International Women's day is a day to celebrate and inspire women! Music has always been a comfort to me on days when I think I just can't go on and many of my country music heroes have helped me along the way too. Mostly, Dolly Parton.
I met Dolly Parton when I was 8 year old. We were at the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville, KY. She was playing the concert the night before our World's Championship Horse Show began. Being a horse trainer's kid meant I spent a lot of time on the road and I met a lot of famous people along the way. So when the big silver tour bus pulled up in front of the barn where our horses were stabled, it didn't really phase me at all. In fact, I didn't even look up from the book I was reading until I heard someone say "Hey! That's Dolly's bus!"
I hopped out of that chair I was sitting in and walked right up to her bus door.
Yep - I knocked on it and yep - she came to the door!
I had seen Dolly on TV and of course had heard her on the radio but when she opened that bus door and smiled down at me, it was like an Angel from heaven floating above!
"Well, Hey there!" She said with a little bit of that signature giggle. And what did I do? I just stared at her. I couldn't talk.
She laughed again and asked if I was ok. I finally found my voice to speak...and I asked her if she really wore a wig! Why the heck that was the only thing I could think of is beyond me!
She said something like "I sure do! Want to see one?" and I was so embarrassed I took off running back to the barn to my parents. I couldn't tell them what I had done or more importantly what I had said. First they would have killed me for wondering off and second for knocking a strangers bus door.
So I told NO ONE until MANY years later.
But what did happen that day was I became a Dolly Parton SUPER FAN! I watched and listened to every interview I could. I loved how strong and powerful yet warm and kind she was. Her songs through the years inspired me. My mom used to sew some of our clothes and she once played Coat of Many Colors for me when kids at school made fun of me. Light Of The Clear Blue Morning helped me get through High School and Eagle When She Flies has always reminded me of what a strong determined woman my own Mom is and what I wanted to be.
Some day I would love to see Dolly face to face again and thank her. Thank her for her music and inspiration and for taking the time to come to the door of her bus and to try to talk to a shy scared girl, just because she knocked! She truly is an Angel on Earth!
If you want a great snap shot of Dolly's legacy, listen to Dolly Parton's America podcast on your iHeart radio app. Winner of the 2021 iHeart Radio Podcast award!