Earlier this week, international treasure and literal angel Dolly Parton announced that she would be donating $1 million to Vanderbilt University, where her friend Dr. Naji Abumrad—father of Jad Abumrad, host of the Dolly Parton's America podcast—is involved in developing a vaccine for COVID-19.
In a video uploaded to Instagram, Dolly confessed that the coronavirus was "scaring the H-E-double hockey sticks" out of her. In honor of the queen of country spreading cheer wherever she goes, here are 10 ways a dose of Dolly Parton can help stave off that existential dread we're all grappling with during this pandemic.
Listen to "Light of a Clear Blue Morning." On Repeat.
It's easy to get bogged down and depressed during these uncertain times, so what better theme song than one with reassuring lyrics like, "But everything's gonna work out just fine / And everything's gonna be all right / That's been all wrong"? The uplifting track, which first appeared on Dolly's 1977 album New Harvest... First Gathering, is about the singer leaving her longtime country music partner, Porter Wagoner, and striking out on a solo career. The original is good, but we recommend the version Dolly re-recorded for the soundtrack to her 1992 film Straight Talk, which dials up the optimism to an 11.
"It's been a long long time / Since I've known the taste of freedom," is a line we will be singing when this self-isolation is finally over.
Let Dolly Read You Bedtime Stories
The Library That Dolly Built, the documentary about Dolly's Imagination Library, was originally scheduled to hit select theaters on April 2. The film has now been pushed to a release date of September 21, to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Imagination Library. So to hold people over, Dolly will participate in "Goodnight With Dolly", where once a week for 10 weeks, she will read children's books on YouTube. The selections include titles like The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper and I Am a Rainbow by Dolly herself.
“This is something I have been wanting to do for quite a while, but the timing never felt quite right," Dolly said in a statement. "I think it is pretty clear that now is the time to share a story and to share some love. It is an honor for me to share the incredible talent of these authors and illustrators. They make us smile, they make us laugh and they make us think."
Watch Her Uplifting Movies
Pretty much every movie Dolly has starred in has an uplifting, wholesome message, particularly more recent titles like Dumplin', Heartstrings, and the NBC movies Coat of Many Colors and Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love. Now is the time to discover Dolly titles you may have looked over before, like the 1996 made-for-TV movie Unlikely Angel, which is being re-released on DVD and digital April 7.
Sing Some Dolly Parody Songs
On the Today show, Dolly said she has been spending some of her self-isolation time writing parodies of her own songs, so why not do it yourself? Replace "Jolene" with "Quarantine!" "I'm beggin' of you please wash your hands..." It practically writes itself!
Host a Dolly Drag-Themed Zoom Party
What good are those wigs doing sitting in a trunk in your closet? Liven up your next quarantine happy hour with a Dolly theme. Break out the blonde wigs and cowboy hats, and maybe give 'em a show with a "9 to 5" lip sync?
Watch the "Better Get to Livin'" Music Video
Not only does it feature Dolly as a circus ringleader, but this video also includes a cameo from our favorite crafty queen Amy Sedaris. "Better Get to Livin'" is definitely something we will be doing once we're allowed out of our houses again.
Take Comfort in an Iconic Dolly Quote
One of Dolly's classic lines reminds us to wait for that light at the end of the tunnel. It sure feels like we are in a big thunderstorm right now, so why not battle with the rain with some brightness—like this rainbow umbrella from Dolly's online store?
Watch Graham Norton Goes to Dollywood
Dollywood is currently closed for the foreseeable future thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. So what's the next best thing? How about watching the 2001 special Graham Goes to Dollywood, in which the U.K. television host gets a tour of the park with the country queen herself? The only downside is it doesn't come with a loaf of that world-famous Dollywood cinnamon bread.
Discover Some New Dolly Tunes
Everyone knows Dolly's biggest hits like "Jolene" and "I Will Always Love You," so why not take this free time to dive into Dolly's extensive back catalog? Some overlooked gems you should begin with are her Grammy-winning early 2000s bluegrass trilogy; her 2016 album, Pure & Simple; and her patriotic love letter to America, For God and Country.
Just Watch This GIF of Dolly Feeling Saxy
Because we need it.