How I Became BFFs with Dolly Parton (Sort of)

I am the person advertisers are targeting when they cast miniature horses and cute puppies in their ads. I should not be allowed to watch TV. I’m a total sucker. Don’t believe me? Ask me what I did over the Christmas break.

Dollywood. I threw my family in the car and drove 6+ hours to Dollywood.

It started late last Monday. I sat down with the kids to catch up on some of the holiday shows we had taped (or DVR-ed for those of you younger than 40). They agreed to watch ten minutes of “Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors.” Two hours later we were hooked, and I was certain Dolly and I were kindred spirits. I was equally certain she was inviting me to come to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee to say hi. I think this is how stalking starts…

Saul is a good sport. His basketball team was off for a few days and he didn’t seem at all surprised when Tuesday afternoon I suggested we point the minivan south.

Saul: Where are we going?

Me: Dollywood.

Saul: Why?

Me: Because I watched her movie and now I love her.

Saul: Oh. Okay.

We got into Dolly’s brand new DreamMore Resort about 9pm. Walking into the hotel was like stepping inside my mind– all filled with butterflies, and comfy chairs and inspirational quotes reminding people to Dream More, Learn More, Love More, Be More. Oh– and they had a Starbucks next to the lobby. Ahhh…

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Nic & Dolly hanging at the Wax Museum

The next morning, we hit Dunkin’ Donuts, the Hollywood Wax Museum, Dollywood, the Titanic Museum, The Christmas Place store, and Dollywood again. After a really good night’s sleep, we headed home the next day in time to leave cookies for Santa.

The trip was reminiscent of my breast cancer diagnosis days. We were constantly going somewhere, trying to outrun cancer. Only this time, we weren’t running. We were laughing at our own silly spontaneity and cracking bad breast jokes.

I never did see Dolly, but her essence was there. The essence of a little girl who came from nothing and ended up building an empire that changed the financial landscape of her poverty stricken community– all while sweetly and Southernly reminding people to love Jesus and their mommas. It’s mighty powerful stuff. On TV and in real life.

It leads me to consider, what legacy could you and I leave if we simply dared to Dream More?

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