Why I Believe Dolly Parton to Be the Most Universally Beloved Person in the World

In the 6th grade we had to pick a song to sing in front of our music class. There I stood in my awkward adolescence. My stomach was round and my breasts were insubstantial. My hair was a dirty blonde Prince Valiant. My stomach was in knots and there is a high likelihood that I had a fever blister. In my Sears “Pretty Plus” outfit, I opened my mouth and started to sing.

“Islands in the stream
That is what we are
No one in between
How can we be wrong
Sail away with me
To another world
And we rely on each other, ah-ha
From one lover to another, ah-ha”

This song was at that time the most beautiful and heartfelt thing I had ever heard. Kenny and Dolly were in love. You could tell by the emotion in their voices. These two people couldn’t stand to be apart. I assumed they were married and lived in a big Nashville mansion with mirrored furniture. Because, how could I have assumed otherwise?

Every time I saw Dolly with her tall blonde wigs, huge breasts, and tiny waist on the big screen I felt sure she was in a relationship with her leading man. She was too beautiful, too sweet, and too sexual for each of those men to not fall in love with her. Her impish giggle and business sense make for a powerful aphrodisiac. Now, I know that she is married and has been since the beginning of recorded time and it seems like Carl knows she is both powerful and beautiful too as Dolly once said, “He (Carl) says he’d think less of any man who didn’t fall in love with me. But he really respects what I do and would hate to stand in the way of that. He always makes me feel pretty, even when I’m not.” So, what I am seeing is a smart, powerful, talented, beautiful, sexual, and loving woman.

While Islands in the Stream is what introduced me to Dolly, what sealed my love is hearing Jolene for the first time. Jolene is for me a Nick Hornby moment. When I sing Jolene I absolutely must close my eyes; I must be fully engaged in the moment when I hear this song. If it comes on while I’m driving I have to pull over. Jolene is just that strong.

“Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
I’m begging of you please don’t take my man
Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
Please don’t take him just because you can
Your beauty is beyond compare
With flaming locks of auburn hair
With ivory skin and eyes of emerald green
Your smile is like a breath of spring
Your voice is soft like summer rain
And I cannot compete with you, Jolene

He talks about you in his sleep
There’s nothing I can do to keep
From crying when he calls your name, Jolene

And I can easily understand
How you could easily take my man
But you don’t know what he means to me, Jolene”

That is some painful shit right there. Who hasn’t felt that about a relationship they were in? I know I have. That terrible ache of feeling that you aren’t enough compared to someone else. For some reason I do not fully understand (deep seeded emotional shenanigans, maybe?), I was under the impression that Jolene was a sister of Dolly’s. Think about that. Knowing you are losing your man to your beautiful sister ups the pain level to an eleven.

I have yet to meet someone who does not have a guttural reaction to hearing Jolene, and it doesn’t matter who is singing it either:

Olivia Newton John = heartbreaking

The White Stripes = heartbreaking + haunting

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes = heartbreaking + fast

Miley Cyrus = heartbreaking

Fiona Apple = heartbreaking

The list could go on forever, because everyone knows that this song is as beautiful and heartfelt as it comes. To put the power of Dolly’s writing in perspective I Will Always Love You has been a number one hit not once but three times. Twice with Dolly and once with Whitney Houston who helped it to be an earworm for the entire year of 1993. But, back to her business tactics for a second, Dolly was so savvy that she owns the publishing and copyrights on all of her songs. When Whitney Houston did that song for The Bodyguard soundtrack Dolly received all the writing and publishing royalties. She said, “When Whitney did it, I got all the money for the publishing and for the writing, and I bought a lot of cheap wigs.” I enjoy the quip, but with a booming theme park, a water park, The Dollywood Foundation, The Dolly Parton Imagination Library, and various other business ventures, I am pretty sure the money didn’t just fund her wig collection.

Dolly is at heart a writer, business woman, and a philanthropist. She takes her perceived stereotypes and breaks them up. You can’t help but love her.

So, out of curiosity, what are your favorite Dolly Parton stories?

Lord, don’t even get me started on my love of 9 to 5 and Straight Talk.


Just so Damn Random

I fear being part of a crime and having what is under my finger nails collected for evidence. Today I have picked both my nose and Saidee’s nose. I scrapped something sticky off of my favorite bracelet. I dug my nails into the softness of the steering wheel as I drove. I scratched at the pimple on the back of my neck. I ate a Weight Watchers peanut butter cup (okay, I ate four).  The remnants of this are collected under my weak and misshapen nails. So what I picture happening is David Caruso swabbing under my nails after I scratch a would-be assailant. The techs would process the nail gunk and the results would come back that I am disgusting. They would never find the criminal I scratched because they would be focused on how a single person can be so gross. I wash my hands, I swear I do, but I also just scratched my ear, so whatever gunk was on/in my ear is now transferred to my fingernail bed and just waiting to be mocked by a crime scene tech.

I fear farting during sex and killing my last sexy moment. Sometimes bending in an odd position just causes you to pass gas. I understand that there is nothing wrong with this and it is a natural occurrence. I am self-aware enough to know that I am holding onto any remnants of sexy by a very thin thread. I think that I lost my sexy card the week I had Saidee. In an attempt to fix damage done by previous C-sections my doctor cut me hip bone to hip bone. A grown man could have been pulled out of the incision that was made. To make the pain less they threaded a pain pump in with the incision. So, this left me with about 30 staples holding my insides in, a pump dangling from my body, a poorly groomed vaginal area, a stomach covered in iodine, and greasy knotted hair from being on my back for two days. I needed a shower in a bad way. I made my way to the shower, hunched over like a 90 year old women with osteoporosis, shuffling my feet the entire way. Once in the shower I became deathly ill and called Carvell for help. He held me up and a nurse found me a chair that I could sit in while I showered. The entire time I was in there he stood next to me and held the pain pump that was tethered to my body. To me sexy needs to have just a hint of secrecy and that day I felt like I had been sliced open and all my secrets were pulled out one by one. That was the day I turned in my sexy card.

I fear having a car accident on a day that I don’t wear underwear. On days that I don’t wear underwear it is not because I am trying for sexy. It is that I can’t find a pair of clean panties in the mound of clothes that rivals Mount Everest that blocks access to my washer and dryer. Normally, I get out of the shower and walk to the laundry pile and start to search. I then become quickly irritated and give up the hunt for my plus-sized underwear. I get dressed in an outfit that will be least likely to show that I am a trollop without any panties on. My fear of being in an accident with no underwear on is directly related to a car accident I had in which I was wearing underwear two sizes too small. I was driving down a road that I didn’t know on a night that was dark, cold, and rainy. As I got ready to turn into a driveway, two idiots who had stolen gas and were trying to make a quick getaway hit me. They didn’t just hit me once. They bumped me, which caused my car to turn, they then t-boned me, which crushed in my driver’s door and pushed my car into a propane tank that busted and began filling my car with the gas. I managed to escape out the passenger side and went for help. While this seems traumatic enough for most people, the real trauma came while I was at the hospital. One of my favorite people in the world showed up at the hospital, Trish “the Dish” Estes. She knew most of the staff and was using any pull she had to get me into a room quickly. She also proceeded to take pictures of me in my too small underpants that kept rolling down onto the middle of my ass. This was not the only time that Trish would photograph me in a compromising situation. She also documented the night I broke my leg and my friends rolled me over like a beached whale in an attempt to straighten my pants and drawers. I love that girl like she is my sister and I know she would give me a kidney if I needed one. I also know that she would poke at the incision from the transplant and photograph me while my hospital gown gapes open from behind.

Other things I fear are birds in flight, sink holes, the fact that there are websites dedicated to the eating of other humans, big scary crickets, mice, large groups of people, and panic attacks. I am working on not concentrating so much on the things that scare me. I will concentrate on the knowledge that Dairy Hill is opening back up and soon on a warm spring day we will go place an order for a cheese dog and some onion rings. I am concentrating on taking Saidee to the park and watching her run and practice cartwheels. I am concentrating on watching my daughters strap skates to their feet and lining up for a two minute jam.  I am concentrating on my love of Pine Sol and just how good it smells.

Today I try for fearless and I concentrate on unconceivable joy.