I love this old picture from the 90’s taken on the set of my Opry Backstage television show. Left to right there’s Carl Smith, Waylon Jennings, Bobby Bare, Little Jimmy Dickens, and me holding Jimmy’s famous Raggedy Ann doll. Obviously, somebody had just said something very funny, and if I had to guess I’d say it was related to Jimmy and the doll. Below, Jeannie Seely and I are cracking up, too, onstage in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, last month. Jeannie had her own star installed in the Nashville Walkway of Stars in August, but decided to spend a little time relaxing on mine while she was downtown recently. I plan to take a nap on hers someday soon.
I asked the folks at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum if they had any advance pictures or promotional items from our upcoming exhibit that we might share with you this month, and they sent me this “teaser” picture. I don’t remember ever being this young, and I don’t wear clothes like this anymore, but I guess the picture proves that I once was and I once did. My exhibit will probably be full of scenes from my early life that I’ll be unable to outrun! In the second picture, I’m enjoying time with one of my favorite people, Jimmy Fortune. I had just recorded a guest appearance on Jimmy’s TV show, and a few days after this picture was taken, Jimmy came by the studio and sang on my new record. You’ll be able to hear the results of that session sometime after the first of the year. The third picture is a poster from 1969 advertising a show in Syracuse, New York, featuring me and some of my best friends and fellow artists from those days. Note the ticket prices. You couldn’t park your car at a show that cheaply today! I not only remember the shows on that tour, but the other artists riding with us and the all-night poker games in the front of my bus. I slept through it all, of course, but I remember hearing some wild tales that I’m sworn not to tell.
“My grandson, Gabe, turned 17-years old on August 6th, and the family celebrated with dinner and presents at his house. You can never go wrong giving Gabe a set of Lego, because he loves to put the pieces together. He wants to be an architect someday, and I guess this is good practice. He must have gotten at least a half-dozen Lego sets for his birthday, and as you can see, he was all smiles. In the second picture, my oldest granddaughter, Rae, is also smiling big after just exchanging vows with her new husband, Zach Kunde. It was an incredible wedding with lots of laughter and a few happy tears. The newlyweds plan an October honeymoon. In the bottom picture, I’m not only enjoying the water and the sunshine at the beach, but getting ready for the college football season by wearing my bright red Georgia Bulldogs shirt. I had a great vacation, but like all vacations it was far too short. Go Dawgs!”
“I was honored to be asked to take part in the fund-raising tribute last month for my longtime friends Emmy Joe and Keith Bilbrey following the devastating fire that recently destroyed their home. I had a chance to visit with them prior to the show along with my friend, Sharyl Melvin.The Bilbreys plan to rebuild, and I hope our efforts on their behalf will make things a little bit easier. In the second picture, my buddy Dallas Wayne, the afternoon host on Sirius/XM’s Willie’s Roadhouse, drove down from his new home in Bristol to help me celebrate my 60th Anniversary at the Opry. Anytime Dallas is in the house the room lights up and the laughter abounds. I sure appreciated him and his wife, Jo, taking the time to come join with us. It was back to work on Monday, though, as Bobby Bare came to the recording studio to put his unmistakable voice on a song for my upcoming album. Our dear friend and soon-to-be newest Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member, Buddy Cannon, came by as well. We couldn’t resist posing for a picture together.”