I had the chance to visit with my grandson, Gabe, on his 18th birthday last month, and you can see here in this picture that we were both all smiles. All he wanted was the latest Lego sets, and as you can tell, he got his wish. He has loved putting together Lego ever since he was a little boy, and he doesn’t show any signs of outgrowing that love whatsoever. All these sets should keep him busy for awhile. In the second picture, I am kneeling on the Opry stage to pose with Joseph Kelley, a longtime fan from Alabama. Joseph had seen me back in 1968 when he was 14-years old, and we’d had a picture taken together. Unfortunately, that picture was destroyed in the film developing process, and this was the first time he had seen me since. I decided we needed to replace his picture, so I paused the Opry show to pose and visit with him. It was a special moment for us both. And speaking of special moments, it’s always special when I get to be alongside two of my best buddies, Buddy Cannon (left) and Bobby Tomberlin. This black and white picture was taken following our recent songwriter’s round at the Bluebird Cafe. It had been a fun night with a packed house and lots of music and tall tales. One or two of the stories were even true!
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.