Keith Cate reunites 95-year-old songwriter with Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton, Mervin Shiner

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Mervin Shiner waited 50 years for this backstage reunion.

Shiner, a country musician who became a star in 1950 after recording “Here Comes Peter Cottontail,” contacted News Channel 8’s Keith Cate when he saw Dolly Parton was coming to Tampa.

Shiner appeared on the Grand Ole Opry and performed with the biggest names in country music.

RELATED: VIDEO: Mervin Shiner performs ‘Peter Cottontail’ & other songs, talks with Keith Cate

“So, I walked into the studio this day and here was a girl. They introduced me to Dolly Parton,” Shiner told News Channel 8.

He met Parton when she was just 20 years old. The future superstar recorded one of Shiner’s songs. Shiner, now 95, became a lifelong fan. When he heard Parton was performing in concert Nov. 26, he bought tickets and began to dream.

Dolly Parton, Mervin Shiner Dolly Parton, Mervin Shiner

“And I sure would like to see her. Just to say hello to her,” he said.

When Keith passed along that humble request to Parton, she sent Shiner a signed picture – and an invitation. Keith was with Shiner when that reunion happened. When Shiner introduced himself to the country legend, she responded, “I know who you are. You wrote a song for me.”

“Get over here and let’s take a picture. And I love the song that I recorded of yours,” Parton said.

Shiner was the first person Parton greeted at the Tampa show. “And you’re still a young man. I remember that song you wrote, “’We Had All The Good Things Going.’”

“That was one of my favorite songs,” Parton added. “You’re a wonderful songwriter. You’ve been a blessing to this world.”

The two talked about a song Shiner sang with Parton, “Put It Off Until Tomorrow.” The stroll down memory lane was brief – but even better than Shiner imagined.

“That was incredible,” Shiner told Keith after. “And you can’t put it into words because everything we talked about we were familiar with.”

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