|Jesse Parnell During WWII|
Jesse Parnell served in WWII, raised four children, and flew with the Indy Honor Flight, so he’s pretty hard to surprise. But when Jesse’s daughter Darlene Parnell heard that Connie Smith would be at the resort, she began making plans. “Dad has listened to country music forever,” Darlene said. “I can remember as a child listening to country songs when we were driving to my grandparents. He just loves it.”
“Connie Smith is his all-time favorite singer,” Darlene said. “Saturday nights on RFD TV, when the Marty Stuart Show comes on and Marty features his country queen – Connie Smith, we can’t even talk with Dad. We have to wait until the show is over. He’s really a fan!”
|Jesse Parnell Today|
Darlene knew that she had to get tickets to see Marty Stuart and Connie Smith perform at French Lick. She wrote the resort, explaining that after an active life, having served in WWII, raising four children working as a warehouse superintendent in Indianapolis, and flying with the Indy Honor Guard, there was one thing the 91-year-old still hoped to do: meet Connie Smith. French Lick Resort decided to make it a show Jesse would never forget.
Darlene knew ahead of time that Jesse would be meeting Connie but she only told him that they would be attending the concert. “He will be so surprised,” she said. “He’s very happy about going to the concert, he hopes she “sing his favorite song, ‘Once a Day’.”
|Jesse finds out he'll meet Connie Smith|
Concert day arrived, cool and drizzly. It was Friday, March 17th - St Patrick’s Day, so the majority of resort guests were sporting green shirts, pants and headgear, Darlene and Jesse included. Jesse was excited but he didn’t suspect a thing.
It wasn’t until Darlene and Jesse went to pick up their tickets that he learned he would get to meet his idol, and get photos taken with her. Jesse was speechless! Darlene said that her dad had never met anyone famous.
|Jesse Parnell and Connie Smith|
Now he has, and the fact that it was Connie Smith – his all-time favorite singer – well, the look on Jesse’s face says it all: Ain’t We Having Us a Good Time!
By Joy Neighbors