So….my Sept. 11th story is pretty unique. I was not in NYC or at home in Ga. or at work or in my car…I was on a mountain top with Dolly Parton in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Sounds made up, I know, but that exactly where I was. My uncle had been hired to direct a film to accompany one of those “movie rides” where the seats shake and vapor spurts while you watch a short film of Dolly flying over Dollywood in a ramshackle aircraft.
Anyway, I had been invited up to the shoot with my girlfriend who was working on set. We had one day of shooting, went to bed exhausted but thrilled having met the legendary icon (who was a total sweetheart), and minutes after we woke up I saw the first footage of the “explosion” before it was widely reported that a plane had hit the 1st tower. I shouted to my girlfriend in the shower to ‘get out here and see this” as the 2nd tower was hit. We immediately called everyone we knew in the crew and decided to stop watching the hotel TV and go to the set.
As reports rolled in and we all collected and shared information…Dolly arrived. I have never seen such a maternal….angelic…composed… compassionate leader react so appropriately to trauma. She instantly called the shoot, had everyone gather in a circle on this mountain top and we all help hands…crew, actors, camera crew, sound techs, guests, catering….EVERYBODY…..as this extraordinary country music legend prayed, sincerely, for the future of our nation. I can say that I couldn’t have been in a safer, better place to experience such an awful day.
I gave her a big hug and left the next day with a truly beautiful memory mixed with a tragic one. They are forever linked in my mind. God Bless Dolly & the USA!