Someone recently asked me a very simple question that I have been thinking about a lot lately. It wasn’t a question that would really change the world, and it wasn’t a question that men have pondered for generations, but it was a question that has replayed in my mind over and over again. The question was, “If you could meet any five people in the world, who would they be?” When the question was asked, I didn’t have to give it much thought. I quickly rattled off the five names of the people I would most like to meet. Those five people were: Doris Day, Joanna Gaines, Kelly Ripa, Reba McEntire, and Dolly Parton.
Like all good questions, there was a follow up question: “Why those five people?” Now, I have to admit, this is the question that I have been thinking a lot about. I answered not long after the question was asked, but I have continued to think about why I said those five people. What is it about these people that I am drawn to? What do they have in common? What makes them special? I am going to do my best to answer those questions, and hopefully I will learn a little bit more about myself in the process.
I first became aware of Dolly Parton when I was in the second grade. This would have been the 1980-1981 school year. A boy in my class brought the soundtrack from Dolly’s new movie 9 to 5 for show-and-tell. I can remember looking at the cover of the album off and on all day and wondering who this woman with blonde hair was. When the time came for show-and-tell, the boy stepped to the front of the room and played the title song “9 to 5.” From the first few beats of the song, I was entranced by the music and when she began singing, I began to fall in love. I know that sounds crazy, but that was my first introduction to Dolly Parton. I guess in a way, it was love at first listen.
Through the years, I have gotten to know more and more about Dolly and have had the opportunity to hear more of her music, see more of her movies, and watch more of her interviews. Every time I listen to her music, see her on the screen, or watch an interview I always feel the same way. I feel joy. I feel that the world is actually a beautiful place to live, and I believe that good still exists in the world.
Dolly’s story began in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee a little over 70 years ago. She was born to a very poor family with many children, but Dolly had a dream. She dreamed of being a star. She dreamed of writing songs and singing them for millions of people to hear. It seems like an unlikely dream for someone born into those circumstances, but it was her dream and it was certainly God’s plan for her life because she became the person that she dreamed of being. In fact, in many ways the life she lives is far greater than anything she could have dreamed. That is the thing that we should all remember. God can take the little dreams and goals we have for our lives and turn them into more than we ever thought possible. He can do that for all of us. We just have to be patient and have faith.
To me, Dolly Parton is one of the most sincere people there is. She is who she is and she does not make any excuses. She is down to earth, caring, compassionate, funny, and generous. She has brought so much light into the world and has brought joy to countless people’s lives. She has certainly made me smile on more than one occasion. That is another thing about Dolly that I admire. When you see her or hear her voice, you cannot help but smile. It is like Dolly’s character, Truvy, said in the movie Steel Magnolias, “Smile! It improves your face value.” I believe that when we do smile, we have no choice but to feel better and we make others feel better and they smile back. A smile is truly contagious.
I am not sure if I will ever have the opportunity to meet Dolly Parton, but you can bet if I do I will thank her for all the joy she has brought into my life. I will tell her about the little boy in second grade who was entranced by the sound of her voice, and I will tell her about the smiles that she has brought to my face. And who knows, I may even say, “Why don’t we sing together?” Now that, my friends, would be a miracle. When we feel joy and when we give joy to others, there will be more peace in this world and PEACE MATTERS!