Hannah and I are on Skaggs’ backstage guest list this evening, so we have a little date at the Opry. Hannah works in HR for the company that owns the Opry, so they all know her down there, but it’s fun to go “off the clock.”
When I moved to town in '04 I got a job in the Opry Gift Shop (where my girlfriend, Hannah, also worked!) and had a blast. After a couple years, I had gotten a gig and played the Opry my first time, though I still worked there in the gift shop. I would work the gift shop every weekend that I wasn’t traveling.
It was so funny, because the VP of the Opry at that time was a real stickler for employees not to mingle with the entertainers. The VP didn’t know me by name, but he’d come through the Gift Shop and see me in there. Then, the next weekend I would be in stage clothes playing the Opry, and he’d walk by…and he’d do a double take! This went on for near a year and he couldn’t figure it out, I could tell.
Finally, I was playing the Academy of Country Music awards in Las Vegas and I was on an escalator with him in the big casino. He glanced at me and I could tell he was confused again, and I said, “Pete, can I interest you in purchasing a Grand Ole Opry Picture History Book?” He just stared at me and said, “What is going on here?!” Hahahhahaha! I said, “Pete, I work in the Gift Shop, but I also play on the stage with various acts.” We (or mainly I) had a good, good laugh.
I had so much fun working at the Opry! I got to meet so many heroes, even though I wasn’t “supposed” to talk with them. Here’s a guy you might recognize, a highlight of working there!