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.”
“I was both surprised and honored when I learned that Connie Smith’s recording of my song, ‘Once A Day,’ has been selected for inclusion inside the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress in Washington. Although it’s her recording that is being preserved, they included my name on the plaque as having written the song. I’m in some pretty select company here, and both proud and grateful. I’m grateful, too, for the toughness my grandson, Gabe, has shown in completing his five weeks of radiation therapy prior to his bone marrow transplant coming up in May. They gave him the certificate he is holding here as proof of his “graduation,” and the smile on his face tells you how proud he is of his achievement. In case you haven’t figured it out, Gabe is my hero. Another special person in my life is pictured in the bottom photo, the guitar player in my band since 1981, Les Singer. It’s hard to believe Les has been with me for 40-years, but he has. I love this picture, and wanted to share it with you. Thanks, Lester, for all the miles, the music and the memories.”
“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.”