Close encounters

Last night we were at one of those events that are sadly becoming harder and harder to find–a  bluegrass concert on the square here in Franklin.

Franklin TN Square 1 by Doug V.

It’s free and people who got there early enough sat in front in the folding chairs with the local funeral home’s name stenciled on the back. We took our own chairs though and settled in toward the back. There wasn’t a huge crowd so it wasn’t too crowded. A popup thunderstorm had rolled through about an hour earlier and left a nice cool breeze. One of the interesting things about living around here is that celebrities are pretty easy to spot. The majority are country music stars, but musicians of all kinds–like Sheryl Crow and Robert Plant–are pretty visibile. Last night, Naomi Judd (sometimes better known as Ashley’s mother than for her own singing career) made her way to the stage. She didn’t sing, and was, truthfully, a little annoying.

But it got me thinking about encounters with the rich and famous.

1. Dolly Parton–I adore Dolly and my iTouch is loaded with her songs. Back in my ad agency days, I worked on the Pigeon Forge tourism account. Dolly appeared in a tv commercial I produced. She was well protected by her entourage. But once you got past them, she was great. Her body defies nature and when I looked at her tiny little feet I was reminded of a comment I heard her make about their small size…”Shoot,” she said “nothing grows in the shade.”

On my on personal Celebrity Nice-O-Meter, Dolly gets the top rating:


2. Raymond Floyd–you might not know who Raymond Floyd is, but at one time, he was one of the top golfers in the world. He won both the Masters and the U.S. Open. He was another celebrity spokesman I met through advertising–this one in Little Rock. We were out a local golf course and, if you know anything about film production, you know that it takes forever. We were goofing around on the putting green. Raymond had about a 20 footer that he missed by a mile. I said “let me try.” I grabbed a putter and ball and proceeded to drain the same putt he had missed.  My boss made the mistake of laughing and Raymond was grumpy the rest of the day.

Celebrity Nice-O-Meter rating:


3. Andrea Mitchell–when I worked for NBC news in Little Rock during Clinton’s first presidental race, Andrea was the lead correspondent. She spent a lot of time on the campaign trail, but when she was in the office, she was very nice. She was always polite and not too stuck on herself. She had a pathological fear of mayonnaise, but would definitely drink a beer after work.

Celebrity Nice-O-Meter rating:


4. Liza Minneli–this has to be the most random of them all. We were in the passport control line at the Brussels airport. A little tired and a little grimy from our overnight flight. We were almost to the front of the line when we heard the distinctive “beep beep beep” of an airport golf cart. Here it came, bearing two passengers. Yep–one was Liza Minnelli.

Celebrity Nice-O-Meter rating: (points off for getting special treatment.)


But for talent like this:



Filed under General Frippery

19 responses to “Close encounters

  1. I love Dolly Parton. Love her. She’s one of the very few celebrities that you never hear anything negative said about them.

    Paul Newman was the only other one I can think of.

  2. I too love Dolly Parton. NEver had an encounter with her, but she is one of those people that just seems genuinely nice.

  3. Niece Lash

    I always heard she was very nice too. Being from Pigeon Forge area and all, but as far as Naomi’s daughter Ashley…She used to be VERY nice to loads of Univ. of Kentucky basketball players back in her fan watching days and to the occasional handyman who put in hardwood floors…

  4. I haven’t met many celebrities, but a few years ago I went to a birthday party for a fairly well known English TV star and couldn’t believe quite how stand-offish some of the other celebs were.

    I likened it to being at the aquarium. You could see the celebrities but they couldn’t (or didn’t want) to see you.

  5. always get the feeling that Ms. Parton is the real deal… sweet, talented, and very, very smart!

  6. Celebrities are people too, fat and skinny, smart and dumb, nice and not so nice.

    I’ve met a lot of athletes over the years, mostly here in Atlanta. Some really nice guys: Phil Niekro, Mark Lemke (Braves) and Mookie Blalock (Hawks). Some not so nice: David Justice and Chipper Jones (both Braves).

  7. Did you know that Andrea Mitchell is married to former Federal Reserve Chairman and economy wrecker Alan Greenspan?

    I attended a New York Philharmonic concert in Central Park (it’s a summer tradition in the city) and Liza walked across the middle of our picnic blanket. We didn’t care! In NYC, Liza is royalty.

  8. BTW: Met Bruce Springsteen on a few occasions and he could not have been more gracious and nice.

  9. When I was little I was scared of Dolly Parton because of her boobs. But she won me over with her reputation. Have you been to Dollywood?

    Oh, and Liza. Poor ol’ Liza. I forget just how talented she was.

  10. Dingo–You’re right about Paul Newman–I never heard anything bad about him either.
    DF–Did you know that every child in Tennessee (and now other states too) get a free book, once a month, from the time they’re born until they’re six courtesey of Dolly?
    Dave–Since we get rid of Pacman Jones, most of the Tennessee Titans have good reputations.
    UB–I did know that…check this my post from 10/13/08.
    Ellie–I have been to Dollywood. I think her entire family (and that’s a LOT of people) works there.

  11. Sarah–So sorry, got interrupted. She really is as nice as can be. Have you ever seen her on Oprah? She’s a hoot.
    Lash–Mmmmm….sounds like a story you need to tell me.

  12. Oh maaan, I’ve never met anyone famous.

  13. That latest album of Dolly Parton’s – “Little Sparrow” – made up for a lot of the really cheesey stuff she’s done. Doesn’t make up for Dollywood, though.

  14. Niece Lash

    The “Books From Birth” program that Dolly Parton heads up is an incredible gift! We look forward every month to see what Dolly has sent us. Right now “Llama Llama Red Pajama” is our favorite of hers. She is great!

  15. David Lee Roth sings on an awesome bluegrass album of Van Halen covers. It’s called Strummin’ With The Devil. It’s so great to hear these songs all down-homey!

  16. I never meet celebrities. I one saw Sam Donaldson on a corner, though! He looked OK.

  17. Susan Goromboly

    You forgot Dixie Carter. Remember how nice she was when she was talent for the shoot we did for the gas company out at Marlsgate southern plantation in Scott and Villa Marra that was the opening shot on Designing Women. That was a fun couple of days.

  18. Blue–Famous is a state of mind.
    AFM–Little Sparrow is great, but it’s not the latest. Horns and Halos came next (not as good) and I don’t know if that’s the last issue or not.
    Lash–Amen Obama Mama Llama.
    Erin–Hmmmm…bluegrass Van Halen. Have to think more about that after coffee.
    Gypsy–another great Southern gal.
    Susan–Oh yeah…Dixie. I never saw such a small person eat so much.

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