That's possibly how my letter to the producers of my favorite TV program will begin. Or maybe "Dear Larry Black" or "Dear Bill Anderson".
I binge-watch the show over and over again. If any of the aging country singers mentions she's written a book, I'm all over that, googling until I find out if it's affordable. I used to record all the (partial) episodes on RFDTV. That was before Larry Black decided to have his own channel to show this stuff, a streaming channel available 24 hours a day. Before they started the Country Roads station, I signed up to get two DVD's monthly for $10, each DVD a portion of one of their gatherings. So we watched those, too.
When they launched the streaming channel, the cost to subscribe was $10 a month; but they kindly decided, I suppose, that those folks paying $10 monthly for two CD's might feel a little cheated on the deal. So for a period of one year, they are letting us, the buyers of the DVD's, have access to everything on Country Roads, a smart move on their part. When my free year is over, I will cancel the DVDs and pay the $10 monthly to continue getting Country Roads.
I suppose it's a sign of older age that I've realized about all the pleasure I'm getting out of life nowadays is what I find on television, on the Internet, and in books. Yes, it's come to that. Having been a loner all my life, I also find myself considering those old country singers as close friends of mine (I've always had a vivid imagination). I've watched the shows so much (the unedited versions can run for four to six hours, mostly just people talking about old times) that I find myself calling Jeanie Seeley simply "Seeley", because that's what my other friends (on the show) call her. I cringe when I'm watching some of the older shows if someone calls Jean Shepherd "Jeanie", because she's made it known many times she hates being called Jeanie. When I watch the last show Charlie Louvin attended I almost tear up when he says he's doing better and he's trusting the Lord to heal him, because I know it was filmed shortly before he died with cancer.
Many older singers have rejuvenated their careers by being on the show. I'm not sure how it will all end, since most of their fans are my age and older, but it's worked out well for them so far. I wish they could outlive all their fans, but over thirty of those who appeared on the first show in 1997 have died.
Oh, and the books they've written! Jean Shepherd, Bill Anderson, Charlie Louvin, Georgette Jones, Moe Bandy, and others. Many times I'll be watching an older show, as I was last night, hear someone mention a book he's written, and find it for $1.99 for the Kindle edition... you know, because they're older books. Last night I bought a Kindle book by Georgette Jones, daughter of George and Tammy Wynette.
I used to have questions in my mind that I wished I could ask some of my favorite singers, but now I don't even feel the need to approach them for so much as a picture. If I watch Country's Family Reunion enough, I get the answers to any of my questions, with a little help from Google, on my nearby iPad. Those folks are my friends! I know about their partying days, how some of them got saved at some point and laid off the booze (but they still laugh, telling the stories of their youthful craziness), and their occasional lapses, falling off the wagon and then climbing back on. When they do one of the "second generation" shows, the middle-aged children of some of the older singers know one another because they were mostly raised in Nashville and went to school together. Some of the kids sound unbelievably like their famous parents when they sing. Others, not so much.
I've thought many times that there could never be a long-lasting series called "Rock's Family Reunion". Most famous rock singers didn't live in a specific, central location and get to know one another. Rock has nothing even remotely like the Grand Ole Opry to keep people coming back, getting together, and interacting. It could only work for country singers (and gospel singers... think what the Gaithers have done).
So I'm determined to write a letter of thanks to Larry Black, who thought up the whole concept, and maybe Bill Anderson, who hosts most of the shows. I can't wait too long, because they're old too! But in the meantime, I'm hoping this blog entry will get my thoughts centered on what I want to say to them.
They've put the gold in my golden years.