A Dollar Well Spent
In the late 1930’s and during the 1940’s Saturday night meant one thing at our house in Northeast Kentucky, it was Grand Ole Opry night. Time for Mom, my brother and I to watch Dad tune in our Philco radio and listen to the country music broadcast from Nashville, Tennessee.
There were so many country music stars such as Little Jimmy Dickens singing “Take an Old Cold Tater(And Wait)”, Ernest Tubb singing “Walking the Floor Over You, or Hank Snow singing “I’m Moving On”.
For this story I want to tell you about Sarah Colley Cannon (1912-1996) she was born 50 miles from Nashville, the youngest of five daughters, to a successful lumber man. She graduated from an upscale school for young ladies and majored in theatre and dance. She was on the Grand Ole Opry from 1940-1991 and on Hee-Haw from 1969-1991. If you don’t already know, her stage name was Minnie Pearl. I won’t try to describe the total outfit she wore but the defining feature was her large flowered hat with a dangling price tag, which now sits on display at the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. And she always came onto stage declaring “How-w-w-DEE-E-E-E! I’m jes’ so proud to be here!”
Some 60 years or so later, I was driving a school bus to a local maintenance and repair center. As I drove, my mind wandered back to one particular comedy bit by Minnie Pearl. When I arrived at the facility, I decided to try and pull off this bit with the pretty woman at the main reception counter. With several people as an audience, I went up to counter and with a raised voice and said, “You know, I’ve been coming here for some time and I want to ask you, do you trust me?”” That statement really caught her attention and that of the others standing nearby. She seemed surprised, and said, “Yes, I do.”” Then I said, “I am going to come behind the counter for a couple of minutes.”
By now everyone was curious what I was up to. I went behind the counter and walked toward her, stopping about three feet away. I took out a dollar bill and said, “I bet you this dollar that I can get no closer to you than three feet and give you a kiss on the cheek.” She agreed. Then I quickly stepped up to her, kissed her on the cheek and stepped back. She loudly stated, “You got closer than three feet.” In my best soft voice I said, “Yes, I know, here is your dollar.”
I loved the sound of the laughter that erupted from the onlookers. She later tried to return the dollar to me, but I insisted she keep it, and told her it was worth it. I left quickly as even more laughter arose. I think Minnie Pearl would have approved.