Dolly Parton is in the news (11/18/20) because she helped fund research for a COVID19 vaccine, besides being a musical and film and TV star and distributing something like 100 million books to the youngest readers.
I am happy that I made sure to see her last time she played Boston. I hadn’t realized till then what a great songwriter she is as well as being a consummate musical performer. The show was at the Boch Center and the attitude of the women and girls who turned out for her was a joy to experience. If Ms Parton does not win a Gershwin Prize it’s an embarrassment to whoever chooses such things.
Found a copy of her autobiography in a Little Free Library and was glad to learn more about this remarkable and admirable woman.
Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business by Dolly Parton
NY: HarperCollins, 1994
(page 7) Well, this snooty parson in his starched collar stopped by the fence while my daddy was sweating and groaning trying to get a stump out of the ground, and he said, “Hello, Lee, this is a right nice place you and the Lord have here.” Daddy wiped the sweat from his brow with the back of his sleeve and said, “Yeah, well, you should have seen the som’bitch when the Lord had it by hisself."
(31) This was the first indication [a pie supper where Dewey King bought her pie to sit with her] I can remember that boys were interested in me, and I was touched by that. Although I’m not quite sure where.
(33-34) Dolly’s mother would sometimes make Stone Soup with the kids, picking the stone of the neediest kid to go in the soup.
(45) Wouldn’t it be something if we could have things we love in abundance without their losing that special attraction the want of them held for us.
(51) The worst thing about poverty is not the actual pain of it, but the shame of it.
(66) In my childlike way, I came to understand that death is only frightening to those of us left behind.
(72) What has a six-year-old kid done that justified being burned in hellfire? Any time I asked questions like that I was always told I was too young to understand. It seemed to me that should work both ways. I should also be too young to be punished for something I didn’t understand.
(119) There is a healthy amount of dreaming that has to be done for any project to really be worthwhile.
(134) I had loved John Kennedy. Not in the way a woman loves a man but in the way one idealist recognizes another and loves him for that place within themselves that they share. I didn’t know a lot about politics, but I knew that a lot of things were wrong and unjust and that Kennedy wanted to change them. He was young. He was looked at the country with fresh eyes that saw what his predecessors could not or would not. I grieved for the country. For the loss of a spirit that young people and poor people and downtrodden people could share and call their own.
(141) I remembered old stories people would tell about times during the depression when down-and-out diners would go to a café and order a pine float - a glass of water and a toothpick.
(193) You know money don’t make you smart. Money don’t make you happy. But it can make you comfortable if you’re smart enough to be happy.
(215) We do these things [play tricks on each other] for the fun. Carl [Dean, her husband] likes it better when nothing is said and it’s just funny inside. Maybe it stays funny longer that way.
(240) It’s hard when you want the best for everybody but you also want it for yourself.
(306) The poet Emily Dickinson said, “The only thing I know about love is that love is all there is.”
(307) I do think, though, that it’s time we learned to use the word _love_ without cringing. Maybe then we’ll be able to actually do it without making a big deal out of it, to have it be as much a part of our daily lives as eating or sleeping.