Grand Ole Honor - Soapbox Rewind
*NOTE* In honor of the Sixteenth Anniversary of Charlie's Grand Ole Opry induction, here's a Soapbox Rewind from 2008, just before he was inducted, and he shares his feelings on his then-upcoming induction. - TeamCDB
On Friday, January 18th, I will catch a plane from Durango, Colorado, where I'm on vacation, en route to Nashville, Tennessee, which is the last fifteen hundred miles of a journey of several million which started one afternoon in Gulf, North Carolina, circa 1951 when I was visiting a friend, Russell Palmer, and he pulled out an old Stella guitar.
I don't know where he got that old guitar or how long he'd had it but he actually knew about two and a half chords on it and I immediately started pestering him to show them to me.
As a lifelong, dyed-in-the-wool music lover I had always had a desire to learn to play but had never been around anybody long enough who knew how to play for it to rub off on me. And here was my best friend actually playing a G chord, C chord and occasionally after much finger straining a D chord.
I certainly didn't realize it that day but that old Stella guitar with the rusty strings and a neck about the size of half a fence post was going to change my life.
I guess Russell and myself motivated each other because we set about learning to play with a passion and woe be to anybody who happened by who knew a chord we hadn't learned because we got really good at badgering people to teach us.
Well one thing led to another and in a year or so we had a little band that played just about any place somebody would put up with us, we even had a Saturday radio show on a small station in Sanford, NC.
One constant in our lives was listening to and loving the Grand Ole Opry. We even made a couple of trips to Nashville to see it in our later teenaged years.
The Opry was the penultimate goal for anybody who ever fancied themselves a country music performer and everybody who was anybody in the country music business was a part of it.
There was Hank Williams, Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl, Ernest Tubb, Eddie Arnold, Flatt and Scruggs, Bill Monroe and The Bluegrass Boys, the list goes on and on.
In 1956 my dad changed jobs and we moved to Wilmington, NC and I had to say goodbye to Russell and the band we had formed. I took a daytime job and played with whoever would let me set in with them.
To make a long story extremely short I pursued my dream in music and by the goodness of God have been able to have a wonderful career, which has spanned almost fifty years.
I have been blessed with Gold, Platinum and Multiplatinum albums, I have appeared many times on network television, even in moving pictures. I have won multiple awards from The Country Music Association, The Academy of Country Music, The Gospel Music Association and even a Grammy. I have even played on the Grand Ole Opry many times. But I was always on the outside looking in. I was always a guest, never a member.
On Saturday night, January 19, 2008 at approximately 7:45 Central Standard Time my lifelong dream will become a reality. I will become a full-fledged member of the Opry.
It is an honor that I can't begin to articulate, there is no way I can express what it means to me. And to make it special, I will be joined on stage by Russell Palmer the man who taught me my first guitar chords all those years ago.
Ain't God good!!!!!!!!!!
Pray for our troops.
What do you think?
God Bless America
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