Well, if I had known my 60th Opry anniversary was going to be so much fun, I would have scheduled it earlier in my career!!
Seriously, the whole weekend was surreal beyond belief, and I thank you so much for being here, for watching and listening, and for your countless cards, letters, and notes of congratulation. I wish I could respond to every one of you personally, but I simply cannot. Just know that every single message was read and deeply appreciated.
If you’d like to see the pictures and read a first-person account of the evening’s activities, we have a slideshow available. Just click the link https://wp.me/p36e3n-2zA or visit the Journal area and enjoy.
There are so many people I want and need to thank that I hardly know where to begin. Dan Rogers and Gina Keltner from the Opry were fantastic in planning everything and following through with a wonderful presentation on stage.The beautiful engraved watch (I thought they only gave watches to people who are retiring….reckon they’re trying to tell me something?) and the incredible private reception backstage afterward were simply amazing.
At the reception, I was given proclamations from both the City of Nashville and the State of Tennessee declaring July 17th as Bill Anderson Day. There were wall-to-wall flowers, a cake decorated like the Hatch Show Print poster that was on sale that night, and 500 specially engraved guitar picks courtesy of my friend, Jeannie Seely. One side of the picks is a drawing of me by artist, David Anderson, and the other side is dedicated to “Bill Anderson – Opry Whisperer – 60-Years (So Far). Thanks, Seely. You are truly one-of-a-kind!
All three of my children were at the show and the reception, along with six of my eight grandchildren. Add it all together and know that it was one of the most special nights of my life. I fell into bed about two o’clock Sunday morning…exhausted but feeling very, very loved.
I had done so many interviews leading up to the celebration that I was getting a little hoarse prior to going on stage. On Thursday night, I had joined with many of my country music friends in honoring our buddy, Keith Bilbrey, on a TV special geared toward raising funds for him and his wife, Emmy Joe, following their devastating house fire a few weeks earlier. On Friday, I taped a guest appearance on Larry’s Country Diner which will air in late September and early October. All week long it seemed someone was sticking a microphone and/or a camera in my face. It was a non-stop frenzy for sure.
The following Monday I was back in the recording studio beginning the mixing process on my new songs. I can’t tell you a lot right now, but I will share this with you: One of the songs I plan to release is a duet with Dolly Parton…and another features performances by Jimmy Fortune and Bobby Bare. I am somewhere ‘way beyond excited!
On the family front, my grandson Gabe, who will mark his 17th birthday August 6th, is back home from his fourth trip to the hospital since his bone marrow transplant in May. He has been battling pneumonia and high blood pressure. Your prayers continue to be vital and most appreciated. Gabe’s older brother, Blake, leaves for college this month while sisters Hallie and Sophie have begun middle school cheerleading practice. My oldest granddaughter, Rae, gets married on August 28th, and sometime this month I’m going to sneak away to the beach and work on my tan. I might just “accidentally” forget to take my phone and my laptop!!
Enjoy the month wherever you are and whatever you are doing. Thanks for everything, and we’ll see you back here in September.