I don’t think the answer is 42

You know, the answer to life, the universe and everything.

I think the answer to life, the universe and everything is Dolly Parton.

Dolly Parton is goddamn amazing.

She gives books to babies. Her Imagination Library has donated 130 million books. 130 million. When we needed a vaccine, Dolly Parton funded research for the Moderna vaccine. That’s the one Randy got. Have you noticed how that’s filtered every day small talk? “Which vaccine did you get?” Like it matters. Just get one. 

Dolly Parton is humble and gracious. She is kind and strong. She is a prolific songwriter and she can sing her ass off.

With all that being said, including where I present the possibility that Dolly Parton is the answer to everything, I have the teensiest complaint.

The train ride at Dollywood is super loud, you guys. Super loud.

Last month, Randy and I ventured from our home and made our way to the Great Smoky Mountains to spend time with our mountain friends. We hadn’t seen them in person in over a year.

Usually, we stay at their mountain, but their mountain was all full up. No beds at the inn. My cabin was occupied.

Instead, we rented a cabin at the top of a mountain in Sevierville, TN. The view was interesting and beautiful. The porches had swings and rockers and benches and a hot tub. We had a pool table and Pacman and air hockey. But no air hockey pucks, which severely limits the fun one can have with an air hockey table. I guess.

Our idyllic cabin was also just above Dollywood.

I guess I could tell you about it, but it’s really better to experience it. So, here you go. This is what we heard multiple times over the weekend.


I mean, it wasn’t all bad. It was kind of funny. After a few drinks, it’s fucking hilarious. And they stopped running before it even got dark out.

No offense to Dolly, but I really think they went overboard with that fucking whistle.



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  • Ms. Dolly is a keeper. I’ve always loved her spirit. The enthusiastic train whistle is hilarious in a damnit! sort of way. I’m glad you giggled. The lake where we often vacation has a new fangled machine that’s like a combine harvester for seaweed (invasive grass). It chugs around the shoreline from 8 to 4 making a grinding noise. Forward has a different pitch than reverse. I swear, it’s not effective but I guess the state pays by the hour because it grinds all day long except for lunch break. ACK!

    p.s. Speaking of access to books, I just read The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Richardson. It’s about the women who delivered books on horseback to remote areas of Kentucky in the 1930’s. It’s interesting historical fiction and the main character is a strong woman.

  • I would have needed a LOT more liquor over the course of an hour, much less a weekend. Yeah, once is cute – past that, my patience would have fled. I’m surprised that people living around that all year wouldn’t have somehow put an end to that. At least the length of it. But at least you got away and saw friends in the flesh. Me too, yesterday – they came down from Gainesville to Ft. Lauderdale (with a stop to see family in the middle of the State). It was the first time I’d seen them in almost 2 years. And had my first real hug in almost that long! But that was long enough to rejuvenate me for another long separation. Close friends – whatever would we do without them?!

  • I love that Dolly has become a gay icon from the south. Check out Brandi Carlile’s explanation of how she got the Highwomen together: “We’re gonna get Dolly to sing with us at Newport” Natalie Hemby: “OK, I’m in.”
    We have a steam train that runs twice a day near us, but you have to be outside to even hear the whistle.
    I’m glad you and your friends got to spend some time together while the goddamn apocalypse turned everything to shit. Friends are important.

  • Holy shit, that train whistle is loud. There may be some echo effect from the surrounding mountains but even so, holy shit, that train whistle is loud. Back when Opryland was still going here in Nashville there was a train that went around the park and you could hear its whistle from well outside the park. I thought it was loud but, holy shit, it was nowhere near as loud as that. It sounds like it’s right next to your cabin.
    Several years ago I read about someone who was kicked out of Dollywood for wearing an LGBT pride shirt. Dolly apologized and said everyone was welcome at Dollywood because that’s the kind of saint she is. But, since I haven’t said it already, or maybe I’ve been traumatized by the video, holy shit, that train whistle is loud.

  • Good grief, Charlie Brown….. that was horrendously loud. I would have sent an old fashioned telegram (do they still have telegrams?) to alert them. What a spoiler to the serenity of the mountains.

  • HAHA! You are so right! As much as I love what Dolly’s done for the Smoky Mountain area (we’ve got a place up in the Tri-Cities), I hate that train just as much.

    Still though… 42. 😀

  • So my last comment to you was 5 laughing emojis which, although I can see them, you apparently, cannot. So I am translating that invisible message. Very funny :))))))

By Michelle


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