There has never been, nor will there ever be a more devoted Chet Atkins
than me. When I was but a small child, my dad had an 8-track tape of Chet's
greatest hits in our 1964 Pontiac Catalina. I memorized every lick,
thumb-beat and harmonic note. As I grew and took up guitar, it was Chet whom
I tried to emulate.
I finaly got to see Mr. Guitar in person first with the Charlotte Symphony in
1989. Shortly thereafter I saw him with Stanley Jordan at the Charleston, SC
Imagine my excitement upon learning he was coming to Wilmington, NC where
I reside. I purchased excellent seats the day they went on sale. My office
was across the street from the concert hall which tempted me to try to "run
into" him during the afternoon setup/practice. Unfortunately, I was
disappointed to find out the practice was closed to spectators. As I was
walking back to my office, however, I looked across the parking lot, and who
was putting money in a parking meter but Chester himself. I approached him
with some reticence, and told him I was a lifelong fan. He was as gracious a
gentleman as he is a genius with a guitar. He talked with me until I felt I
was overstaying my welcome.
I have met many famous people in my life. None, however, have made me
feel as comfortable as Chet Atkins. Meeting Chet and shaking his talented
hand was the thrill of a lifetime. He is an American treasure.
- Gary Winstead
The FULL LIST of "When I Met Chet" stories