Would you let these five masked hombres in your front door? Me neither. But that’s the way my band and I looked backstage at the Opry a few weeks ago. L. to R. James Freeze, Ziggy Johnson, some guy named Anderson, Cotton Payne, and our manager, Lee Willard. Our fiddle player, Kenzie Wetz, took the picture. In the second photo, I was guesting via Zoom on October 30th with the gang on “Coffee, Country, and Cody,” the morning show on WSM radio and the Circle TV network. Co-host Megan Alexander was in the Halloween spirit, and Bill Cody was caught in the act of being his usual smiling self. Below, I was welcoming Hal Ketchum to the Opry stage in the early 2000’s. Hal passed away Nov. 23rd at the age of 67.
I got to spend Father’s Day with my oldest daughter, Terri, as we attended outdoor services at the Church By The Lake then dined on a fantastic prime rib buffet indoors. My younger daughter, Jenni, was out of town, but I got a sweet phone call from her later that afternoon. I did get to see my son, Jamey, which made for a perfect Dad’s Day all the way around. Gabe had just gotten home from spending a month in the hospital, and I got to catch up with him before the day was over. I’m not sure he felt like smiling, but he smiled anyhow when his mom pointed the camera in our direction. What a trouper that young man is. The bottom photograph is a beautiful picture of our oldest fan club member, Bertha Thomas, in North Carolina. She was celebrating birthday #104 when this picture was taken. When I reach 104, I hope I look as happy and spry as Bertha does!
Happy Anderson smiles were evident everywhere on Saturday May 15th when my grandson, Blake, received his high school diploma. My son, Jamey, and I were grinning and celebrating with him. Grandson Gabe’s bone marrow transplant was ten days later, and the hospital team treated it as a celebration too, with signs like the one pictured here. And I love the third picture where B. J. Thomas is singing “When Two Worlds Collide” on the Country’s Family Reunion show that honored my 50-years in the music business. A 19-year old Bill Anderson is appearing to look over his shoulder and smile his approval. B. J. was a tremendous talent, and he will be missed by those of us who knew, respected, and loved him.
“The Chick-fil-A restaurant in Hermitage, Tennessee, devoted an entire day to my grandson, Gabe, back on April 10th, outfitting their employees in specially made Team Gabe t-shirts and donating a percentage of their profits that day to the family’s medical expenses. They urged the community to come together in supporting Gabe’s upcoming transplant procedure, a kind and generous gesture by a wonderful company. Many of our longtime fan club members will remember Cathy Cox who worked in my office back in the late sixties and early seventies. Cathy’s mom, Frances Cox, was my fan club president for several years and contributed so much to my early career. I hadn’t seen Cathy (now Cathy Allen) in over 40-years, but she recently flew to Nashville from her home in Colorado to spend a long weekend, and I had the pleasure of meeting her for lunch. Needless to say, we relived a lot of old memories. And speaking of memories, how about this old picture of me and Roy Acuff from back in the sixties? He was one of my musical heroes, but neither of us dreamed when this picture was taken that we would end up recording together a timeless song called, “I Wonder If God Likes Country Music.” Mr. Roy’s legacy will live forever at the Grand Ole Opry.”