By Becky Jane Newbold
She would have been 100 next year in October, and Minnie Pearl still lives in the hearts of many who knew her well in Centerville and Hickman County.
Plain and simple, the character of Minnie Pearl grew quietly in the mind of Ophelia Colley Cannon during many years of traveling the south working with a theatre company in the 1930s. To the folks at home, she has was the gregarious youngest child of Tom and Fanny Colley, always ready to entertain with song and dance.
Her niece, Mary Beth Pruett, librarian at the Hickman County Public Library, says she remembers well growing up in the family of the star of the Grand Ole Opry.
“She was born a comedian. So much so that when she was a child they never let her be an angel in the church Christmas pageant because they were afraid she would make people laugh,” Pruett tells with a smile.
After Ophelia became famous as Minnie Pearl, she still made frequent trips back home to visit her mother and sisters, sometimes dropping in on a game of Bridge bearing gifts of “big boxes of chocolates,” Pruett remembers. Pruett will share family stories and parts of the Minnie Pearl book, Christmas at Grinders Switch, in a fund raising effort to replace a statue of Minnie Pearl on the town square.