August 2014
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Hello, Dolly!

By Suzanne Strazza

A friend was heading out to a concert in a really big stadium, in a really big city — one of those concerts where, even with binoculars, you can’t see the performers on the stage from anywhere but the $500 seats, so you’re really watching the show on a television screen with, like, 52 thousand of your closest sweaty, stoned friends, and you leave saying “that was so great,” while in your head you’re thinking, “I could have watched that from my couch.”

Shuddering at the thought, I embrace the fact that live music isn’t necessarily one of those crucial elements of my happiness, but, if I was in the mood and the right opportunity arose, I’d go to a small club or festival to see certain bands.

Not fond of crowds, noise, people, staying out late, not being able to see – those days went by the wayside with the death of Jerry.

But is there anyone who could entice me to the Pepsi Center?

One person – not even an entire band – Dolly.

She is the one person who could tempt me through the stadium gates. As a matter of fact, I’d give my right arm for the opportunity.

The woman is f---ing fabulous.

I remember seeing her on TV when I was a kid. Gotta hand it to my mom – she made sure we were exposed to all of the soon-tobe- iconic performers of my childhood.

When Ms Parton made her appearance on a stage with the hair and the nails and the breasts, I couldn’t tear myself away from the screen – she was just magnificent.

Admittedly, sometimes, if someone made a slightly derogatory comment about her sense of style, I would laugh right along with the jokester, while secretly envying her extravagance and mystique.

I only knew natural blonds.

And she had all of these talents to go with the appearance – she could sing and act and tell stories and be funny and make a gal cry and be brilliant and sassy all at the same time. She’s so badass.

My son has started listening to country music, it’s great, but it’s newer stuff – Party Country I think it’s called – and while it’s good, those gals are not my gal.

Dolly has staying power. She has a new album out and she puts the likes of Carrie Underwood to shame. To start with, she has the voice that all the rest of them wish they had.

And only this particular, near-70-old, God-fearing woman could cover Bob Dylan, the Fine Young Cannibals, and Bon Jovi on the same album as a song about unicorns and angels.

And Kenny Rogers – Dolly is still singing duets with him – and they are still sweet and sappy and make you want to sway in your seat while you hold hands with your boyfriend.

And let’s not forget that the gal can act too – 9-5? Best Little Whorehouse in Texas? Steel Magnolias?

Need I say more?

But let’s get back to the woman herself – the boobs, the hair, the makeup, the surgeries… Here’s the thing – while I used to giggle a bit, I realized at a very young age that Dolly is the most real person in the entertainment industry.

“Seriously?” you just asked. Yes’m.

I read an interview with her a long time ago where she cleared up any speculation about her style choices; apparently she used to want to grow up to look just like a hooker from the big city.

So, everything about her is enhanced, how can that be real? She is this woman who figured out at an early age exactly who she is, no questions, no self-doubt, no following of the trends. She is a slightly trashy-looking bottle blond with gigantic breasts that no one could have been born with and more makeup on her face than most women combined.

And she’s always like this. In another interview, she proudly proclaimed that she never leaves her boudoir without all of it. She doesn’t even have a cup of coffee with the cat without being “done.”

I LOVE this.

I LOVE her.

She’s GORGEOUS.

She puts more energy into her appearance pre-caffeine than I ever will in my entire life. I can’t be bothered, but I am awestruck by her perseverance and commitment.

And while 99 percent of my life has been spent wishing I were thinner, she is the one person who makes me wish that I had boobs.

And my favorite quality in a person overflows in her: the ability to laugh at oneself. “It’s a good thing I was born a girl, otherwise I’d be a drag queen.”

If you are not a Dolly Parton fan, you should rethink that. If you are a Party Country music fan, you should probably rethink that too. If it’s been more than a few years since you’ve listened to Dolly and Kenny together, definitely rethink that. And if you think that Whitney Houston is the real voice behind “I will always love you,” you definitely need to think again.

Suzanne Strazza is an award-winning writer in Mancos, Colo.


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