My longtime guitar player and band leader, Les Singer, and his wife, Lizzie, celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary on July 15th, and the next day hosted a get together of family and friends in their new hometown of Franklin, Kentucky. We ate some good food and laughed at a lot of old road stories. Next to me in the picture, left to right, are Lizzie, Les, and our former steel guitar player, Mike Johnson. Football season is almost upon us, and my alma mater, the University of Georgia Bulldogs are the defending national champions. Jeannie Seely gave me this picture of Uga, the Georgia mascot, and I’m encouraging him to lead the ‘Dawgs to another championship season. I hope he was listening! The bottom picture was taken the day we filmed our video for “Someday It’ll All Make Sense.” L. to R.: Danny Nozell, Dolly’s manager; Dolly; me; Trey Fanjoy, who produced and directed the video; and my manager, Lee Willard. What a special day it was!
You can see from this first picture that Sara Evans became very emotional when I asked her if she would like to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Sara was headlining her own concert at the Ryman when some of us (me, Lady A, and Carly Pearce) broke in to present her with an award and pop this very special question. Sara will be officially inducted into the Opry family on October 7th. The second picture is that of a young Bev Porter as she appeared in her early days as the keyboard player and background vocalist in my Po’ Folks Band. Many of you met Bev and heard her play both at the Opry and on our tours over the years. As I indicated earlier in my letter, she was an important part of all that I did back in the eighties.The third picture was taken backstage at the Opry where I recently had the chance to catch up with Becky Isaacs Bowman of the singing group, The Isaacs. As you probably know, Becky was seriously injured in a head-on car crash back in December and has had to undergo several surgeries and intensive rehab. Her spirit, her faith, and her attitude have not wavered, though, and it was wonderful to share some moments with her. What a light of positivity and optimism she is.
Something must have really tickled Vince Gill as he and Jeannie Seely presented me with a beautifully framed plaque commemorating my 62nd Opry Anniversary…and noting the fact that I have now been a Grand Ole Opry member longer than anyone in history. Notice that beneath his coat Vince is wearing a Bill Anderson t-shirt! In the second picture, Jamey Johnson and I are backstage preparing to cut (and eat!) the attractive and delicious cake the Opry provided for the occasion. And in the last photo, there’s nothing like sharing a special occasion with family members and friends that you love. I’ve said many times that it doesn’t matter what you have or what you achieve in this ol’ world…what matters is who you have beside you. And it meant so much to have all these special folks beside me (and behind me) on this most incredible night.
I was fortunate in that I got to spend time with all three of my children on Father’s Day. Terri (L), Jenni, and I went to church together and had a great Father’s Day buffet lunch afterward. I had pizza with my son, Jamey, at his house that evening. A few days later, I booked a lunch date with my granddaughter, Sophie, and we went shopping after we ate. She loves to read, and picked out a couple of new books. Our oldest fan club member, Bertha Thomas, celebrated birthday #106 last month over in North Carolina. Congratulations, Bertha, and thanks to your daughter, Rebecca, for sharing this picture with us.