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I met Chet Atkins for the first time in, I believe, 1965, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Chet, Floyd Cramer, and Boots Randolph, [ The Music Masters ] tour, played at the War Memorial auditorium. After the show, outside and behind the building, several fans had gathered. I was among them, hoping for an autograph. The three of them came out and greeted the small group from an elevated platform, like a loading dock. Mr. Atkins asked me if he could borrow my pen to sign autographs. I said, sure. In a minute or so, he handed it back and said thanks. I said something brilliant, like, your welcome. Having come face to face with my hero, I was experiencing "brain freeze" for the first time! A phenomenon that I was to experience several more times in the future, when meeting him.

As the proceedings were winding down, I noticed a group of the sidemen from the show were standing under the trees chatting and having a smoke. Among them was a brash young man that Mr. Atkins had brought on the tour for exposure. He had a couple of records out that were starting to get some attention, and I was sure that his would be a big name in the music business, so i went over and asked for his autograph, which he gladly gave.

And now, nearly forty years later, Chet Atkins is still my hero, both musically and personally. I still have the program from that show, signed by those four great men, and will treasure it always. Oh, that brash fellow under the trees was Jerry Reed, and I believe he has done quite well in the music business.

- Marvin R. Self, Jr.

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