Imagination Library! Imagine! Books! These are two of my favorite things!
Continuing on my journey to experience new things my buddy, Betty and I recently went to a Dolly Parton concert.
The evening adventure actually counts for two firsts. Seeing Dolly in person and entering the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
Dolly shared personal stories with the sold out crowd. I googled Amalie Arena to find out what Amalie means. Amalie is an oil company shipping/exporting from the port in Tampa.
Dolly shared early childhood stories growing up in the “holler” with eleven siblings. They slept three and four to a bed (in my family we slept 3 to a bed for a while); of course, often times someone or two peed in the bed. She remembers thinking how she looked forward to growing up and sleeping in her own bed. When she finally got a bed to herself it was because she moved to Nashville on her own. She was homesick to the point she even missed ‘getting peed on.’
Dolly loved and respected her parents. Her momma often served as the local go to person in the holler for all kinds of advice to anyone who needed it. I’d like to share more details about what a great cook and person “momma” was but in case any reader has the opportunity to see Dolly in person, I don’t want to be the spoiler alert.
Wise as her daddy was, he was unable to read or write. As a way to honor her daddy and to decrease illiteracy, Dolly established the Imagination Library. Initially the charitable program was for kids in Tennessee under the age of five before they begin school. Every month those registered receive a book in the mail. Gradually the program has grown throughout the United States and other parts of the world. The link below is to the registration site; only parents or legal guardians may sign up a child.
If the program is not available in your zip code, I think you are able to request to be included. My youngest child is 28 so it’s been a while since I had a kid under five around. I never heard of the Imagination Library until the night of the concert but it is a great program. I suggested to my daughter that she mention it to the pre-school my granddaughter attends to get the word out. I also posted it on FaceBook.
In addition to the books, there is a random drawing for college scholarships. The Imagination Library is a 501C3 charity. There is currently an auction on line (trees displayed at Opryland) for Christmas trees decorated by performing/recording artists. The funds raised from Dolly’s tree will fund the Imagination Library. Check the site below for perks the winner of the auction receives…impressive. Some trees are valued at $2,000. Too rich for my budget.
Of course, there are other ways to contribute to the book a month until five years old project. Check the possibilities on the site.
Normally, concert goers are asked to turn off phones and take no flash photos. In anticipation of that request my phone was turned off and stowed away in my purse. Curtains up, it was obvious that phones were being used to take pictures (no announcement was made). Naturally, I joined the paparazzi parade.
No matter which setting mode I selected, Dolly appeared as a bright white light. I curiously observed the phones in my immediate rubber necking range and saw the same effect. After numerous attempts I thought it may be the result of the highly sparkled dress Dolly was wearing. After the twenty minute intermission she came out in a tight red jump suit – she said she buys two sizes too small and then has it taken in! I tried another photo; same thing.
So, I’ve decided that Dolly Parton is an earth angel. In her own words she spends a lot of money to look cheap. It is a perfect example of not judging ‘a book by its cover.’ Dolly may appear (by design) like a painted lady/street walker, but in my estimation the fact that her photographic image is a bright white light, coupled with the good things she does, I’m going with the angelic suggestion.