I have been listening to a podcast called “Dolly Parton’s America.”
Although I enjoy country music when I am exposed to it, I have been blown away by these friendly, honest narratives, Dolly’s singing and prolific song-writing, her ability to play countless instruments, and her philanthropy.
But it is Dolly’s attachment to her Tennessee mountain home, a love that perfuses her work, that truly struck a chord.
My parents sold the last house I lived in under their roof when I was in the early years of marriage. At the time, I told my husband I felt unmoored. Not ever being able to see my old bedroom or wander the setting of my childhood—it was a loss.
Dolly Parton opines that you can never know your parents the way other people know them.
I think she is right. So many decades separated us, and it was a different time.
Even after we were grown, our roles could not be recast or reshaped. They made their decisions, and didn’t think to include us in their discussions.
Now as I go through hundreds of photos to share at the wedding of our youngest son, I look back and see my parents dancing on the deck of The Nieuw Amsterdam cruise ship in 1964. My father was 44, my mother was 38, and they had just been through the worst year of their shared lives.
They looked happy.
Leisure was built into my mother’s routine, when I was growing up. Sunday was sacrosanct, beginning with church, punctuated with a roast dinner at midday, football on the tv, then soup and sandwiches for supper. It’s not something I think we experience today.
We seem caught in a time warp, when reporting how busy we are, or will be, is assigned more value than observing the birds, cooking family meals or watching children play. Doing is the value. Being, not so much.
What the world needs now is a month of Sundays.
Dolly would agree. (c)