During that time I belonged to a tape club that primarily taped to disabled folks. You taped and shared music, talked “letters, etc. For years I had done such with a blind man named Bill in West Plains, MO. Bill loved country music and he loved the Opry, but had never been. One fall my wife and I invited Bill to come to Nashville for a week-end. He was welcome to stay at our house and we would be responsible for getting him about; so Bill and his friend rode a Greyhound bus from their home in West Plains, MO to Nashville. On the Saturday evening of his stay I had made arrangements with some of my connections to get Bill, his friend he brought with him and me to sit on the stage of the Opry. They were like kids in a candy shop. While sitting on stage with them I told them I needed to go backstage and I would return shortly. I went to Acuff’s dressing room and told him of the two blind fans of his, and how they had made their way on a bus to Nashville to visit the Opry. I asked Mr. Acuff, “May I bring them by your dressing room for a very quick hello?” I will never forget Acuff’s reaction. His answer was “No, no don’t move them, let me get on your arm as I don’t see too well in these dark hallways, and you take me to meet them where they are sitting.” There is no way to describe Bill’s and his friend’s reactions and emotions when I said, “Fellas, there’s a gentleman here who wants to say hello and express his appreciation for the trouble you have taken to be here tonight.” They were practically speechless when meeting Mr. Acuff.
Over the years I’ve dealt with a number of celebrities but none could have been more thoughtful and kinder to their fans than Mr. Acuff was on that evening. Even today when I hear or play that song, I think of the time he made the evening special for two blind men.
Roy Acuff passed away twenty-one years ago on this date, November 23, 1992.
November 23, 2013