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Guest Columnist Ronnie Nutt: Gary Morris, Committed To Paris

Gary Morris appears in concert Monday (Mar 2) at a Country Music Theater at First Christian Church. The performance has been sold out for months.

I had the privilege of talking by phone to the famous singer, songwriter, and stage performer who says he is at the beck and call of Paris’ own Ronnie Nutt whenever Ronnie calls him to make a contribution to the community service work First Christian makes throughout the year.

The two met years ago when Ronnie was promoting events in Paris such as the Doug Crenshaw golf tournament and later the Uncle Jesse Bass Tournament. “We discovered we had the same birthday, and we’ve been friends ever since,” Morris said about their friendship. “When Ronnie calls me and says he needs me to do something for the church, I am at his beck and call.”

The entertainer appeared for the church’s 150th anniversary in 2018 and returned a few months later to headline the first Country Music Theater. For Monday’s concert, Morris said he will be performing a mixture of hymns from a couple of his albums as well as a couple of songs from his latest album, “Sense of Pride.” The songwriter described the subject matter which inspired the album’s title song.

Morris said his Dad grew up in East Texas and as a teenager entered World War II where he soon found himself “out front of Gen. George Patton laying wire.” After his mother passed, Morris said he got her diary, and soon found entries about his parents’ early courtship.

“I am so excited, I have a date with Master Sgt. Stanley Morris,” the son said his mother wrote from Mississippi where the couple dated. “He went off to war and they corresponded, but her diary ends on the day they got married.”

After the war, the couple moved to Fort Worth where the entertainer was born. Morris said he will sing “Sense of Pride” along with other songs from the album.

Although he doesn’t admit it, one of the reasons Morris may be so willing to come to Paris is because of Raylene Nutt’s cooking.

“We had a great meal before the last show,” Morris admitted. “She asked me, ‘When are you going to retire?” And I said, ‘Well, I think I will when I can’t sing anymore.’ And she said to me, ‘When will you know what that is?’

“That night at the church about half-way through the set I called out to her and asked her how I was going,” Morris recalled. “She said, ‘you are doing fine.’ It was a little private moment between the two of us.”

Morris said won’t be bringing Ellie May, the English setter he had with him at his past Country Music Theater performance. She and male partner Jethro are expecting pups and are back at the ranch Morris owns in Colorado.

“Most people who lease their place out have a property manager,” Morris said. “I have a dog sitter.”

The entertainer’s willingness to come to Paris for fundraising events is just an example of things Morris does to give back to his community. He hosts yearly trips for disabled veterans to his California ranch where he teaches fly fishing. And just recently, he began weekly free podcasts on his website at garymorris.com where he shares his experiences and advice about the entertainment business for aspiring youngsters and others who might want to test the waters.

“Me coming to Paris is a cool thing,” Morris said. “It is not a big sacrifice for me to take a day or two out of my life where I can come and be a part of the community. “First Christian Church seems to have a great outreach in the community and I am glad to be a small part of that.”

Thanks, Gary Morris for your commitment to community service and thanks for including Paris, Texas, in your KINDNESS, a big word here in our little city.