“We were all smiles on Easter…even the Easter bunny…shown here with me, Gabe, and Jamey. Can you believe how tall my grandson, Blake, is now? He’s 6’5″ and still growing. It was so much fun sharing the day with him, Gabe, Hallie, and Sophie. And going back across the years, can you pick me out of the crowd gathered for my third birthday party? This picture was found stuck face down to the bottom of an old dresser drawer by my granddaughter, Rae, and I recently had it restored. My mom had written the names of each child across the back…what a treasure!”
Seeing this picture of me relaxing in my dressing room at the Opry makes me want to go back “home” more than ever. Fortunately, I’m scheduled there three times this month…February 3rd, 17th, and 24th.
There’s no stage like the Opry stage, and I’ve been lucky enough to stand on it for over 62-years now. This must have been a summertime performance judging from the outfit I have on.
Memories are a big part of the Opry, and I have so many great ones. This was a fun night laughing with fellow members Johnny Russell and the incomparable Dottie West. Just guessing, but I’d say this was probably from somewhere in the 70’s. I love a good trip down Memory Lane.
Our first picture this month shows me the morning I visited Coffee, Country, & Cody on WSM Radio back in November when my recording of “The Country I Grew Up With” was first released. I wasn’t smiling when someone snapped this picture, but I was grinning ear to ear a few minutes later when Bill Cody announced my song as his show’s Pick Hit Of The Week! Bill has been a special friend for a lot of years, and I’ll always appreciate his many kindnesses to me! The second picture was taken on the Grand Ole Opry stage in early December when my friend and Atlanta Braves manager, Brian Snitker, and his wife, Ronnie, visited our show for the first time. I wasn’t able to perform that night, but I couldn’t miss the opportunity to show Snit and Ronnie around. Buddy Cannon and his wife, Billie, joined us as well. And in keeping with the New Year spirit of “should old acquaintance be forgot”, someone sent me this old picture of me and Roy Acuff, taken back in the sixties. This was long before Mr. Roy and I really got to know each other by way of our recording of “I Wonder If God Likes Country Music.” The suit I’m wearing was the first rhinestone suit I ever owned, and was among those included in my recent exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Our first picture this month shows you what it can look like backstage when I arrive for a night at the Grand Ole Opry. It’s always fun to see the smiling faces, some of which I recognize and others which I don’t. I always try to make a few new friends with each appearance, though, and hopefully I succeed more often than I fail. In the second photo, I think I succeeded in making my granddaughter, Hallie, happy by taking her with me to the recent CMA Awards. She loves country music more than any of my other grandkids, and we had another great night of making some lasting memories together. In the last photo, I’m relaxing in my Opry dressing room…..the room called, “It All Begins With A Song.” This room is dedicated to the Opry members who are/were also songwriters, and as you can see, my picture hangs between Dolly and Hank. I’d say I’m in some pretty special company!