Friday, May 23, 2008

A Brush With Fame

Have you ever had a brush with fame? My one, brief brush happened to be with one of my all-time favorites. Ever since I was a kid, I have loved Dolly Parton. I’m not a loyal listener of country music, but I do like it when I happen to hear it. When I was very young, I spent most every weekend with my granny and she liked to watch all the country music programs on TV. Of course, one of those shows was The Porter Wagoner Show. I’m sure you know that Dolly Parton was a regular on the show and was a singing partner to Porter. My granny could not stand Dolly because of her high pitched voice, and because she wore a wig, but I just loved her from the very start. Maybe it was her gaudy, colorful look, or her twangy, country voice, I don’t really know but I liked her and never missed the show. I also thought she looked just like my mom’s friend, Celia, except Celia had dark hair. I liked Celia a lot too. But, I digress. Anyway, back to Dolly. . . . Several years ago, maybe 11 or so, I read in the paper that Dolly Parton would be making an appearance at a local bookstore to sign her new autobiography, 'Dolly – My Life and Other Unfinished Business'. Well, I knew I just had to go ‘cause this would be my only chance to see Dolly. I asked friends to go with me but no one would, so I took a ½ day off from work that day and went alone. She was supposed to be there at 5:00 but I was advised to go early and get a good place in line. I got there about 11:30, bought my book, and got in line. The line was already quite long. I hoped I’d get to actually talk to her for a moment and so I rehearsed in my mind all the things I would say in the few moments I was gonna have with Dolly Parton! I was gonna tell her what a great fan I was, and that my favorite song of hers was 'Hard Candy Christmas', and that I loved her in 'The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas', etc, etc. There was this college student in front of me in line who struck up a conversation with me and we talked quite a lot that day. We had nothing else to do but wait. Anyway, she was saying how she was going to ask Dolly to meet her later for an interview so she could write a paper for class, blah, blah, blah. I knew good and well, Dolly was not going to meet her later but I just encouraged her and let her hope for the best. Well, finally, the time had come! Dolly had arrived! We all stood up (we had been sitting in the floor all afternoon) and straightened our clothes and freshened our faces so we’d look good when we met Dolly. As I got closer to the front of the line, I noticed that people weren’t getting to spend much time with Dolly so I started cutting down my “speech” in my mind. Then, it was down to the college girl in front of me. Well, I’ll have you know, that girl tried to talk to Dolly about meeting for the interview and all this other stuff, and the guards were trying to move her along but she was very hard to budge, so they told me to just go on up. This girl was still talking while I was in front of Dolly and as Dolly signed my book, all I could get out was, “Dolly, I love you!”, and I was pushed out of the way along with the college girl that was still talking – uuuggghhhh! Of course, it wasn’t Dolly’s fault, but those guards should not have let that girl take up my Dolly time. That was it and I’ve never had the opportunity to see her in person again, but I’m still hopeful. I will say that I think she is very pretty and I was so close to her that I could easily reach across and touch her. She looked just as lovely in person as she does on TV. I was very surprised.

Throughout the years I have grown to appreciate Dolly Parton for the true poet that she is. She wrote the majority of the songs she sings, herself. For instance, these words to 'Love is Like a Butterfly: "
Love is like a butterfly, as soft and gentle as a sigh; the multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings. Love makes your heart feel strange inside; It flutters like soft wings in flight. Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing."

Of course one of the very best is Coat of Many Colors, which was written about an actual event in Dolly's childhood. It always makes me cry, so I won't note any of those lyrics - just trust me . . . oh well, "They didn't understand it but I tried to make them see, that one is only poor, only if they choose to be. Though we had no money, I was rich as I could be in my coat of many colors that my mama made for me."

One song that I never cared for in the past was Jolene. I don’t know why I didn’t like it but it did not appeal to me at all. As I started to appreciate music more, I started to listen to words more. Today, Jolene is one of my favorite karaoke songs to sing, and I really like the song a lot. Just “listen” to this: "Your beauty is beyond compare, with flaming locks of auburn hair, with ivory skin and eyes of emarald green. Your smile is like a breath of spring; your voice is soft like summer rain, and I cannot compete with you, Jolene.
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."
Dolly wrote (and sang) with such passion about this beautiful woman about to take away the only man she's ever loved. The way she describes the woman makes you actually see Jolene in your mind’s eye. She knew she could never compare to that kind of beauty so she resorted to humbly begging Jolene not to take her man. How poetic is that?!

If anybody out there happens to know Dolly, tell her I’m out here and would really like to meet her – again.


Sandra said...

Denise, that was great!!! I wish I could have gone with you that day!!! I love her too! Me, Sheria, and Sheila got to see her at the Grand Old Opry when we went to the IAAP convention several years ago - she is a doll! And you picked my 3 favorite songs of hers!! Especially the Coat of Many Colors - I cannot listen to it without squawling!!!! Keep it up, girl! Love you!
Sandra :)

Mama Mia said...

Hi Denise! thanks for stopping by my blog. Amy told me to keep an eye on you while she is gone! I love your blog and have it bookmarked to visit.
I love that Dolly has Homeschool Days at Dollywood and she has a fantastic literacy program where she gives away ALOT of books to kids who don't have much....I'll be back! : )

Amy said...

Denise, I just bought Dolly Parton's Greatest Hits CD for my friend Kenny's 40th birthday.

When we were teenagers, he had to drive his mother's car to pick me up, because his car was in the shop. Once he picked me up, he realized that he had left all of his "cassette tapes" in his car. So that meant it was either the radio or some of his "Mom's" music.......

Long story short, Dolly Parton was in the cassette player.....Jolene was the first song that played.
It took us a minute (because we didn't want to admit to each other that we liked it) but before we knew it, we were both singing Jolene OUT LOUD! :)

We made each other pinky swear that we would never tell anybody else about that......And I kept my promise for a lot of years....but on his 40th birthday, I outed him.:)