In the midst of the Grand Ole Opry

A Note From Mark:  My first memories of the Grand Ole Opry, was as a child, with my mom and dad, Grandpa and Ramona Jones.  We spent most every Friday and Saturday night at the Ryman Auditorium.  The Ryman Auditorium was an old church, built by Captain Ryman, full of character and history, even before the Grand Ole Opry bagan to have shows there, but nothing to compare with the character that was to come later.  Each entertainer,  in those days was talented and unique in their own special way.  That was back in the day when each song that was played actually sounded different from the one before. The entertainers in those days  performed from their hearts to the hearts of the people. The songs were written to touch the hearts of the common, hard working person.  Not just geared toward a teenage market, fad music, to make a quick sale.  As a good friend of mine, Libby Leverett-Crew, (daughter of Les Leverett, Opry Photographer)  stated in her book,  Saturday Nights with Daddy At The Opry,  I quote:   Even with gum stuck on the underside of the pews, the stench of stale cigarette smoke and buttery popcorn, and the loud, loud music, there was something reverential about the building”.

Most of my childhood memories were centered around that entertainers of that era.  Memories of friends likes Stringbean, who was always giving me popcorn money and not taking any change back. Stringbean was dad’s best friend in those days. I remember one time going with dad and Stringbean to the Opry on an icy night. Estelle, Stringbean’s wife, usually did all the driving for String. She didn’t want to drive that night, because of the bad roads, so dad drove him.  We got out at the Opry on solid ice. String was carrying his costume bag in one hand and his banjo case in the other.  He was bent over from the hips, going across the ice. I asked him why he was walking like that and he answered,  “As tall as I am,  if I fall, it won’t hurt as bad from here.”    

For some reason that logic made a lot of sense to me.  I feel so blessed to have grown up in that era, with the role models that I had.  Check back in for more stories. Thanks for stopping by.

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7 thoughts on “In the midst of the Grand Ole Opry

  1. Great little memories like this one will add a lot of heart to this site and make people want to stop by a spell and feel comfortable here.

    This is a fantastic start to a site that will help build your business. I truely look forward to helping you succeed with the recording and phtography studios. I want to learn more about both businesses so I can help even more.

    I value both of you as friends and really, I consider you family. I feel at home when I am in Harrison. I have traveled all over the world and have never felt this way. I believe the Lord has put us together for greater purpose.

    Luv you both!

    Jay Mueller
    http://www.jaylynne.com

  2. Jay, that is the sweetest thing. Both you and Lynne mean so much to us, already. I so appreciate you building my sites and helping me with all the techical info. I couldn’t do it without you. I can’t wait until you guys move to this area and I look forward to spending time with you both, you know those Photogrphy outings in the Buffalo River area and let’s not forget the nights listening to music in Eureka Springs…I know you, Lynne, Mike, Mark, and me all enjoyed that! Maybe next time you come in we will have time to Jam together.

  3. You had better believe that I expect to sit down with ya’ll to play and learn. I have only been serious with playing for about a year now, so I have a lot to learn.

    Lynne and I loved every minute we spent with you guys, had a ball!

    I’m still contemplating when I should make my next trip. Lynne knows this and keeps asking me when I’m going to Arkansas. The truth is I am ready any time to head out…the real problem is figuring out when I’d make it back here cuz I’d rather be there.

    See you soon. 😉

  4. I’m Lynne’s mom and Jay’s favorite mother-in-law and I feel I know all of you in Arkansas. I was such a huge fan of Grandpa and Stringbean and the Opry. I still am but not sure I understand the “country” music I hear now. Just wanted to say hello to you all.

  5. Thank you so much for taking the time to visit our website and for the kind words. We look forward to meeting you some day soon in Arkansas.

  6. I enjoyed that story about you,your dad, & Stringbean. W’d like to hear about more ! I grew up watching/listening to them guys. I remember as a child, when Stringbean was murdered, it was the “talk” of the school playground,and all the kids were sad, up in eureka,Missouri.They were just as popular with kids, as the Beatles, and other groups.Stringbean ought to be inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame !

    • Thanks “rooster”, for the nice comments. Stringbean meant alot to me too. He was closer than any uncle. I agree with you on how talented he was and certainly does deserve all the respect. As far as I know, String was inducted into the Hall of Fame along with the HeeHaw group of entertainers. I wish I knew the date, but I don’t. Keep checking in. Love to hear from you.

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