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Minnie Pearl The Lady and Her Legend
Many of us who grew up in the 1950's sat by the radio on Saturday evenings listening to the Grand Old Opry. This was the Golden Era of Country Western music with great entertainers like Roy Acuff,Carl Smith,Ernest Tubb and the great Hank Williams and women like Kitty Wells and who could ever forget the piano playing of Dell Woods. There were so many others as well who influenced the development of a style of music we all came to love.the songs were ballads that told of the heartbreaks of love and life. One man in later years told he had written the perfect Country Western song which included all the basic themes such as love, mama, trucks and trains and wrote a special song that included all of them.
The Opry had several male comediennes and duo's like Homer and Jethro but when one woman took to the stage everyone stopped what they were doing and put their ears up closer to the old radio. Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon better known to all of us as Minnie Pearl was a favorite. I share her birthday October 25 but she was born in 1912 and I in 1948. Minnie died March 4, 1996 at the age of 83 having given us a style of country humor most of us who live in the country can appreciate. She always said she was from Grinders Switch but Minnie was born in Centerville, Tennessee. She appeared for over 50 years on the Grand Old Opry and in her later years on the popular televison show Hee Haw.Minnie was a regular visitor to our town of Hendersonville, NC. Her trademark hat with the price tag still dangling and her girlish grins and laughter warmed our hearts.
Minnie began her career touring the country producing and directing musical and it was while doing these she adopted her character Cousin Minnie Pearl. Her trademark hat with the price tag was well received. Minnie was a lady above all and her sweetness is a reminder of how things once were.
I couldn't help think of Minnie Pearl this week when I was asked by several folks,"Robert, do you have on a new pair of shoes?" After the second or third time I became a little suspicious why so much attention was drawn to my feet. I didn't think anyone would ever take notice of a balding man wearing a new pair of shoes or why would they?. We were in the Mast General Store here in town a few weeks ago and I did infact purchase two pairs of shoes, long over due for me since I am one who will wear the soles right off any pair of shoes that I like. At my wife's insistence, I bought a pair of Keens for everyday wear and a pair of Sunday shoes to wear to church.
While visiting my mom yesterday, my brother who just happened to be in town from Asheboro and also visiting our mom,asked me if I had on a new pair of shoes. We both were sitting on the sofa and I had my legs crossed. Apparently he had seen the price sticker that was still attached to the sole of my right shoe. It wasn't until I got home and wondering why so many questions had been asked about my shoes did I finally take off my shoes to have a look. Sure enough as big as life there was the price sticker in plain view for all to see should I cross my legs. I was just like Cousin Minnie Pearl and though unintended, I had not removed the price sticker from my shoe.
I play bass guitar at church and next to the piano when playing. I also have a habit of crossing my legs so without a doubt the whole congregation of the Cedar Springs Baptist Church knew I had on a pair of new shoes. Go figure!
Minnie Pearl a legendary entertainer who made us laugh will always be remembered for good clean fun with just a hint of naughtiness we may all resonate and appreciate.