A couple of weeks ago, the nice folks at Cracker Barrel hosted a ‘gold party’ for our Hymns album. Incredibly, the record has sold over 500,000 copies since it came out last February. They had me and my family and our team come to the CB headquarters just outside of Nashville to celebrate. And the Gaither folks gave out gold records to me and some of the main Cracker Barrel team.
It was a special moment for our family. So honored to be part of such a wonderful milestone, especially for an album that means so much to us and to so many other people.
After Paul from the Gaither’s gave out his awards, I came up front and gave out a few gold records that we had made to some of the special people on our team who helped Joey and me turn the idea of a hymns album into a reality... our manager Aaron, our harmony singer and daughter Heidi, co-producer Joe West, John, Daniel, Sandy, Mark... and Russdriver.
Now I know that never-in-a-million years would a bus driver have expected to get a gold record, and ours sure didn’t expect to get one either... but he did. And he deserves it too. He deserves a dozen of them. For all that he’s done for us through the years and for all he’s still doing.
After the party, our older daughters headed home with Indy in their car, and Russ and I took our time making our way back to the farm together, thinking about the past and the journey that had brought us here.
As we were driving, Russ asked if I was hungry and so we decided to stop and get some dinner on the way home. I told him to pick anywhere he wanted to go and he said he was going to surprise me. And to say the least... I was surprised when he pulled the suburban into the parking lot at Williamson Medical Center hospital. He looked at me with a big smile and said, “they have pretty good food in the cafeteria, and it’s inexpensive.” Now I’m always up for an adventure, so I went along for the ride. We came in through the big front doors and proceeded to walk right past the cafeteria and get in an elevator and as Russ hit the ‘2’ button, he said, “Mama’s in the hospital, I just wanna check on her.”
It was cold outside that evening, but I noticed that instead of wearing his coat, he was carrying it, with something wrapped inside. When we walked into the room, there was Russ’s mama, sweet as can be. And he said, “guess what mama... I got a gold record.” And my forty-one-year-old friend might as well have been a four-year-old little boy, grinning ear to ear as he showed mama Brisby his award.
I melted into a puddle... realizing what this moment meant to him. And to his Mama. It was all I could to do to hold back the tears and reach for my phone to capture this sweet moment. Him, grinning ear-to-ear, and his Mama telling him how proud she was of her little boy. It was one of the sweetest things I think I’ve ever seen.
I so wish Joey could’ve been here with me... to accept the gold record that we were given for the album that she loved so much and to honor those who helped us make it. And even more so, when Russ shared it with his mama.
Like mama Brisby, I know Joey would’ve been so proud.