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My dad was in Emory University Hospital in Atlanta Ga. recovering from a brain tumor. I was seven years old at the time, and during the drive up to visit him, the WSB announcer on the car radio said, "and now here's a requested song dedicated to Julian Smith from his dad." The song was, "Poor People Of Paris", by Chet Atkins. Even through his pain and suffering, my dad still cared enough to do this for me. That first introduction to Chet's music on the car radio was enough to inspire me to learn guitar and devote the rest of my life to his playing style.

Forty-two years later in 1997, I got a somewhat unsual phone call from a fellow picker and friend, James Childers, inviting me to Mountain Hill, Georgia to meet Chet Atkins personally at the "Chet Atkins Parkway", I-185 Road dedication.

I then learned that Chet also was recovering from a brain tumor. This was a shock to me. I was totally unaware that he had been ill. I remember going into the school room where Chet was signing autographs. I had rehearsed what I was going to say to him over and over, but when I sat near him, I only looked at him as though I was looking at God. He looked at me with his deep, humble, knowing eyes as if to say,"I understand". I don't think I said a single word to him, I was totally speechless. To finally be in the presence of my life long "Hero", was an experience I will never forget.

I have since thought about how my first experience with Chet on the radio paralleled that of my 1997 meeting with Chet.

- Julian Smith

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