Going into the Hall

Written by Don Reid. Posted in General

What’s On My Mind right now is the upcoming Country Music Hall of Fame induction of the Statler Brothers.  This will happen in Nashville on Sunday night June 29th of this year.  And what this means to my ‘brothers’ Harold, Phil, Jimmy, Lew and myself is not something I’ll probably be able to capture in this writing.  My concern is whether I’ll even be able to express it at the official ceremony.  I’ll give it a try both places but feel confident only in that I’ll fall short both times.

We got the call back in January.  I was standing in my kitchen at the time and had to sit down rather heavily as my knees refused to accept the news any better than my heart did.  Only difference was my heart was racing and my knees were unable to.

Never had we allowed ourselves to even think about the possibilities of residing in the Hall one day.  Others had mentioned it to us and expressed kindly that we should already be in there but then that’s the kind of things people say to you who love you.  I never took it seriously.  But then the day came when we had to trek to Nashville for the public announcement to the world.  This little press event began early in the morning of February 12 in the enormous hall where all the plaques of all the Hall of Fame members are displayed.  What a sight!

As I walked around looking at and reading each plaque with a cup of coffee in my hand (I had oddly never been there before), I got reacquainted with some old friends and some old heroes.  There against the west wall was Tex Ritter and his history.  One of our first and dearest friends in this business.  Then Roy and Gene.  And, of course, Johnny Cash (the reason we were ever in this business).  June and Mother Maybelle.  Eddy Arnold.  Even good friends who had been contemporaries of ours such as Sonny James and Bill Anderson and Brenda Lee.  And then an executive came up quietly behind me and said, “And over here, Don, is where your plaque will hang.”

“And that’s when I woke up,” to quote a punch line from Tex’s “Hillbilly Heaven”.  I woke up and felt the chills running across my back.  This is the place where our heroes live and now we’ll live here with them.  The reality had finally hit me.  We really were going into the Hall of Fame.

People have asked for years which of our awards have meant the most and I’ve always been very diplomatic with my answer.  But now I think I can be brazenly honest. I’m really looking forward to this one.  On the 29th of June they’ll hang a medallion around each of our necks and make it official.  We’ll say our insufficient thank yous, the people will applaud politely and then we’ll all adjourn.  But we all won’t go home.  A little piece of us will stay there in that sacred Hall forever and ever with Tex and John and June.  And who knows, when it gets quiet and dark in there late one night we might all do a song together again.


May 29, 2008