She loved spending time with family, friends and her animals. She even learned to enjoy fishing. I was going to stop halfway and spend the night but all the motels were full, so after several glasses of caffeinated iced tea I decided to just drive on in. It was an honor just to be in their presence. The Dance Party will go until 6:
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Ron has been after me to write a new Home Page for the website. People keep asking me about my golf game. After the surgery the doctor said it would take a year. My clubs seem to weigh a ton. Don Ellis, a great writer and artist, always hosts a tournament in April to benefit Special Olympics, and again I was invited.
Needless to say we each took some home. And, as always, on the concert he was great. I love going there. The people there are genuine. I was very honored to be asked to perform at the R. E show during what we used to call Fan Fair.
I still call it that. Marty Martel wrote an article about the show and I appreciate the complimentary things he had to say. Hall and Ralph Emery were the emcees. If I see him perform a thousand times he never ceases to make me laugh. Or cry when he does Raggedy Ann. I was honored to share the stage with each and all of these artists. Graham Brown and Bill Anderson. They were all so great. It had been so long since I had worked a whole show I was more than a little nervous. I had planned to stay a few days and enjoy the beach, but it was hot so I decided to head back home.
On July 20th I had more eye surgery. Actually my eyes had been bothering me and when I went for a check up they had me read the chart. Well, I should say TRY to read it. It was a total blur. Turns out a film had developed over the right eye, so it was back to the surgery center. But a few minutes later and a zap of the laser, it was gone.
Now I just do drops several times a day and it seems to work. The night of July 22nd I hosted the Midnight Jamboree. The audience was a blur. All I saw were stars and flashing lights. One of them was Jean Wood who had traveled all the way from Chicago. Bless her heart, she has been a long and faithful fan for many years. After the show though I had the opportunity to visit with everyone. I always enjoy hosting the Jamboree. Of all of the people I admire and respect in the music industry, he tops the list.
Like good wine, he just keeps getting better and better. Yes, I did go to Dollywood again this year from September 6th through the 20th, a beautiful time of year to be in the Smokies. Everyone connected with this show is a professional, from the cast and band to the people behind the scenes.
Not long ago Michael Langston and Richard Tomlin purchased the condo two doors from me. And many things thereafter. She was everything I knew she would be; very sweet and very nice. They took several pictures. And the next day Richard gave me one which you will see on the website. What a nice experience. So I came up with the idea of taking her to lunch and then shopping. She loved the idea.
I told her to choose the restaurant. After lunch we toured the mall. That narrowed the search. I want you to know we checked every place in Green Hills Mall and no one had brown suede boots. I asked if she knew of anywhere else. So to make a long story short I gave her some money and told her to buy those boots.
At least I know she got what she wanted. But I really enjoyed our time together. What a great contribution he has made in the world of country music. So many wonderful songs. I was a Stonewall Jackson fan before I ever thought of singing professionally, and still am a fan.
The folks at the Ernest Tubb record Shop held a reception for him which was attended by many of his fans and friends, me included. Then later he was hosting the Midnight Jamboree. A good time was had by all. One more thing before I forget. Recently I was asked to be the emcee at the Mrs. Anyway, I was and am extremely honored to be asked and will do my best to honor the contestants and the Pageant. Thanksgiving is this coming week. I have so many things to be thankful for and thank God for His many blessings every day; most importantly my family and my friends.
Please continue to pray for our Troops who are in harms way. And for our country. Okay, there's one sentence done. One reason I kept putting it off was that I couldn't think of much that would be of interest to anyone I ended the last Home Page in November. Well, after that things kind of fell apart.
I mentioned last time about appearing in Dollywood. On the way home from there I was driving through Knoxville in heavy traffic with big semi-trucks on both sides of me when I had a severe dizzy spell and double vision. I just knew I was gonna be creamed by the trucks or the concrete wall that was coming up fast. I couldn't see and was afraid to move.
All I could do was hold the steering wheel steady and hoped I could negotiate my way to the shoulder when they passed. Finally, thank God, they did and I was able to stop. I sat there till my vision cleared and the dizziness went away. It was probably a few seconds but it seemed like an eternity. Needless to say, the rest of the way home I drove very cautiously and in the right-hand lane. The next morning I made a doctor's appointment.
While doing the regular exam he kept saying "hummm Then he said, "I don't like the sound of this". That got my attention. The end result was I needed to go for an ultrasound and cat scan. They all said the same thing On December 13th I checked into Baptist Hospital at 8: But I did as I was told Corky had taken me to the hospital but I barely remember seeing him after leaving the room.
The rest is a nightmare. And someone else saying, "If we can just get it to eighty nine we can move her". Everything is a fog. The first night out of the hospital I spent with Corky and Pam, and the next night with brother Bob and his wife Margie. Then I insisted on going home to my own bed. Like I said, I wasn't thinking right. Evidently I walked, talked, ate and did normal things, but I don't remember much for a couple of weeks.
A fan called and asked, "Did you receive the flowers? I didn't want him to be charged. And when they made the delivery some woman in pink pajamas answered the door and accepted the flowers. I'm not making light of this but I wish they had done a face lift while I was under because, believe me, I will never go under again unless it's a case of life or death. I sincerely appreciate all of the flowers, cards, prayers and good wishes during that very trying time.
Okay, now on to a more pleasant topic. Many times that evening I silently thanked God for His many blessings. On January 20th I did the Opry for the first time in many weeks. I hadn't sung in so long and needless to say, I was more than a little nervous. It was almost like the first time. I know my voice was a little weak but as always the audience made me glad I was there. That probably doesn't sound like a big deal to most, but since I don't cook much anymore, I planned and cooked for two days.
It was worth every minute. I fixed marinated beef tenderloin, spinach and artichoke casserole, parsley new potatoes and a green salad. It was a great evening. I need to do that more often. My daughter-in-law Pam prepared a sit-down lunch at their home for about twenty of my friends. Everything was just beautiful. Pam had gone to a lot of trouble. Corky, my granddaughters Mitsi and Anita, Anita's husband Travis, and Bob and Margie my brother and sister-in-law all came.
We all held hands and Corky said the Blessing. Then when everyone was seated they served us. In between serving, Pam was also taking pictures. The food was delicious. And to cap it off, she brought in a beautiful strawberry cake. My actual birthday was on March 13th but this luncheon was my gift.
To be surrounded by my family and special friends was the best gift I could possibly receive, and I will never forget that day. I am truly blessed. I swore this would be a short Home Page but I guess it isn't turning out that way. Sinclair and his wife Susan. We all met when they were stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. I have to tell you this story I said something I can't repeat. That night we drove to their beach house in Panama City Beach, Florida.
It's so beautiful I wanted to just move in and be a permanent guest. But the next morning after Susan treated us to a great breakfast, we gathered up towels, umbrellas, and so on and headed for the beach. In fact it was slightly cool. I had on warm-up pants but after looking at that white sand for awhile I rolled up my pant legs, took off my shoes and walked on the beach barefoot.
But that night my feet and legs were red as a beet It's been a month now and they're still peeling. But it was worth it. The next morning we loaded up and drove back to Nashville.
I sure hated to leave and come back to the "real world". Before leaving for Alabama I received a call from Louise and Barbara Mandrell inviting me to a luncheon at the home of their parents, Irby and Mary, on the 22nd of March. Thank you, Louise and Barbara, for including me! Louise was snapping pictures all afternoon. I was so proud to be in the presence of so many REAL legends, all at the same time. March 24th was another very special night.
My actual 35th Opry anniversary was the 27th but that was on the following Monday. Bill was actually the one who introduced me the night I was made a member in And he's introduced me many times My heart was full. And it was all I could do to sing past the lump in my throat. But that was just the beginning. Ron Harman, my good friend and the person that puts together my website, had suggested backstage at the Opry that we join Jeannie Seely and Denny Nelson at John A's a restaurant near the Opry for a bite to eat.
Well, I was totally taken off guard for what followed. And indeed it WAS a surprise. They were all there in honor of and to help celebrate my Opry Anniversary. I'm reminded so often how blessed with friends I am.
Ron had ordered Hatch Show Prints to commemorate the anniversary and I enjoyed signing them for everyone. Mike and Ron brought out a huge cake that was beautifully decorated. It was so big that when we ran out of people at our table to serve, there was enough left to serve most everyone else in the restaurant. And that's exactly what we did. Well friends, I'm winding down and know you are from reading this.
If you're wondering about my golf game, I've only played twice since the surgery. I do know I'll be at Dollywood this year from September 6th through the 26th. If you're in the area please stop by. I'd love to see you. Thanks for hanging in there with me. Please continue to pray for our military who are in harms way.
I appreciate all of your love and support Oh well, at least I can still remember. Well, most of the time. I still had a two handicap, golf and my clubs. The people in Linton are wonderful and I always enjoy being there. Immediately after we finished on Sunday I drove back to Nashville approximately miles to appear at a pre-golf dinner for the Charlie Walker tournament the next day.
By the end of that day my clubs felt like they weighed a ton. Maybe I should take up tennis. It was great seeing so many people who have been fans of his and hopefully mine for years. Some go back to when Bill and I were working together and drove many miles to attend the shows. I hope some will read this and know how much their loyalty and support is appreciated. Bill has always had one of the best bands in country music and still does.
At the dinner he always has a special guest. This year that guest was Kenzie West who plays fiddle or violin in the band. Not only is she a great musician but she has a beautiful voice and a style completely her own. The minute she began to sing she had the attention of everyone in the audience.
The temperature was above degrees and the show was in an open amphitheater in the middle of a state park. There were three entrances into the park and none of us could remember how to get out. Like tossing a coin we decided on a road that looked like it was going in the right direction. I pulled off to the side of the road, turned on the flashers and pushed the blue button for On Star. Howard, how may I help you? About that time car lights appeared in the rear view mirror and a State Patrol car passed us.
We echoed her comments and the On Star man laughed and assured us we were on the right road. I love to host the Midnite Jamboree which I did on August 13th. Some of the audience came strictly for that. I love being there. This past October 3rd it was in my hometown of West Plains, Missouri. I thank everyone in West Plains for honoring my son in this way. This one benefits the Bluebonnet Youth Ranch; a home for abused and neglected children.
Some of these children are short time residents but many live there through high school. Reunion of Professional Entertainers had its annual dinner and awards show on October 20th. By the time you read this she will have celebrated her 50th year as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. I respect her for what she has accomplished in her life but I love her as a friend as well. As I mentioned, this was also an awards dinner. I know there are many who deserve this more than I, but I will cherish it always.
My fingers are tired and my back hurts from sitting in this chair. Be good to YOU!.. April Dear Friends, It's that time again. Spring has sprung, the grass is ris I heard that somewhere.
Well, my flowers don't ris, rise or whatever I'm the only person I know who has a brown thumb. A friend says "just say a few words over the old flowers and plant new ones" so that's what I'm fixing to do. She buys them in pots and plants the whole thing Does anyone else do that? Things have been kinda quiet so far this year. I'm still trying to get my life back together after the fire.
Even though I'm back in my condo I'm still "doing things. I never realized how traumatic a fire can be till now. But, all in all, I know I'm very fortunate and these "things" are just "things" and I have to let go. When I begin to feel sorry for myself I think of families with children who go through this and end up with absolutely nothing and nowhere to go. Then I say a prayer and move on. Have finally finished dealing with insurance companies I hope.
One thing I advise everyone to do We usually just sign and assume it's right. I'm surprised my company didn't cancel me On February 4th my granddaughter, Mitsi, went with a mission group from her church to Honduras for two weeks as an assistant with a medical team to treat people there in the outlying areas. She brought back pictures, one of which I'll add to the web site. One night she, Anita my other granddaughter and I went to dinner during which she told of some of her experiences and the people there.
Some were so graphic I can't describe them. But seeing those pictures made me, once again, realize how fortunate we are to live in this country. Even in the worse scenario it's still the greatest country in the world. I asked if she'd go back again. She said "probably, but I'll have to wait awhile till I get some pictures out of my mind. I had the privilege of visiting with the patients at the Nashville Veterans hospital and I wish a woman I met a while back had been with me. After one of the performances at Dollywood she came up to me and said "the trouble with this country is we no longer have heroes But he was a fictional hero in the movies.
We have real heroes. Have you ever visited a Veteran's Hospital? Or a National Cemetery? Or given a moment's thought to those serving right now in our military to protect our freedom? Freedom isn't free and we do have heroes.
I'm sorry if I lost a fan but I will not stand still for someone saying "we no longer have heroes. I felt very undeserving but highly honored and will cherish it always. Just yesterday I received the beautifully framed Citation along with a shadow box to display the medal. It will hold a place of honor in my home.
If you're in the area I hope you'll visit these awesome sights which are dedicated to those who served, fought and died for this country. As many of you know, my son Jimmy is among the 58, names on the Vietnam Memorial which was dedicated on November 13, , and today is our nation's most visited memorial.
My son Corky, also a Vietnam veteran, escorted his brother's body home. The month of March resulted in another birthday coming and going. As for me, I just don't associate with numbers. Someone asked recently "how old are you anyway? Besides, I've lied so many times I've forgotten what age is right.
But I'm grateful for every day. And only God knows how many there will be. I wrote something one time that said "This is not a rehearsal. This is the show. And there are no retakes". Just before my birthday my friend, Ron, brought to me this heavy wrapped package all tied with a pretty ribbon.
Inside was a plaque which read: It is now placed on my stairwell where I'll see it each time I walk up or down the stairs. Each time I see it I'm reminded that we shall not pass this way again.
And every moment is to be cherished. While I'm on the subject of birthdays I'd like to say "thank you" for all of the beautiful cards.
Not only then but at Christmas, the New Year, Easter and other times during the year. And I'm so blessed to have your friendship. March 27th was my anniversary at the Opry I keep saying this, but where has the time gone? I really never think about it till someone wants to do an interview about the 'legends' in country music. They say "you know, the ones who started it.
A new Opry book will be out soon. Everyone had new pictures made I did but have no idea which one they'll use. Frankly, I hate posed pictures. They also asked for a new biography Guess I'll leave it in their hands and see what they come up with. It may be interesting. My friend Tony Smith who lives in Ohio came down recently to play golf for three days. He wanted to get out of the bad weather up there. We had one good day then, guess what, it rained and was cold as all get out.
He finally gave up and went home. The weather was better there. Hopefully it stays that way as I'm going there to Middletown, OH, on May 14th to host a golf tournament to benefit children's diabetes. Oh, I almost forgot. Recently a good friend of mine and Jeannie Seely's, Ron Harman, hosted a group of family and friends to go on the Nash Trash bus tour here in Nashville and we were invited. I have to tell you that the Nash Trash ladies, Sheri Lynn and Brenda Kay, are so funny my sides ached for a week from laughing.
If you're in Nashville and have the time, go on the tour. You'll be glad you did! I guess that's almost it for now. Other things such as show dates and appearances will be posted on the 'On The Go' Page. I would put them here but that would be overkill. Don't look for a lot of working dates though as I still plan to find "time for Jan". I'd like to close with some thoughts and sentiments. When I was a little girl it was not in my wildest dreams where my life would lead.
Somehow, even now some things are still like dreams. I remember one time standing, looking out over a beautiful seaport in Hobart, Tasmania, and thinking "how did Lula Grace Johnson from West Plains, Missouri, ever get to Tasmania? First, taking my three little boys and moving to California was a giant step.
Then meeting and marrying Harlan Howard who was just starting out as a songwriter. That led to making demos for him which led to a recording career. The move to Nashville was another giant step, for both of us.
After appearing as a guest on the Grand Ole Opry for several years, being made a member in was the highest of honors. I still get chills when I see those signs. This honor is not taken lightly. A sincere "thank you" comes from deep within my heart.
Have a wonderful, healthy and fun-filled summer. Love you all, Jan. And I haven't jumped off a bridge, although I've sort of felt like it a few times in the past few months. On May 29th I had been working at my desk in my pajamas all morning when suddenly the lights began flickering.
Thinking it was a light bulb going bad, I decided to turn it off and go take a quick power nap before getting dressed to run some errands. Then, realizing I hadn't eaten any breakfast I decided to go fix a sandwich, after which I planned to get into the shower. You see, my bedroom is about ten feet across the hall from my office.
I fixed a bacon and tomato sandwich and had taken three bites when the smoke alarm went off. I ran to the bottom of the staircase and looking up all I could see were flames and thick, black smoke coming from my office and bedroom.
I called and ran back to the stairwell. After taking about four steps up I couldn't breathe due to the smoke. I realize now how quickly people can die from smoke inhalation.
The fire department responded within ten minutes, but those ten minutes seemed like an eternity. I know I was in shock because all I remember is hearing sirens and a popping sound coming from upstairs. I learned later that if I had made it upstairs I would probably have been electrocuted because that popping sound was electricity.
Suddenly the house was filled with firemen, neighbors, my son, daughter-in-law, granddaughters, and my brother. People kept saying, "You've got to get out of here".
I ran to the patio. After the fire was out and danger was past, they let me grab a few clothes for emergency laundry and dry cleaning. I learned later that all I grabbed were two pair of jeans, two white t-shirts, and a pile of clothes I had laid out to give to Goodwill.
That night I went to Corky and Pam's house my son and daughter-in-law , and the next day I went back to the condo. Windows were broken out, both from the fire and where the firemen had thrown furniture and numerous other things out onto the shrubbery and planted area out front.
I walked around in a daze just looking at the damage, the extent of which I was not to know until later. I gathered a few more clothes and went back to Corky and Pam's. Oh yes, the fire inspector came and after looking at the things thrown out of the office window he walked right over to an antique desk lamp and said, "this is the culprit". Evidently it had a faulty cord which had burned up into the base. I decided I'll never buy anything old like that again.
By the time I left I was on a first name basis with everyone there from the housekeeping staff to the executives.