As I watched the door of the small office room in anticipation, I could feel my level of nervousness rising.
So far on the trip, all attractions seemed to be leading up to this upcoming interview with the legendary Dolly Parton. I’d not only been to Dollywood’s Dolly Parton Museum, but also encountered mentions of her everywhere from numerous random people telling me they thought she was the greatest person alive to a media event where she gave out her 25 millionth book to a child as part of her Imagination Library program.
But now the hour had come and five travel writers and I waited in a small conference room with one seat empty and ready for Dolly’s arrival. I had my questions written out just in case I blanked, which still did not calm my worries of stumbling over my words. After hearing from someone at the table that Michael Phelps used to make himself yawn to relax before a race, I attempted to do the same in desperation.
Finally, Dolly arrived with an easy smile and familiar voice. She answered each of our questions without missing a beat with humor, sincerity, wisdom and references to the importance of her spirituality.
After she announced that she had to “go pee,” Dolly humbly thanked everybody and left the room. Her departure left everyone in the room clearly star struck, including me, for quite awhile after. Even now, I still feel the need to watch some Steel Magnolias or Nine to Five in honor of such an unforgettable 30 minutes.
Dolly Parton at a media event before my interview
Dolly Parton singing at the Pigeon Forge Imagination Library media event
I also toured Wonderworks with its many intriguing mind puzzlers