July 30, 2014 Hi Gang: While I’m waiting for time to sit down and write you a very moving story about something that happened on our recent cruise to Alaska, I thought you might get a chuckle out of a letter I received from a longtime fan of mine today:Dear Bill: I have been a fan of yours since the 1960’s and have seen you many times in Cedar Rapids. I love your music and I am now enjoying watching you on RFD. Just wanted to tell you that my cat Tiger loves your singing. I had another cat that liked the Bee Gees and Tiger decided that he liked your music one day when I was playing some of your songs. The other cat died recently and now Tiger wants to hear your songs everyday. Whenever I say “Bill Anderson” he runs to where my laptop is and waits for me to put on one of your songs. I also have several of your CD’s. He listens and if I put on another singer he walks away! He only wants to hear you sing. Now that’s what I call one cool cat! I just wish I had recorded “Tiger By The Tail”….wonder how he or she would like that?? Keep smiling….
I never got the chance to know Toby as well as I would have liked to, but I always enjoyed his company and certainly admired his talent. I wish I could have written a song or two with him…he was a great writer as well as a performer. This picture was taken in the hallway backstage at the Grand Ole Opry when he made one of his rare appearances there. He gave us a lot of good music and left us with a lot of good memories. May he rest in peace.
I hope if it’s as chilly where you are today as it is in Whisperville that you’re taking all the precautions you can to stay warm and safe.
We’ve got at least 5-inches of beautiful white snow all over the trees, the rooftops, and the ground, and it’s so quiet you can almost hear the flakes continuing to fall. But when you live at the bottom of a hill in both directions, there’s not much you can do but sit by the fire and stare…and hope a snow plow finds it way to your neighborhood before Spring!
I’m doing fine, though, and appreciate all your messages of concern. As long as the power stays on and the food holds out I’ll be all right.
Love to all…..
I guess the sports fans among you know without my telling you that tonight is the night they will be playing the 93rd Major League All-Star baseball game out in Seattle. For those of you who do not keep tabs on these kinds of things, now you know.
Why do I bring it up? Because exactly 62 years ago today….Tuesday July 11, 1961….I was sitting in my living room watching a black and white telecast of the Major League All-Star baseball game from San Francisco when I received a telephone call that changed my life.
And I almost didn’t get up to answer the phone. Who would dare to call and interrupt me in the middle of such a momentous event anyhow?
After about the third ring, I got up, shuffled into the den, and picked up the receiver. I’m sure my greeting sounded a bit less than cheerful. “HELLO?” I probably growled.
“Bill, this is Ott Devine,” came the instantly recognizable voice on the other end of the line. I had heard those dulcet tones for years on WSM radio and in his role as general manager of the Grand Ole Opry. He didn’t waste any time on pleasantries. “I’m calling to ask if you’d like to become a member of the Opry.”
Suddenly, the ball game was not nearly so significant. I’m not sure I even watched another pitch. I was too busy calling friends and family to share the news. I was made the 48th member of the Opry cast four days later.
Fast forward to July 22nd of this year when I will celebrate becoming the longest-tenured member of the Opry in its nearly 100-year history. Sixty-two years that have literally flown by. Songs, music, friendships, mistakes, applause, joy and sadness…they’ve all been a part of this 62-year roller coaster ride. What an amazing time it’s been.
Thanks to each of you…whether you’ve been on the journey with me the entire time or only recently climbed aboard the train. It’s been an honor to share the miles, the music, and the memories with you. I’m looking forward to a whole bunch more.
And, oh yes, in case you’re wondering, the National League won the ball game 5-4. With eight Atlanta Braves on this year’s team, here’s hoping they do it again!