It took me several years to meet Chet in person, but I met him via the
U.S. Postal Service when I was about 12 and just barely able to get my
right thumb and fingers to do the thump thing properly.
Anyway, I was into Chet by means of records and radio. I was even able
to tune him in on WSM Saturday nights at 8:30 for his segment on the
Opry, all the way from Wichita, Kansas.
So one day I decided to write him in care of RCA, Nashville, and ask him
for an autographed picture. To my delight and amazement, he responded. I
couldn't believe my eyes.
"To Dennis, My Best, Chet Atkins." That is what he wrote on the 8x10
glossy photo. I couldn't wait to show it to my older brother, who at the
time was harvesting wheat at our uncle's farm in Oklahoma. My brother,
also a Chet fan, learned the Chet method before me, but I beat him to
the punch with a genuine, autographed photo of our hero.
Years later, my brother and I met The Man in person backstage following
a concert in Oklahoma. What a thrill. I'll never forget how soft his
right hand was while we were shaking hands.
I still have the photo, and it is on a special wall which honors the
best ever, Chet Atkins.
- Denis Crider