Southern Thing Column

Here’s what Dolly Parton is like in person

If you missed last week’s column on It’s a Southern Thing (, you can read it by clicking here. Below are the first paragraphs.

Wouldn’t life be so much more fun if Dolly Parton were president? I’m pretty sure every day would be like Christmas – and not the hard-candy kind, if I had to guess. And imagine the uplifting tweets – Dolly doesn’t get controversial, or take herself too seriously. She’s “regular folk,” and no amount of glued-on fingernails, blonde wigs or false eyelashes would convince fans that there’s an artificial bone in her body. She’s the realest fake person you’d ever hope to meet, and I know from personal experience.

That’s right. Dolly and I are, like, thisclose. Fourteen years ago, I talked with her for about 22 minutes. I’m sure she still remembers. Well, not me personally. But she probably remembers meeting some reporters that day. Maybe. The important thing is, I’ll most certainly never forget her, especially after hearing a special performance of “I Will Always Love You” later that day.

In case you missed it, Dolly is everywhere these days. It’s like the Marilyn and Elvis phenomenon, only Dolly’s still with us. Her face is on T-shirts and coffee mugs. She’s the subject of TV shows, streaming series and the popular podcast “Dolly Parton’s America.” The podcast host, Jad Abumrad, says Dolly brings people from all walks of life together: “All of these different communities, on either side of the ‘culture wars,’ all standing together, shoulder-to-shoulder, singing the same song.”

And maybe she is the answer. Why not? She’s smart, savvy, funny, talented and, most important of all, she was raised right. She’s good people, as we say in the South. She knows how to “go out there and act like somebody.” After all, she was Southern born and corn bred and she knows how to treat people like, well, people. Click here to read the full column on

Baby Girl with Dolly in 2006. (Photo by Kelly Kazek | Permission required)

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