Dolly Parton
Mountain Press
June 24, 2003
Quality time with Dolly Parton - Dolly talks about future, family
By Melanie Lloyd

If Dolly Parton could be any vegetable in the world, she would be a tomato, albeit a rotten tomato.

That was what Parton said at the Friday kick-off of KidsFest, which introduced Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber from VeggieTales, Garfield, the Purina Dog Chow Incredible Dog Team and the Extreme Sports Show.

Although she said she liked all the vegetables and didn't want to single any out, Parton thrilled the crowd of children and parents when she commented that she probably resembled a tomato more than any other vegetable.

"I think KidsFest is a great event and anytime we can do something to entertain and inspire kids, like with our Imagination Library, it is wonderful," said Parton.

This past year, the Imagination Library, has reached 33 states and over 200 communities.

"We gave out over 500,000 books last year and we will probably give out over a million this year," said Parton.

As for new projects, she will be putting out a patriotic album some time in September called, "For God and Country".

"I will be touring for the album once it comes out but probably only in America since I don't think any other country would be too interested," Parton said.

Parton's music special that was filmed at Dollywood during the Christmas season will also premiere in September on Country Music Television.

"I have been keeping busy and I don't think I ever have time off," said Parton when asked about her summer plans.

When she does get the occasional weekend break, Parton said she likes to spend it camping with her husband or cooking "like my mama used to cook.  My favorite thing to make is chicken and dumplings but I like to cook any good southern food."

For the past several weeks, Parton has been making trips from Nashville to Sevier County to visit her mother, Avie Lee, who is 81.

"My mother had a mild stroke and although she is at home now, she is still fragile and is having some trouble swallowing," said Parton, quietly.  "She is doing pretty good though."

Something that has cheered Parton up during recent weeks is a tribute album that will debut in October with several female performers covering her hit songs.

"Shania Twain will be performing "Coat of Many Colors" and Melissa Etheridge will cover "I Will Always Love You", said Parton, who also mentioned Norah Jones and Sinead O'Connor as album contributors.

"I didn't even know people were working on an album until they asked me to sing the title track, but I think it is just great," Parton said.

For a self-proclaimed rotten tomato, Parton continues to give selflessly to the people of Sevier County and beyond.