"I said, 'Daddy did you know, they're putting a statue of me… down at the courthouse?' Daddy said, 'Well yeah, I heard about that.'"
Country music sweetheart Dolly Parton has recalled a hartwarming story about her dad that is sure to put a smile on your face. When Parton's father, Robert was alive, he ensured absolutely no one, not even the pigeons in their hometown, tarnished his daughter's image. Parton recently revealed the personal project he had undertaken after a statue of her was erected in their hometown in Tennessee.
According to Country Rebel, a beautiful statue of the country singer was erected in Sevier County, Tennessee. While it was a moment of pride for the singer and her family, Parton's dad had other concerns, too. Parton revealed the conversation she had with her dad, Robert when she found out about the statue that was going to be erected in her honor. "I said, 'Daddy did you know, they're putting a statue of me… down at the courthouse?' Daddy said, 'Well yeah, I heard about that.' He said, 'Now to your fans out there you might be some sort of an idol. But to them pigeons, you ain't nothing but another outhouse.’"
"Daddy used to go down to the courthouse where they had erected a statue of me," she says. "I remember myself being so proud of that statue… I thought, 'A statue of me in the courthouse yard? That's usually reserved for presidents and people that have done really great things like that,’" Parton noted.
She revealed that her dad used to secretly clean her statue quite regularly. “After my dad died, one of my brothers told me that daddy used to put a big bucket, a big oil drum, of soapy water and a broom in the back of his truck, and late at night he’d go down to the statue and scrub all the pigeon poop off [the statue],” Parton admitted.
He used to do this without anyone's knowledge and it meant the world to Parton. "That touched me so much," the singer reminisced. "I loved my daddy and wanted him to be proud of himself, as I was proud of him."
The statue, which was erected in May 1987, was cleaned and maintained by her dad who, like any other father, had felt immense pride for his daughter's highly successful career as a country musician. And while it is the kind of thing that would put a smile on anyone's face, Robert's little personal project was also something that was kept a secret for a very long time. She first spoke about the incident during an interview with Jimmy Kimmel. Later, according to PEOPLE, the nine-time Grammy winner opened up about her upbringing on Apple Fitness+’s "Time to Walk" experience, which premiered on Monday, January 25.
During the episode, Parton also shared that she felt like she "got [her] work ethic from [her] dad," who was a sharecropper and eventually grew tobacco to support his family during rather trying times.
Parton, in fact, turned to her dad -who wasn't as educated in academics as his children- for help to set up her Imagination Library, which now gives books to children in need around the world. In fact, Parton reveals that her father loved her work for the kids more than her status as a country singer, and we can say for sure that it doesn't really take a lot to make our fathers proud. The smallest of things will do wonders.