Sunday, August 11, 2013

Opry Recap-Jim Ed Brown's 50th Opry Anniversary

This weekend I had the honor of being in Nashville and at the Grand Ole Opry for Jim Ed Brown's 50th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. I know many of us made comments over the past several weeks about the Opry's lack of publicity for this special event and wondering what the Opry would do to honor Jim Ed, along with Maxine and Bonnie. We'll, let me tell you that in my opinion, the Opry did a very nice job. Or as I told Pete Fisher as we passed each other backstage, "Nice job honoring Jim Ed. You did it right."

During the 1st show, Jim Ed hosted the 3rd segment. Mike Terry did a nice job announcing that Jim Ed and The Browns joined the Opry on August 10, 1963 and continued with some very nice comments as the curtain went up. Jim Ed was at center stage and the crowd responded with some very nice applause. He then kicked into "Pop A Top." He had his entire group out with him. After finishing and making a few comments, he introduced Helen Cornelius, and they did "I Don't Want to Have to Marry You." They sounded great together and Helen looked very nice. Then Jim Ed introduced Bobby Bare. Bobby did "Detroit City' and he looked and sounded great. Jim Ed made some great comments regarding his friendship with Bobby and noted that they were long time label mates at RCA. After the commercial, Maxine and Bonnie came out. They stood at the side of the stage. I had a chance before the show to congratulate Bonnie and she was very friendly and outgoing (as usual). Maxine had assistance to walk out, with Pete Fisher helping her. (let me add that Pete was awesome in helping and assisting Maxine). They talked for a bit and Jim Ed told the story about how difficult it was to get Maxine to come to Nashville and how much he really wanted her there. Maxine basically took over at that point and she was just so great. Jim Ed, Bonnie and Maxine all said that they had not sung together for over 6 years and Maxine had vocal problems and could not sing. They went to a commercial and Jim Ed was again at center stage with his group and Pete Fisher was introduced. The backdrop showed some pictures of Jim Ed through the years while Pete had some very nice comments and presented Jim Ed with the gold railroad watch. The audience stood for what seemed like a 1 or 2 minute standing ovation and Jim Ed was moved to tears. He had trouble speaking and thanking the audience. Jim Ed then talked about his new single, produced by Bobby Bare, "In Style Again". While Jim Ed sang the song, a video of Jim Ed over the years was played on the Opry's video screens. At the end of the song, there was another long standing ovation. A very nice segment that honored Jim Ed very nicely.

During the 2nd show, the segment was basically the same, with Jim Ed and Helen doing the same songs, while Bobby Bare did "Margie's At The Lincoln Park Inn" (which I might add is my favorite Bobby Bare song). While Pete helped out Maxine during the 1st show, Eddie Stubbs did the honors for the 2nd show. And yes, I heard the joke and comments made by Maxine and it totally brought down the house. It has been a long time since I have seen that kind of a reaction at the Opry. (I am sure that the FCC will be calling this week). While Maxine was making those comments, I happened to look over at Pete Fisher, who was standing in his usual spot on the side of the stage, and his reaction was the same as the audiences. His mouth was hanging open and he was laughing like the rest of the folks. Nobody seemed offended. The band members were laughing so hard they had trouble holding their instruments. It was a classic Opry moment and it was Maxine being Maxine. (For those who did not hear the comment she made, it was a reference to Obama care and the word ended with, and I am sure it was the first time in the Opry's history that word got out on the air).

Prior to the show, there was a private reception for Jim Ed and his family backstage that was attended by many of the Opry's members. I saw Melvin Sloan there, and he is looking great. Also attending was Colin Reed, the CEO of Ryman Hospitalities, who was kind enough to pose for a picture for me with Jim Ed, and Steve Buchanan. I thought I also saw Charlie Monk there, along with a lot of other folks. As much as it was Jim Ed's night, Maxine and Bonnie seemed to be the center of attention. They seemed to know everybody and shared a dressing room that had visitors all night. I kept thinking that it might be the last time we see all 3 of them together at the Opry again. I am glad I was there.

As far as the rest of Saturday night's shows, both were sold out as you would expect with Carrie Underwood as the star attraction. While she may not be what many of us consider country, she did a very nice job and as I have mentioned before, I appreciate that fact that she actually comes out and does the Opry.

A few other random comments regarding a few things that I saw:

Some have mentioned in the comments that Jeannie Seely seems to be talking a lot when hosting and taking up air time. I think what she is doing is maybe in a way replacing Jimmy Dickens, in the sense that she is an Opry veteran and in that capacity, letting her tell a few jokes and talk for a bit longer than the other hosts. And speaking of Jimmy, no news on him. Nobody seemed to know anything.

For those who listened to Bobby Osborne doing "Ruby" on the 2nd show, it was classic. Yes, he did struggle. And, The Willis Clan is very, very talented. There was at least a dozen of them running all over the place, and while I have not seen it, they have a show on GAC. These kids have a future in this business.

And last, but not least, there is Larry Gatlin, who hosted a segment on each show. Let's just say that the Opry needs more folks like Larry Gatlin at the Opry. The guy is so enthusiastic and never stops moving. During his opening number, "Houston", he was out in the audience dancing with females and just having lots of fun. During commerical breaks he is all over the backstage area. On the 2nd show, he took off his jacket and was going full tilt with the square dancers. And he was that way backstage. He brings energy to the show. I wish more of the Opry's older members would be like him. During the high point of his career, he hardly ever did the Opry. He was out touring and too busy. He had his personal issues, which I am so glad that he has overcome. Now, as his career is in decline and his touring is cut back, he is at the Opry more. I think it started when he signed up to host the Opry Country Classics on Thursday nights, back in 2010. I think he found out he liked it and enjoyed coming out to the Opry. Pretty soon, he was coming out not only on Thursday, but on Friday and Saturday. Over the past year, his appearances have almost doubled. With so many of the Opry's members not coming out, he is needed and I am glad for whatever the reasons are, he is responding. Thanks Larry!!

A quick word on the Friday Night Opry. I made it down in time and went to the show. The lower level was mostly filled, while the balcony just had people in the lower sections. Joey+Rory were great and they need to be Opry members. So much talent and well liked. While Marshall Chapman is not classic country, she was very good in her tribute to Cowboy Jack Clement. At the age of 64, this was her first Opry appearance. TG Sheppard and Billy Dean were both ok. Riders In The Sky were very funny, as usual. Kelleigh Bannen and Kalisa Ewing, in my humble opinion, could have stayed home. They added nothing to the show. Overall, I would rate Friday a C+.

Now some final thoughts on this whole business of honoring Opry members and their anniversaries. In the past, the Opry would honor an artist on their 50th anniversary as an Opry member. Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl, Bill Monroe, Grandpa Jones, Porter Wagoner, Loretta Lynn and Bill Anderson all had entire segments dedicated to them. In the case of the early ones, since the Opry was being televised they were featured on that segment. In the case of Jean Shepard, Jimmy C Newman, Charlie Louvin and George Hamilton, it was a handshake during their appearance and a chance to sing a 2nd song.(in the case of Jean and Jimmy C, the Opry was still being televised on GAC and they didn't even rate the television portion). I think that is why all of us were wondering what Jim Ed Brown would get. He got the half hour treatment, and in my opinion, they all should. Not too may make it that long. They next to make it to 50 will be Jesse McReynolds in March 2014, with Bobby Osborne to follow in August. But the Opry needs to be consistent in how they honor their members. I know there is a pecking order, and in the Opry's view the Hall of Fame members get the better treatment. Regardless, it is a great accomplishment and they all should be recognized the right way.

To wrap it up, Jim Ed hosted the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree. It was a great show. The place was packed with people standing in the back and in the shop. The show lasted more than an hour and Jim Ed did a number of his songs, as did Helen Cornelius. Maxine and Bonnie joined Jim Ed, from their front row seats, and did a verse of "The 3 Bells." After the show there was cake and all 3 signed autographs well into the night. It was a great way to end the weekend.

Congratulations again to Jim Ed, Maxine and Bonnie and thanks to Pete Fisher and the Grand Ole Opry for honoring Jim Ed and letting Maxine and Bonnie be a part of it.


  1. Thanks for a great report! Always look forward to your notes and observations.

    Neil in Florida

  2. Fred, Bismarck:

    Wonderful job, Byron -- felt like I was there. Thank you.

  3. Fred, Bismarck:

    I wonder if the Browns ever tell this story on themselves or if they have mercifully forgotten it.

    It was 1959, "Three Bells" time, doubtless in the summer, or I wouldn't have been home to watch daytime TV. The Browns were guesting on the Mike Douglas show or one of those other midday shows that were so popular back then. I want to say the show was local, which is to say from Cleveland, O., my home.

    Anyway, the Browns did a lip sync of "Bells" -- only the dang record or tape had a wobble in it! They were forced to put on a brave face and see the number through as if they were sharping and flatting on purpose. By the end Jim Ed had tears in his eyes ... that I remember clearly. (Can't recall about Maxine and Bonnie.) I think everybody else -- host, audience -- politely acted as if nothing was wrong.

    The alternatives for the Browns, on the spur of the moment, weren't very attractive. What else could they have done ... just stop "singing" and expose the whole performance as a sham? I can't decide if that, or what the Browns did in the event, would take more guts.

  4. Byron, thanks for a GREAT report. I know that the group that used to hang out together in Nashville including Jim Ed Brown, Bobby Bare, Jimmy C. Newman, Faron Young, Tom T. Hall, and their wives. I suspect there was some roistering on the road! So it was nice to see Bare there, and I'm sure Jimmy C. was glad to see them all, too (on Facebook, there's a recent picture of Roxanne Atwood, I believe, with Jimmy C. and Miss Mae--I wonder if that was for Saturday night).

    Anyway, setting aside Maxine's comments, it was great to hear them and I'm sorry that I'm like what Jim Ed said of Bare: at 10 p.m., I turn into a motel. By the way, I don't think the audience got that one, but Bare did!

    Fred, I'm amazed there weren't more incidents like that--so much lip-syncing over the years.

  5. Great reporting Byron. It was a special night. Now if we can just get that great trio in the Hall of Fame next year. (Crossing my fingers).

    I agree on Joey-Rory. They are well received and fan favorites. An Opry membership should be offered at some point.

  6. Thanks Byron for the great report. It is nice to hear a first hand account from one who loves and understands the Opry like the rest of us.

    I was a bit skeptical of Pete Fisher having to bring Carrie Underwood into Jim Ed's moment in the spotlight at first thinking it was a way to say to the crowd "be patient, she's coming up soon". However, based on your observations I will back off from that thought and give him credit for allowing Maxine and Bonnie time on stage even without performing. It seems that Fisher may have a sense of the history being made, maybe for the last time. It was wonderful to hear on the radio and I'm sure a great thrill to be there in person and back stage at that! All things considered, it was well done and a good evening at the Opry. No sarcasm or complaint but just think how much money Carrie Underwood made Gaylord Saturday night. And, Jim Ed, Maxine and Bonnie got two times in the spotlight. If not for a second show Maxine might not have made history!

    I got to see Jim Ed, Jean Shepard, Jan Howard and Stonewall Jackson Friday night at Renfro Valley, Ky. They put on a wonderful show that lasted over two hours!

    It is great that Jim Ed, Maxine and Bonnie were allowed such a wonderful evening of celebration. However, it is sad that those like Jean Shepard Charlie Louvin and the others you mentioned were not afforded the same celebration and only because, in my opinion, of the politics or the attitude of management when there time came. They all deserve it but my goodness, Jean never ever turned her back on and has never left the Opry. She may be outspoken about the Opry but is there any doubt why, that she truly loves it! What would be really exceptional is to get all the 50+ year members together and honor them one night. I'm sure if they did it would be during the week but we would take whatever we could get! How many organization have folks still around with so many years of service? It could get hard to decide when since there are several coming up in the next two to three years. But something should be done to make up for the lack of attention given to some of them. As I think about it, wouldn't that be a wonderful way to welcome Jimmy Dickens back to the stage WHEN that day comes!

    If we can just get the Browns in the Hall of Fame. I'm sure they would all be proud and elated but can you imagine how great it would be for Maxine!

    Knightsville, IN

  7. Byron, your Opry weekend report is just so newsy & great!! It sure sounds like you had such a wonderful weekend down in Music City. Thank you for sharing all of the details from on & backstage & it was great that you were able to give Pete Fisher a nod for what the Opry had done for Jim Ed Brown. I did listen to the 1st show & I agree, the Opry did a very nice job of honoring Jim Ed on his 50 years of Opry membership & that Maxine & Bonnie were able to stand with him on stage is to the Opry's credit - in a way, the sisters were being honored as well since they were members at one time. The three siblings appear to be very close & Jim Ed was genuinely happy that his sisters were there with him & that even though Maxine & Bonnie are no longer members, it was great that they were on stage. I was happy to hear both standing ovations for Jim Ed & I could hear him really tearing/choking up - so deserving. He has such a fabulous voice & even now he still sounds so good. Maxine is the "salty" one for sure - lol - what she had to say about Eddie Stubbs during the first show was hilarious. I was laughing so hard - she just keeps it all real!! ha-ha!! Normally I would have listened to the 2nd show in its entirety but was unable to. Maxine's comment regarding the healthcare act - oh boy, I agree Byron, I have no doubt that the FCC will be knocking on Pete's door but in the meantime, off the cuff remarks is what makes this human - spontaneous thoughts put into words, that's all it is. I used to keep waiting for Mike Snider to let something fly, he would get so close & then let the audience hang - I used to laugh - maybe that's why he plays more music than he does tell his jokes, of which I miss. Byron, you mentioned you had read Maxine's book, by chance did you take it with you for a possible autograph? That would be the cake topper. It was great that they signed autographs as late as they did at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop - stood in that very shop a few times myself for an autograph after the performance was over .... that's what separates country music from any other genre of music - the artists take the time to be with their fans.

    And Byron, I fully agree with you on honoring all Opry members. If they do for one or two they should do for all, unless the Opry member does not want to be involved. Nothing was done for Travis Tritt last year - he, Emmylou Harris & Marty Stuart all were inducted in 1992. Maybe the artists get the choice. Who knows what truly goes on between the artist & Opry. And as much as I am still pulling for my gal, Rhonda Vincent to become a member, I think Joey & Rory would be a fine addition to the Opry as well. They have their own show on RFD-TV. And I know that the Willis Clan being on GAC.

    My last thought & opinion is that I don't consider any one of the Opry members as the "star" of the show (Carrie Underwood) - I get that she is extremely popular & all but they are all known as Grand Ole Opry stars. I like her & I get it, but ....

    Again, so happy you were able to attend this very special weekend at the Opry, Byron. And I do agree with you about Larry Gatlin. While I made the comment I did in one of my last posts about his chattiness at times, he really is a terrific performer & I still think he has one of the best voices in country music - more performers should get off the stage & go into the crowd like Larry.


  8. Well, I understand the Opry pretty well too, and there was no reason to be skeptical in the least about Pete's comments regarding Carrie Underwood. It was pretty obvious, I thought, that Pete's comment about Carrie was made to help the 75% or more of the audience who bought tickets to "just see Carrie Underwood" understand what an accomplishment 50 years for Jim Ed Brown on the Opry is... and, even though she is a mega star, she has a long ways to go to that status as I'm sure she would graciously say herself. He was just saying that Jim Ed has been there 10 times longer than Carrie's 5 years. And yes the kiddies were getting impatient, so he was trying to use "someone" that the kiddies could identify with, to help them to see who Jim Ed Brown is and what an achievement this was for him. I don't see how anyone could be skeptical of that or read other motives into that. I was at both shows, it was a wonderful half hour, the Opry did a wonderful job, the watch was a nice gift from 1928, and I especially appreciated the montage on the screen of pictures from Jim Ed's career. It was really poignant to see those clips on the screen while Jim Ed was singing In Style Again. Both shows were great overall and Jim Ed did break down a little. It was also nice that Pete came back out on stage at the second show and said some words of recognition as well. He could have checked out after the first show appearance, had he wanted to!

  9. Also, wanted to add that I was at the Midnight Jamboree and that was wonderfully done as well. Whoever made (and paid) for that huge cake(it was the biggest cake I have even seen) is to be congratulated. It was really nice that The Browns did sing a verse together on the show, and that will be something I will always remember as my guess is that will the last time on WSM radio, or anywhere else for that matter, that they probably will do that. Also, Maxine and Bonnie were in the lobby before the show graciously signing autographs and Jim Ed was still signing and visiting with fans at the Record shop at 2:30am when I left. He looked worn out and I'm sure he was after being at Renfro Valley Friday and doing all the honors Saturday. But he was still classy to all who were there. Yes, as we all agree, it is a travesty that Jim Ed Brown is not in the HOF. Hard to understand that one.

  10. I just wanted to add a couple of extra comments, if I may.

    I have been as critical at times of Pete Fisher as anyone else, but as I said before, he did the right thing this weekend. He could have easily had Jim Ed not hosting a segment and instead just singing a song and giving him a poster. Or he could have told Jim Ed that his sisters could not come out on stage, since they were not going to sing. I am sure Bobby Bare was there because Jim Ed wanted him there. Again, Pete could have told Jim Ed no, he is not a member and he is not young and we really don't need him tonight. But I think in this case, and not knowing Pete Fisher that well, I think he really realized what an important night this was and I am glad that he did. And watching Pete backstage and having seen him in action before, he really seemed to be enjoying the night. Again, he was so respectful of Maxine and Bonnie. So nice to see.

    I also don't know if it was Pete's decision or Bill Anderson's, but I think it was the right move to have Bill sing his 2 songs before Carrie. As popular as she is, I am sure it would have put Bill in an uncomfortable position following her, especially when many in the crowd would have been leaving the show instead of waiting till the very end. And as those who were there know, or listened, Bill still did the sign off at the end.

    I know there has been a mixed reaction regarding the Carrie comments that Pete was making when honoring Jim Ed, but I had no problem with it. Pete knew the audience and I think he was helping them understand what an accomplishment 50 years is. And mixing in Carrie's name kept the younger audience members at attention. But they also showed Jim Ed a lot of respect and they stood and applauded with everyone else.

    Yes, it was a special night.

  11. Glad to see they did a respectable job of honoring Jim Ed.

    Tuesday's lineup:

    Members: Terri Clark, Bill Anderson, Del McCoury

    Guests: Mark Wills, Brett Eldredge, The Black Lillies, Alabama

  12. And the cutest little girl in the world proudly announced on WMS this morning that as a present for her ninth birthday, she was with her parents in Nashville to see the Grand Old 'Opry.
    She even knew the names of most of the lineup tonight.
    There's hope!

  13. I know there was a post regarding the Glaser Brothers a few weeks back. Tompall Glaser died in Nashville this morning at the age of 79. The story from the Tennesseean is here:

  14. Thanks Barry. Another former Opry legend who has passed away.

  15. Really enjoyed the Tuesday show. Clark, Anderson, McCoury, the Lillies and Alabama were all great.

    No interest in Wills unless if he's playing Jacob's Ladder, skipped Eldredge. Other than those two, the show was great

  16. I would have liked to comment earlier but I could not get the time.

    My being skeptical about Pete Fisher mentioning Carrie Underwood during Jim Ed's segment comes form 10+ years of watching and listening to how some of these events have been carried out or the total lack of such ceremony at all. I wish I could have been there because so many of the visuals that have been mentioned by Byron and others provides insight to good things that went on but were not evident over the air. The remarks about Fisher and his attention to Maxine and his general mood wiped away all of my doubts. Just another reason I enjoy the conversation here. Nowhere else would I find such wonderful detail as many offer here. Thanks to all!

    I got to listen to the Friday show earlier today and it wasn't outstanding to say the least. I enjoyed the Riders the most. Marshall Chapman had the statement of the eveing, "sometimes all you have to do is shower and just show up". How true is that these days? And no, I'm not thinking in terms of her appearance but she is so right, anyone can make the Opry these days!

    Knightsville, IN

  17. Anybody besides me notice that next Tuesday's Opry lineup features a total of 1...count 'em...1 Opry member? Anybody want to bet me on how soon we''l have an Opry show that features zero Opry stars? Frankly, if I had a cast of 64 performers to choose from and I could only book 1 I'd start to question my management ability. Then again, if I was trying to kill a show by a thousand cuts, this is exactly the way I would go about it. Thoughts?

  18. Barry, I am just making an unedumacated guess. But it seems to me that the management is trying to diminish the importance of Opry membership. Byron has talked about how Hal Durham allowed performers not to meet their obligations (how much of that may have come from above, I don't know, but I have wondered). More to the point, the Opry doesn't pay a lot, and the money is so much bigger now that there seems to modern performers to be less of a need to keep their ties to the Opry so that they will have someplace to perform later. I once thought Garth Brooks would end up being like, say, Hank Snow, being there each week and viewing it as a way to keep going after retirement from the road. Obviously not!

  19. The lack of appearances of Opry veterans lately have been an issue with me. All of the Hall of Famers, Jim Ed Brown, Bobby Osborne and Jesse McReynolds are exceptions. Jan Howard and Stonewall Jackson have both been waning on my mind the last few days. Jan Howard's appearances seem to go down with every passing year. I know Jan is now into her 80's and may very well want to slow down some, but my gut tells me that is probably not the case. While not a hit making career like Connie Smith or Jean Shepard, her star is well known enough (I believe) to merit more appearances. Now, let's talk Stonewall Jackson. Stonewall is a solid journeyman of Country Music. I realize he had problems with Opry management but that is settled now. If this is still a hang up issue on Stonewall and is the reason for is lone one performance this year (I think one?, Byron correct me if I'm wrong), someone needs to move on. Stonewall is still making tour dates. He is not retired. Stonewall's music from the 50's and 60's is being played like nobody's business on satellite radio and is catching on with a much younger generation like myself. Wade Jesson, on his radio show, indicated the other day he believes that at some point Stonewall Jackson will be a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. I had never really considered Stonewall for induction until hearing that statement by Jesson, who from what I can gather, knows quite a bit about the industry. In comparing his career to other Hall of Famers there are many noticeable similarities with some other artists who already have a bronze plaque in the Hall. And with the following statement I mean no disrespect to Ray Pillow or Stu Phillips, but to me Stonewall Jackson and Jan Howard merit more "Opry Time" than Pillow and Phillips. To me their careers were just more substantial. I guess that is my soapbox rant for the day.

  20. David, here are some numbers for you, and for others. Including last weekend, there have been 68 Friday and Saturday night Opry shows. As far as the veterans/legends and their appearnces: Stu Phillips(1);Stonewall Jackson(2);Ray Pillow(4)Jan Howard(13);George Hamilton IV(19);Jesse McReynolds(24);Jean Shepard(25);Connie Smith(26);Bobby Osborne(30);Jimmy C Newman(34);Jim Ed Brown(44);Jeannie Seely(45 and Bill Anderson(51). I think I got everybody.

    Some have had reduced appearances due to illness. The Opry does have what is called "senior status" where members agree in some form to appear less than often (I think the number is under 10 for the year) and still quality for benefits. This is part of the union contract with the Opry. But you do have some, Jan Howard comes to mind, who would love to do the Opry more, if just asked.

    Stonewall's situation is interesting in the fact that he sued the Opry and they settled. His appearances were way up for the 1st couple of years after the settlement and have steadily decreased over time. Not sure why as Stonewall has not said anything. But he still looks pretty good and sounds good.

    There is obviously some type of pecking order at the Opry among the legends and that could explain why some get more appearances than others. That I don't know. You have Ray Pillow who hardly ever does the Opry anymore, yet when he does come he almost always hosts a segment. Jimmy C Newman no longer hosts but is at the Opry almost every week and in my mind, he did not do a bad job hosting.

    As far as a "members only" booking policy, that has gone out the door a long time ago. I printed the interview that Pete Fisher did in 2000 from the Tennessean and that explains it all. I do agree that the Opry does need to invite guest artists. My issue is when it is at the expense of the members. Instead of having an unknown guest sing 2 songs, how about the guest doing one and a veteran Opry member doing one? Makes sense to me.

  21. Aug. 2013- I was with my family at the Hilton Suites in Brentwood on vacation. There had been a bus parked there for a couple of days so we were joking on who's it was. Also, First time for my wife, children and I to the Opry that Sat. Wife and I both born in 1965 and our parents listened to the best. Long time "Too Country" fan!. I wanted to see the Bakersfield exhibit badly (was disappointed with museum another story) OPRY: Sooo.... We got lucky with Jim Ed and his sisters; received his 50 yrs award award first show Sat night.! Freaking awesome seeing him with his sisters! Sunday morning: I look out the glass elevator of the hotel, Jim Ed Brown and Becky are walking out to the bus we joked about! I ran out the doors and yelled "Jim Ed'! He turned and yelled back "who said that"? I talked with him and his wife Becky for 10 min. His bus had a bad battery and they were waiting on a mechanic to take Maxine back home. She would only come to Nashville in the bus. Oh... My wife? eating Breakfast with the kids the whole time this happened. She is not happy with me.... I could tell Jim Ed was tired and frustrated with his bus, but he maintained a complete gentleman and professional performer. He said many prolific things about the industry and his fans that I think most purists can understand. His wife was just as pleasant. I respected their privacy and did not request a photo op. No need for me to go back to the Opry. I have my story and a memory that cannot be topped. When the first time cannot be topped, I'm staying with the "high note"!