What Dolly Parton means to me

Last night was one of the most amazing nights of my life. Dolly Parton was performing at Wolftrap. One of the things I love about Virginia’s Wolftrap performing arts center (and I think it is the only one in the country) is that it is actually IN a national park. So there is all this lush greenery and a stage and some seating but a large lawn where folks can sit and just listen.

Renee and I originally were going to try and catch Dolly in Philadelphia or Pigeon Forge. As was pointed out, she turned 70 this last January and likely wouldn’t be doing too many national tours after this. Luckily for us, and not so luckily for someone else, they broke their foot and couldn’t attend. The result? Monday night we learned we could go to the Wednesday night performance!!!!

We planned a full picnic. 🙂  Brie (and 3 other kinds of cheese), prosciutto, black pepper cheese loaf, fancy chocolate, apples, raspberries, strawberries, tea, ginger beer, cider. An extra big blanket, another for cover, a body pillow, a regular pillow, as well as snacks and a dish for the dog! Yes, we do snooty picnics. Can’t help it cheese plates are among my most favorite things in the WORLD.

It was lovely and Dolly Parton was in full voice. And I must admit, like the rest of the world, as much as we love her for her songs, we also love her for her wit and charm. She told jokes and shared stories, all the while engaging the audience and making us feel like we were special.

I have very few people on my bucket list and all for very different reasons. But one of the reasons that she is so important to me is because of leadership. That sounds like an odd thing to say about an actor and country music singer but I remember years ago, when i was trying to figure out who I wanted to be and HOW I wanted to be, I found a quote of hers that really spoke to me. It tends to be misattributed to John Quincy Adams, but it is definitely Dolly.

Doly Parton Quote - If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.

If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, then, you are an excellent leader. – Dolly Parton

I can’t say I’ve always gotten it right, but it is who I want to be in the things that I choose to do, whether that is working with policy, politics, fiction, film, or just being me. She trusts in faith, and firmly believes in seeing the good in people and accepting them for who they are. She “shares the candy” in spreading her good fortune with literacy groups, raptor rescue and many others that I don’t even know. Good advice for life, I think. And a good example for life.  That is why I adore Dolly Parton and so desperately wanted to see her.

Thrilled to be able to cross this item off my Bucket List.


PS Special thanks to Jen Horan for taking the awesome pic above. Makes it even more special as that image came from OUR concert.

Just Bought My First Lottery Ticket

I’ve never really been one for games of chance, but with the lottery now standing at $1.3 billion, even I can’t resist. So I give you proof of this “first.”


Thanksgiving is about the memories

Wonderful reflection on the day from an awesome family member. Thanks Bill M.!

When I was a kid, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, cousins would gather on Thanksgiving in the holler on the Little Niangua. Teasing of the kids was a part of the gathering as well as deer hunting, duck hunting, squirrel hunting etc. The game was prepared and cooked and was part of the larder added to the table already groaning from the weight of hams and turkey that had been smoked in the old wood smoke house. Vegetables grown in our gardens provided a vivid pallet of color. Butter and cottage cheese made from the milk provided by our cows added to the bounty. The desert table represented a competition between the ladies of the gathering to see who the uncrowned champion would be for this year.

After the bounty was consumed the adults would divide up some to do dishes, some to get water from the well as there was no running water in the house. Some went to the woods to cut wood for the Grandparents to heat their house. Cousins would help with various jobs dependent on age and gender. After the work had been accomplished male cousins would engage in battles to see who was the alpha male and female cousins would make certain the battle didn’t get out of hand.

In the evening left overs were consumed the livestock cared for and conversation among the adults turned to new ones at the gathering and ones who would no longer be at the table. Late in the evening some would make their way back home, some might engage in a coon hunt, and young ones would be piled into a feather bed to soon be fast asleep.

Now days the Grandparents, parents, and several of the Aunts, and Uncles are gone to their reward. Cousins have become the Grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles. New generations of cousins with new ways occupy the tables, and add to the joyous cacophony of young voices. The hunt is no longer a part of the celebration, and the house can be warmed by the flip of a switch. Water comes into the house by turning on a facet, and the outhouse is gone.

I look back in those days with fondness and if I close my eyes and listen I can still see those no longer with us. I hear their voices and their laughter ringing in my ears. The smells from the kitchen of long ago wafts through my memory and I can still taste items on that groaning long table. I then know what I am thankful for, memories.

I think that about captures my feelings for the day as well. Happy Thanksgiving and I hope you have many wonderful memories (both past and being made right now) to be thankful for.

Uncle Sam's Thanksgiving Dinner (November 20, 1869) - Come one, come all. Free and Equal. No, we're not there yet, but today, the sentiment is especially important.

Uncle Sam’s Thanksgiving Dinner (November 20, 1869) – Come one, come all. Free and Equal.
No, we’re not there yet, but today, the sentiment is especially important.