“If you watch Larry’s Country Diner on TV, I’m sure you recognize the man with me in the first picture. He’s Gus Arrendale, president of Springer Mountain Farms chicken, and one of the best friends country music ever had. Gus has done so many wonderful things for so many of us that we decided to show up on his birthday and surprise him with a luncheon and a special CD we made in his honor. Gus is a big Georgia football fan, so I wore my Bulldog mask especially for him. The next picture was taken a few years ago on the night baseball Hall of Fame pitcher, Don Sutton, came to the Grand Ole Opry as my guest. We talked country music and baseball into the late night hours. Sadly, Don passed away last month at the age of 75. I ran across the final picture recently and was reminded of the day many years ago when Ray Price and I shared the stage at the Georgia Jubilee in East Point, Georgia. The audience got a double-dose of rhinestone suits and “City Lights” that day as we both sang our hit song.”
“My grandson, Blake, and I were all smiles after his team’s victory in the regional high school basketball tournament recently. He sure makes me look short, doesn’t he? Of course, a lot of his height comes from his hair which his mother keeps begging him to cut. Like many athletes, though, Blake is superstitious, and he said that as long as his team was winning and he was playing well, he wasn’t going to cut his hair. You can really see how long it’s grown in the middle picture where he’s fighting to keep the ball out of his opponents’ hands. In the last picture, Lance Miller, Bobby Tomberlin, and I looked like we’re out to rob a bank, but we’re just masked-up and hanging out at a songwriting session. It had been a year since the three of us had written together, and it sure was fun. Hopefully, you’ll hear the song we created one of these days. Lance and Bobby are two of my favorite people to write and spend time with.”
You can’t see the smile behind my mask, but believe me there was a big ol’ grin on my face when my grandkids presented me with the picture I’m holding a few days before Christmas. It was the first time they had all gotten together for a picture in eight years, and it’s a great shot of all eight of them. I treasure it. And I treasure the memories of Jan Howard and Charley Pride, both of whom we lost last year. This picture of the three of us was taken backstage at the Opry in 2012. The bottom picture shows the bass player in our Po’ Folks Band, James Freeze, modeling his “Good Day To Have A Good Day” t-shirt. If you haven’t added one of our “Good Day” items to your collection, I invite you to check them all out in the SHOP section of our website. Thanks…and have a “good day!”
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.