Discover Prompt 3: Song

Whenever we travel, especially to foreign countries, people ask us where we are from. We answer proudly “Tennessee”! But if we detect a hesitancy as they process our answer, we only have to say a couple of words about famous singers like Elvis and Dolly Parton, and we get a head nod and a reassuring “Oh, sure” from them.

We let West Tennessee claim the hip-gyrating, crooning Elvis as their singer of choice, but here in East Tennessee, everyone not only claims but also LOVES the one and only Dolly Parton.

A photo-op for children attending Dolly Parton’s birthday at Lawson McGhee Library, downtown Knoxville

It was her gift of song, of course, that popularized this now-iconic blonde vocalist who has enriched our lives with movies, music, and a theme park in Gatlinburg known as Dollywood. Songs like “9 to 5,” “Jolene,” and “Coat of Many Colors” are loved — and sung — by adults and children alike. Most recently, upon the death of her good friend Kenny Rogers with whom she recorded “Islands in the Stream,” Dolly hit a chord with TV viewers as she teared-up with admiration for her dear friend saying “I will always love you.”

Poster advertising sign-up opportunities with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Not only, however, is Dolly famous for songs delivered as only Dolly can; she’s also known for creating Imagination Library, a program that mails books once a month, free, to any child from birth to five years old in Tennessee and many places around the world. Today her website posts the total of 1,551,840 kids who have received the 133,899,247 books mailed through Imagination Library, and the number keeps on growing.

Reading is such a big part of who Dolly is that she is now reading bedtime stories to children on Thursday nights in a new virtual series called “Goodnight with Dolly.

Photo credit: Facebook events page — Goodnight with Dolly

Thanks, Dolly, for the many songs we sing along with you and for giving children the gift of reading that will enrich generations to come.

Your songs — and books — give us wings!

Photo at top: Mural of Dolly Parton in an alley adjacent to Market Square in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee.

13 thoughts on “Discover Prompt 3: Song

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks! Dolly is not only a local treasure, she’s a national one, too. But what distinguishes her from others is her love of bringing the written word to children. Thanks for taking a look at my post!

      1. jml297

        My pleasure. As I was reading your post, I was watching part of the Country Music series by Ken Burns, and the episode featured a lot about Dolly – her background, career and music. She’s amazing and it was such a wonderful moment to hear her sing and read your post – synchronicity 😊

      2. Oh, the Places We See

        A very nice coincidence! Burns’ series in country music was huge for us. We didn’t know a lot about country music even though we live in the heart of it. We, too, loved the segment on Dolly. It did her proud!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks for taking a look at Dolly — she’s amazing, isn’t she? And I haven’t checked out the Goodnight reading on Facebook but this Thursday, I hope I remember to do so. I’m amazed at Dolly’s energy and her devotion to so many causes. Wishing you all the best. Stay safe.

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