(For you youngsters out there, Conway Twitty was a Nashville sex symbol, the male heartthrob of that B.G. (Before Garth) era. If you can imagine a middle-age sex symbol with a pot belly and helmet hair that could have deflected a bullet.)
And I've been thinking about him not just because he's right there at my elbow every time I turn on CMT. "He ain't country," Conway Twitty's ghost says of 90 percent of the acts we see. "She ain't country - and she better put some clothes on before she catches her death of cold."
I've been thinking about Conway because he was the first country star I ever talked to. Well, I said two words to him, and he said two words to me. Not what you'd call an in-depth discussion. But I've never forgotten those four words.
I saw Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn in concert together. (For you youngsters out there, Conway and Loretta were sort of the Tim and Faith of their day, only Loretta could rhyme the words "hard" and "tired", something Faith Hill couldn't accomplish without a complete larynx transplant.)
After the show, I stood in line for their autographs. I didn't want to be just another faceless fan. I wanted to make an impression, something that would make Conway laugh or think or remember me. But the only thing I could think to say once I got to the front of the line was "Nice Boots."
"Thanks, man," said Conway. But you could tell by the way he said it, he was thinking what a witty, charming guy I was.
I wanted to say something memorable to Loretta as well. But I couldn't think of a thing. She wasn't wearing boots.