Jolene and the Queen of Glastonbury


Dolly has conquered Britain!

Completely and absolutely. Our charming, down-to-earth, beautifully manicured, maintained and tastefully remodelled Queen of Country music is now Queen of Glastonbury, having drawn a festival crowd of 200,000 over the muddy weekend, in which she wowed ’em all! Go Dolly! (Can I get an AMEN?)

Don’t believe me? Click here. This morning, the BBC airwaves are full of “Blue Smoke” and her fabulous live renditions of old favourites, “9 to 5” and “Jolene.” I can’t tell you how happy this makes me!

In honor of her stellar victory over both the British weather and the cool hearts of our resident rock’n’roll hippies, please allow a repost from my former Mother Hen Diaries site, now as much a pumpkin as Cinderella’s old coach. I have dragged from the ashes this post from 2 March 2014 in honor of the music legend. I like to believe she remembers me. (She doesn’t, really – but don’t tell me that. Let me live the dream, people… let me live the dream!)

Jolene Would SO Have Taken Your Man


photo courtesy of

I have actually met Dolly Parton. As in, got to talk to her after the concert and been properly introduced and everything. Mind, I was only about 8 years old. She was, as I recall, an absolute sweetheart. A proper lady. She played the Canaan Fair in New Hampshire in 1973, not long after she had wisely ditched Porter Wagoner and branched out on her own with the release of an album featuring “Jolene”. (My mum, incidentally, was her opening act, a fact I take great pride in and repeat as often as is possible within the context of any given conversation. Yes, I am actually THAT obvious. And THAT proud of my mum.)

“Jolene” has always been a favorite song – particularly the Mindy Smith version with Dolly singing backup. It is hauntingly sad and I challenge anyone, ANYONE out there to listen to it and not feel moved to sing along. HOWEVER. In 1973, I am pretty sure that the rules governing human relationships were not THAT much different from today. Jolene would definitely have won this battle.

Who goes to their rival, tells them they are stunningly beautiful, admits defeat from the outset and then expects said rival to back off out of pity? Seriously? Jolene wouldn’t have felt guilty in the least.   She would have figured, “Hey, sucks to be you; can I help it if I’m so darned gorgeous?”

Oh, Jolene would have smelled blood in the water and gone in for the kill. She might eventually toss back the ravaged carcass of your “man” at some point, but then again, she might not. But, I ask you, would you want him back?

So let’s say “Jolene” shows up in your life.   How are you going to handle it?   Instead of laying down and hoping everybody feels sorry for your pitiful self on account of you being so… well, PITIFUL, why not say, “Hey, he’s talking about her in his sleep – why on EARTH am I laying here next to him listening to it? Why not give him the swift, sharp elbow to the ribs he obviously deserves? There goes THAT sweet dream, buddy…”

Or how about, “Fine. You want him? He wants you? Grrreeaaaat. You want to pick his underpants up off the floor, wash his socks and scrub his toothpaste stains off the mirror, you go for it.   Good riddance. Plus, he ALWAYS puts the toilet paper on backwards…”

Better yet, “Hey, if you want me as the crazy ex haunting your life for the rest of eternity, he’s all yours. Be my guest. By the way, do you have any rabbits that need boiling?” Jolene would have responded much better to a good old-fashioned dose of CRAZY.

Seriously. None of those statements would have to BE true. Jolene would just have to THINK they were true. Inside you could be absolutely dying, but why, oh WHY would anyone in this position tip their hand to the enemy? Sigh

Sadly, Dolly never asked for my opinion when we met.

Don’t get me wrong. I have been happily married the better part of 29 years to the best man I have ever known, and I wouldn’t change anything about that. But there is a reason this marriage works, and it has nothing to do with self-pity, guilt-trips or victim mentality. People don’t stay together out of pity for the simple reason that it breeds contempt.

And, just for the record, even if I thought it, I would NEVER have told Jolene she was prettier than me.

Mother Hen

P.S. In an updated version of Jolene, apparently Dolly is now advocating tossing her husband Jolene’s way on account of he’s a little gray behind the ears – haha! She’s been hitched for over 50 years, people. She clearly knows how to hold on to her man!  Love you, Dolly! – your very last autograph signed at the Canaan Fair, Summer 1973. I was 8 and you were the most beautiful china-doll of a person I had ever met. Thank you for pretending to step on my fingers at the edge of the stage while you sang, and for letting my brother kiss you on the cheek! 

Feature photo: Dolly at Glastonbury, courtesy

© motherhendiaries 2014 all rights reserved

6 replies »

  1. I remember her when she was on the Porter Wagoner Show. Way before she became Dolly Parton. She was only dolly parton in those days. But man, she could write them songs.


  2. Thanks Dorreen. Pleased to have found your blog. Good that after decades of brilliance many people waking up to Dolly’s talents! Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox (drop a nickel).


    • Hi Thom! Thanks so much for stopping by and having a cuppa tea with me! 🙂 Glad you liked the post – yes, Dolly is a wonderful entertainer! She really knocked ’em dead at Glastonbury- not surprising, if you have ever seen her live! 🙂 Yes – I’ll happily drop a nickel and pop by to give a listen! Nice to meet you here! MH


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