Dolly, We Will Always Love You

Patti Ann and Lisa Ann doing Dollywood. The park will never be the same.

By Patti Parish-Kaminski, Publisher

Well, we did it. Lisa Ann and I did Dollywood, and you bet we did Dolly proud. We sported matching t-shirts with Dolly-isms on the daily. There is truly a Dolly-ism for virtually every situation life might thrust your way, and best of all, they are printed on t-shirts! Could it get any better?!?! My personal favorite? “It costs a lot of money to look this cheap.” No explanation needed. Of course, “Jolene, you can have him,” is a close second, because if my man is foolish enough to act up, I’m not begging any woman to not take him. I’m taking everything he has, wrapping him up in a pretty pink bow and delivering him stark naked to her doorstep. I suspect Dolly would approve.

We learned a lot on our jaunt to the Land of Dolly. First and foremost, everyone who works for Dolly at the DreamMore Resort or at Dollywood or at any of her other establishments are the kindest, friendliest folks I have ever met. It’s like they were trained by Chick-fil-A. They are just downright sweet and genuinely interested in not only helping you but getting to know you. We made lots of friends, as we tend to do. Heck, I even received a text from our concierge making sure we enjoyed our stay and checking to see if we got home okay. At this point, we might be kin.

We also discovered our smallness in Tennessee. Y’all know Lisa Ann and I are both full-grown. Not so much in Tennessee. We tended to be among the smallest in any crowd; the word petite even crossed my lips in the briefest of moments while comparing our physique to some. It was astonishing, revolutionary even to saunter into virtually any store and not have to search for grown girl sizes. They were aplenty; they were the norm.

Perplexed by this unique state of size, we quickly ascertained the culprit. The vast majority of eating establishments we stumbled upon had one thing in common: the all you can eat mantra. The endless buffet is big in Tennessee. That and beverages are sweet, sweeter and sweetest. And this includes wine, liquor and tea. I swear I even had a glass of water that was a bit on the sweet side.

In an effort to escape the boundless buffets, Lisa Ann and I booked a dinner theatre one night. Dolly Parton’s Stampede looked like the ultimate wild west show, and being the cultured women that we are, we were all in. We went early to visit the stars of the show – the beautiful horses – and of course, get our adult beverages before the big show began.

Lines were long, but we had nothing but time. We quickly ascertained that our beverages options were limited: beer, moonshine or Jim Beam. I was adamant about not going down the moonshine trail, and Lisa Ann reminded me about Mr. Kaminski’s staunch warning to her about not allowing me to drink the brown water. Whiskey does tend to make me a little feisty. We settled on moderation – just one Jim Beam and Diet Coke – and after waiting 20 minutes in line, it was our turn. As we presented our order, the bartender announced that his line was closed, and he promptly instructed us to go to the end of one of the other two extremely long lines. Seems in addition to tending bar, he was also in the show, and he had to go get in costume. I would like say that Lisa Ann was a good Christian about his sudden departure and our current drinkless situation, but that would be a bald-faced lie. She threw a hissy-fit of such monumental proportion that I began digging in my purse for bail or bribe money – depending on how the situation played out.

A Tennessee-size dinner portion: an entire chicken for one person.

It was loud, it was ugly, and it was highly effective. It was as if somebody had told Lisa Ann her baby was ugly, and she was a bad momma. It. Was. On. The three people next up in the line to our right immediately stepped back and insisted Lisa Ann “cut” in front of them – out of fear I am certain. Now the rest of the sheep behind us in line did what they were told immediately without a peep. Us, not so much. But, we got our drinks right then and there. The ruckus was such that I’m not even sure we paid for them.

The show was amazing. Dinner was an entire chicken, each, so the dinner theatre portion thing really didn’t work out so well. And that was just one day in our four-day fling.

We left behind a trail of broken roller coasters, broken nails and broken hearts. We bought enough Dolly t-shirts to last a week sporting wise words on our chests. We had to buy another suitcase to bring all of our treasures home, and we had grand adventure after grand adventure. And we’re doing it all again, somewhere else, in about six months, as long as I can keep Lisa Ann out of jail. I’ll let y’all know how it works out. See y’all next week – on the porch!


Patti Parish-Kaminski

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