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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07

What Would Dolly (Parton) Do?

A week or two ago, one of the leaders who works in a building that I partner with said, “Times like this don’t build character, they reveal it.”


That quote has stuck with me. It pops up in my head as I speak with people who may not possess as strong of leadership skills as this individual does. It echoes in my mind as I peruse social media. I think of this quote and the truth and weight that it carries as I offer coaching, guidance and support in my role at work in these unprecedented times.


Shortly after we moved, I came across a box in our garage that was labeled “Business Books”. My reaction was to involuntarily roll my eyes and mutter, “Unless they offer guidance on operating in a pandemic, I’m not interested.” When I opened them later, they didn’t.


B.P. , “before pandemic”, I listened to the podcast “Dolly Parton’s America”. I think everyone knows who Dolly is – you hear her name and maybe it conjures up boob jokes and images of blonde wigs. If you recognize that Dolly is, in fact, a national icon, maybe you start humming Jolene and devour the podcast Dolly Parton’s America. There’s a lot more to Dolly than her boobs and wigs. I’ve known this and hope that other people listen to the podcast and realize this too. Even though I knew Dolly was amazing pre-podcast, the podcast enhanced my Dolly love. So much so that I purchased a kitschy little sign with Dolly’s face on it that asks, “WWDD?” Which, of course means, What Would Dolly Do? I impulsively bought this before our move – with no real idea of where I would put it. When I unpacked it, I placed it on our new kitchen counter. I was delighted when Andrea said, “We should hang this in the dining room.”



“Really?” I asked.


“Yeah – I think it would be unexpected over the light switch. It’s kind of western.” Andrea replied – a nod to my cow skin rug and décor.


In 1967, Dolly joined Porter Wagoner’s weekly TV program, The Porter Wagoner Show. The two recorded several albums together. Then, 7 years later, Dolly went into Porter’s office and played “I Will Always Love You” for him. You know this song – remember The Bodyguard movie?! RIP Whitney. Anyway. So Porter hears this song, cries, and says, “That's the prettiest song I ever heard. And you can go, providing I get to produce that record." So – off Dolly goes, I’m born later that same year and she’s a success! Coincidence? Hmmmm. Anyway. Then Porter sues Dolly for three million dollars due to breach of contract and Dolly settles with him right away instead of fighting with him. Years later, Porter runs into trouble with the IRS and they were after his publishing company. Guess what? Dolly BUYS the publishing company and gives it back to that son of a bitch! What’s more is that at the end of Porter’s life, he’s on hospice and guess who shows up to hold his hand and pray with him? Yep. Dolly. So really, asking yourself “What would Dolly do?” is a good idea. Because I’ll tell you what – I’m an asshole and if I were Dolly, I would have bought his damn company to stick it to him. LOL. No – really. Picture it – this guy who turned on you and sued you for millions (which – btw, Dolly didn’t have at the time). Dolly – national icon and better woman than I. Character revealed over and over again.

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