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After meeting Bill Gaither this bucket list is complete

Sometimes in this business, it isn’t so much what you know as it is who you know. 

A couple of years ago, I wrote about trying to nail the final plank in my bucket list by meeting Bill Gaither. If you have recently transferred in from Uranus, you may not be familiar with the name. Bill Gaither and his wife, Gloria, are to gospel music what Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci were to the High Renaissance period, only the Gaithers are still alive and still making beautiful music.

The pair has written more than 700 songs, many of them classics. The Gaithers are worldwide ambassadors for gospel music. 

In a previous column, I admitted my bucket list was pretty much planked-out. I had shot the breeze with presidents in the Oval Office. I had seen the sun rise in the Scottish Highlands. I had lived a blessed life. But I hadn’t met the Gaithers. My bucket had a hole in it.

That column garnered an unusually large number of responses from readers across the state who had met one or both of the Gaithers and/or had attended their concerts. If the respondents were trying to make me feel better, I appreciated their efforts, but the bottom line was they had met them, and I had not. Then comes an email from Jane Cox, a loyal reader in suburban Atlanta. She and her husband, Michael, not only know the Gaithers, they happen to be good friends. They also enjoy my column and said they would be happy to facilitate a meeting. God is good.

Getting it done wasn’t as easy as it sounds. It took a while. The Gaithers seem to be perpetual motion — touring, writing, producing programs. Finally, it came to pass. In December, the Gaither Christmas Concert came to the Woodstock First Baptist Church and we were there to see it with the Coxes. True to her word, I got to meet Bill Gaither before the show. God is really good. To my delight, he was as gracious and kind as I had hoped he would be. I had my picture made with him which will go on the wall in my office alongside those of three presidents, five U.S. senators, nine former governors and Cameron Charles Yarbrough among others. 

Speaking of special, Jane Cox wasn’t through. After a highly entertaining and inspirational show and more conversation with Bill Gaither, she proceeded to introduce me to several of the show’s performers.  

I am pleased to say this completes my bucket list. And what a way to do it. To finally meet a class act I have long admired and to have two readers-turned-friends determined to make it happen. As I say, it is not always what you know as it is who you know. And I will forever be glad I know Jane and Michael Cox.