I asked my student, Misty, to share with my readers some of her vast knowledge about her shero, Dolly Parton, who turns 75 today. Misty’s mom went to high school with Dolly, and when Misty asked her parents to host us in their home this past fall, they pulled out the yearbooks. That’s Misty’s index finger on Dolly’s senior picture. In the group shot below, we show off the “What Would Dolly Do?” t-shirts Misty (second from left) gave us.
So now from Misty Hedrick I give you…
Five Reasons to Love Dolly Parton
1. Billboard estimates Dolly’s current catalog at nearly 5,000 songs. That makes Dolly Parton the most prolific living songwriter. She writes poetry, screenplays, and Broadway musicals, and she starred in hit movies like 9 to 5 and Steel Magnolias. And Dolly now churns out Netflix specials based on her songs, like Jolene and Two Doors Down.
2. From farm-raised to superstardom, Dolly probably never worked 9 to 5 a day in her life. Actually, she recently stated her day begins at 3 AM. Dolly’s business acumen speaks for itself. She owns a publishing company and the rights to her songs. Her award-winning theme park, Dollywood, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, attracts 4 million visitors a year while providing four thousand jobs and invigorating job growth in surrounding communities. Although she visits the park often, she never rides the roller coasters.
3. Dolly Parton gives back. She raised $9M for victims of wildfires that swept through the Smokies in 2016; and she donated $1M to Covid-19 vaccine research. But the real jewel in her generous crown? Dolly’s Imagination Library sends books to children ages birth to 5 years (130 million books at last count). She credits her father, who could not read or write, as the inspiration behind Imagination Library and her title “the Book Lady.”
4. Dolly loves her husband. She met Carl Dean, her husband of 54 years, at the Wishy-Washy Laundromat one day after she moved to Nashville. They eloped two years later, though her new record label wanted her to stay single. At 50 years, they renewed their vows, prompting Dean to dub Dolly his second wife. He stays out of the limelight, but Dolly says they enjoy road-tripping in their camper, and he loves her fried chicken.
5. Dolly Parton loves Jesus. Her faith shines through in her grateful, humble attitude, hard-working spirit, and ever-inclusive soul. Her songs speak of prayer and the power of the gospel to help her through hard times. Dolly’s latest hits include God Only Knows with For King & Country, and There Was Jesus with Zach Williams. Although she calls herself a “Backwoods Barbie,” Dolly always says, “where it counts, I’m real.”