ansley-and-tara.jpgIt’s fun to see a little girl look up to a big girl.  Jimmy Mattingly’s precious little girl adores our little girl.  The fun thing about being part of a band now for going on 4 years is the families have become a family.  I’d be lying if I said I talked to the other Grascal wives all the time, but, there’s a bond.  It’s fun seeing the other kids grow up.  I hope someday when all of us are old folks the Grascal Kids will enjoy the times they run into one of the other Grascal Kids.

811179530_87b185a5ba_m.jpg #2 and Noah Franklin had a good time messing around the dressing room.  You usually see musicians kids backstage.  There was a time when kids under 12 weren’t allowed backstage unless they were the child or grandchild of an artist.  That rule may still be in effect.  The reason it was put into place was because Wayne McGaha, son of the late Mac McGaha, ran into Sonny Osborne’s banjo neck when he was a kid.  Sonny was not happy. 

carol-lee-singers.jpgIt dawned on me last night standing behind the rope at the Opry, as I have done hundreds upon hundreds of times since I was a kid, that I’ve been looking at these three singers, Carol Lee Cooper, Norah Lee Allen and Dennis McCall, aka “The Carol Lee Singers” do their oohs and ahhs for a very long time.  The bizarre thing is, the three of them haven’t changed a bit since I was 12. 

I told this deep thought to the Drama Queen, about the 3 singers and she said “Uh, Mom…there’s, like, 4 of them.”  Smawty pants.   Yes, I know there are 4.  The guy that sings bass with Carol Lee now, (I don’t know his name) has probably only been there a decade.  The bass singer I think of when I think of the Carol Lee bunch is the late Herman Harper.  He appeared in the movie “Nashville”, along with the other Carol Lee Singers. 

We kid about this and we know, deep down it had nothing to do with it, but, see, Herman died of a brain aneurysm in 1993.  Several weeks before, Mr. Smiff, awaiting his turn on the Opry with Bobby and Sonny, bumped into Herman with his bass.  I think he feels somehow responsible.  Obviously not cause of the bass.  He didn’t bump him that hard.  Still.

Now, Bobo, we feel IS responsible for former Opry announcer Grant Turner’s passing in 1991.  Grant died of, I believe it was an abdominal anuerysm.  He died on a Saturday morning after announcing on the Opry the night before.  The night before, Bobby Osborne was standing next to Grant, chatting, when Bobo went up and cut one on Bobby. (Typical of this bunch.  Like a bunch of middle school boys, I tell you). 

 The next day, when we heard Grant had died, Mr. Smiff got on the phone to Bobo and said “Dude, I always knew that ass of yours would kill somebody!” 

They laugh cause they love, those crazy guys.  The Grascals do love the Grand Ole Opry as do I.  Even though lots about backstage at the Opry has changed through the years, it’s still, for me, like going to your grandmother’s house or something.  I don’t go everytime Mr. Smiff plays like I used to, but, it sure feels like home when I do.

bringing-down-da-house.jpgEverytime Mr. Smiff plays there, I’m about as proud as any person can be.  I’m always reminded of behind the rope cause that’s where me and Mr. Smiff finally “met” and where our relationship started. 

opry-sunset.jpg Even sunsets at the backstage parking lot at the Grand Ole Opry are special.