

————

I’ve always been a hometown guy when it comes to rooting for my favorite sports teams. My first choice for the Super Bowl, naturally, would have been the Tennessee Titans, but when they came up a game short of getting into the playoffs, my next choice fell to the Atlanta Falcons. The town where I grew up has only had one championship sports team in all its history, the 1995 Atlanta Braves. To all my friends in New England, I’m sorry, but you’ve had your share. Let us have the Super Bowl this year. Thank you.

——————

From the mailbag:

A letter signed, “From one of your fans…Bob and Carol.”

Which reminds me of another letter I once received in which a man told me, “My favorite country singer is Merle Haggard and George Jones.”

Funny, but I always thought those were two separate people.

Take care, keep smiling, and stay warm….