I once told Lee Greenwood, the day after he first won Male Vocalist of the year… I might add, and that I did not wish for him to sign the first page of my autograph book because I was saving it for Charlie Pride. Barrelassin’ Momma was embarrassed, just as I would imagine I would probably be if I were my own child. Lee took it like a man. He simply turned the page to the second page and admitted that he didn’t really blame me.
I was also eleven years old walking around Fan Fair, now known as the CMA Festival, much, much larger than it used to be, with a Michael Jackson “Beat It” hat on my head and the only people who appeared to care were the ones with me because it had nothing to do with Country Music. I think they were embarrassed but that all ended right after they told me I would never get anywhere near Charlie Pride and I showed them that being a child, I had things much easier than they had it. For instance…I walked through the mob of people trying to get to Charlie and not one person said a word. Nor did they say anything to my mother trying to catch me. Charlie not only signed my book, ON THE FIRST PAGE RESERVED FOR HIM…but he signed a poster for me, posed for a photo, rolled up the signed poster and hit me on top of the head and informed me that he, too, liked Michael Jackson.
If I hadn’t humiliated my mother enough during that week, as luck would have it I had signed up for The Osmond Brothers’ fan club the year before. And for that entire year I received fan letters from them. Not special fan letters but- the same letters typed out and mailed to everyone else on the list.
So when we just so happened to be in the same place as they were while being lead into the building and escorted to their booth as we were on out way out, I literally grabbed and swung on one of their arms as they walked to the booth, shouting all the way, “Hey! Don’t you know me? I’m Mickey!! You write to me all the time!!He didn’t dare let me down…literally. He walked and let me swing and so politely informed me…”I sure know you now, Mickey.”
This was the same year that I met Loretta Lynn, Dottie West and the dang Dukes of Hazzard! All of those fine folks from Hee Haw and so many more of the greats. The one person I didn’t meet that year…and it broke my little heart because I thought since he had a booth there, I was supposed to be able to meet him, was Johnny Cash. And I had my June Carter Cash impersonation down and ready! I was so upset that he wasn’t there to greet me like I thought the book said he would be, and so I bought the most gigantic pair of Johnny Cash socks you ever did see. I even wore them around with my “Beat It” hat. They were white and came up over my knees with a black ink printed autograph. Naturally, I thought he must have signed them before I arrived. (I did later get to meet their son and that was the next best thing.) But I also had an argument that Keith Whitley’s name was pronounced like “Whitely” as in the color?? I told that silly lady who clearly knew nothing, that he told me as we spoke and he signed my poster, the one I later thought was silly and threw away, that his name was pronounced like the color. I don’t know where I got that, and I have no idea why that poster hang there for so long with his signature and one day I decided to replace it with a million rock n roll posters. Other than I was clearly out of my head because at this current say in time- I would give almost anything to have it back!! It wasn’t until I was 14 years old that I fell madly in love with Keith Whitley and hated myself for that. But I also fell in love with Ronnie Milsap again and… I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Don’t even get me started on the Bellamy Brothers. Heaven help us all!
Enjoy, Barrelassers 🙂