So last Wednesday when we discovered we were going to be leaving Red Bay four days before I had planned to I sat down to find somewhere else to go on our trip towards Des Moines, Iowa. We had already planned a stop in Memphis, TN, Branson, MO, and Kansas City, MO. With a few extra days we decided to stop in Nashville, TN. I immediately logged onto the Grand Ole Opry website to find out who was playing this week. There are wonderful bands and singers and entertainers at the Opry each Friday, Saturday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights but a few names popped right out. Saturday Keith Urban was to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry including special guests Trace Atkins and Josh Turner. What a line up! I quickly grabbed up tickets for the late shows since the early show sold out within hours of being announced. While I was looking through more shows just to see who else would be on we saw that Charlie Daniels Band will be here on Tuesday. I initially thought we would leave Sunday to head towards Memphis but Bill is a huge CDB fan so we snatched up two tickets for that night and extended our stay.
Last night we got dressed up and took a shuttle to the Opry for our first night. We arrived at 9 pm when the early show was letting out. It was a mob scene as hundreds of people lined up for the next show and hundreds of people were leaving. Finally once the last stragglers were out they began to let us in. We stopped at concessions and picked up some caramel popcorn and a soda in a commemorative cup (I have a thing for commemorative cups) and went to our seat. As we sat down the show had just begun. Jimmy Dickens was on stage preparing to announce the first group. Jimmy Dickens has been with the Opry for over 60 years.
Going to the Opry was very special for me. When I was small my grandfather and I would listen to the Opry on the occasional Saturday night that I stayed over. My grandfather would pull out his popcorn popper (we bought him an air popper and he thought it was the coolest thing). He would also pull out his giant pot and put it on the stove and stirs us up a batch of homemade caramel corn. Sitting in that seat at the Opry munching on caramel corn and listening to Jimmy Dickens is about as close to the most perfect memory potion to take me back to about 7 years old that I have ever found. I could close my eyes and almost feel him sitting there next to me. The only thing missing was Minnie Pearl.
There were so many amazing performers and some great songs. Songs I haven’t heard in so many years. The Rocky Top X-Press singing “Rocky Top” live right there in front of me! Jean Shepard singing “Tired of Playing Second Fiddle to an Old Guitar” after being diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy only a few weeks ago but not letting that get her down.
Jim Ed Brown singing “The Three Bells” a song about little Jimmy Brown growing up in a little town in a little valley. Bom Bom Bom. If you would like to hear this fun little ditty.
The main three musicians we came for were Josh Turner, Trace Atkins, and Keith Urban. They are all great but I have to tell you that hearing the old music that I used to listen to with my grandpa was actually the highlight of my evening. I am so excited we are also going on Tuesday. I just can’t wait to get another bag of caramel corn and go sit next to my grandpa who will be there in his own way.