This morning on "Coffee Country & Cody" AND Charlie, the weekday wake-up show on WSM-AM 650, Bill Cody told how today is the birthday of Ernest Tubb. Then his "Cody Classic Song of the Day" (aired weekdays about 6:55 AM) was one of E.T.'s hit country songs. I appreciated this, because I honor E.T. Not because I'm a great fan of his; I like his "Waltz across Texas" and "Walking the Floor", for sure, but I find his voice isn't all that pleasant for the listening ear.
However, long before I found out about the Grand Ole Opry, I knew the name Ernest Tubb. Then, once I became a fan of country music and the Opry, I got to attend the show for the first time, during a convention of my fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha, at Opryland Hotel. The year was around 1982. This was when the hotel was fairly new and before the first of many expansions - it was still just a "mom & pop" business then, that happened to be next to a theme park and also the world's largest radio studio.
I cannot say that the other three "Pillars of the Opry" made much of an impression on me. Not Roy Acuff, nor Minnie Pearl ('tho later I became a great fan) nor Bill Monroe (I don't even remember that he & his Bluegrass Boys were on that evening. But E.T. made quite an impression. Perhaps because his was the name among the "Four Pillars" I had known before I was even aware of the Opry's existence. What then inscribed itself indelibly in my memory is how when other artists were on stage performing during E.T.'s part of the show, he as host would gesture with his right hand to raise the applause of the audience. That gesture really impressed me!
Years later another fact about E.T. caught my attention. It was that early in his life he moved to San Antonio and was a deejay on station WOAI. Listening to the records of other artists that he sent out over the airwaves, E.T. decided that he could sing as well as they could. And so a singing career got launched -- and not the only one that came out of a deejay of a San Antonio radio station (the late Charlie Walker of the Opry was one of the other S.A. radio deejays-turned-singer). Finding out that somebody I admire has direct connection with that city in Texas always deepens my admiration!
And so, I'm thankful that Bill Cody called our attention to Ernest Tubb's birthday (9 February A.D. 1914) and honored his memory by playing an E.T. song as his classic for the day!