The ADD observation deck: Dollywood

The ADD observation deck: Dollywood

Get ready for some things I noticed from my ADD Observatorium on my recent visit to Dollywood.

1. Dollywood is a parallel world

Dollywood is beyond All Things Fascinating. It is a Bad Ass Parade of Humanity that I watched shuffle past a charred pig on a spit, barrel rolling itself to nowhere. In my mind, the paraders rivaled all things “du Soleil,” with their hot flashy perms and hard working electric scooters badly in need of a charge.

It is a cultural suburb that lives alongside-but-apart from the Rest of Us. It is a stompin', stinkin' cluster of shapes and sizes, figures and faces, and miles of elastic waistbands squinching stareworthy belly fat. The mountain beasts cram pieces of apple pie the size of Webster’s Dictionaries (College Edition, hardback) into their unapologetically ravenous pie holes, then wipe their palms free of crumbs and oil on the bark of nearby trees, or on the backs of their lovers’ shirts.

I heart Dollywood.

2. There are a shockingly high number of folks with genetic abnormalities in Tennessee. NOT A PUNCH LINE, FOLKS.

If you have been with me for any amount of time, you know that I have dedicated a large part of my life to improving the quality of life for folks with disabilities. I include this bullet point as an honest observation, devoid of judgement. And because it is glaring.

And here’s the thing: No one stared. No one mocked. Kids didn’t point.

There is beauty everywhere. When I see the non-issue of such an issue, I can’t help but believe that hate and judgement is taught. I believe we come out in full agreement witht the Strange, and then Somewhere along the line, the cool kids at the table of Society’s Cafeteria took it upon themselves to lay the bricks that eventually became the Pyramid of Social Worth.

Worthiness has somehow become a top down endeavor. We see it in the value placed on personal contributions to society, with "less worthy" people in "menial" jobs struggling to make ends meet, but without whom, life would become unbearable. We see social service agencies everywhere shutting their doors because it is not a priority to politicians or the society they serve to allocate appropriate resources for survival, comfort, and certainly not ease.  To see unequivocal social equality amongst those who, themselves, have been marginalized by the main stream? That was a heart gift. (It sure didn’t hurt to have a bluegrass soundtrack being piped in speakers hidden in tightly manicured bushes.)

Did I mention I heart Dollywood?

3. I am still sad I didn’t have more kids. 

I didn’t even really want kids until I had one. And honestly, God did me a solid in giving me the one I’ve got. The Almightly might not be able to live with Himself if he had made it possible to feed too many of His children the GMO littered meals I suspect I probably serve my kid every day.

Still, I find myself obsessed with big families. The bigger the family, the bigger the obsession. I’m talking the kind of family that requires two full sized vans to get to Ryan’s Family Steak House.

Enter, the Willis Clan, playing some shows during Bluegrass and Barbeque week in Dollywood. Twelve kids, all of whom are stunning. STUNNING, you guys. The Willis dozen all play instruments, tap dance in perfect synchronicity, and point to the sky/nod when they sing songs that contain the words "Kingdom" or "Redeemed."

That family is clear evidence that God does, indeed, play favorites.

As I sat, waiting for my fellow travelers to come back from the bathroom, the back stage door slammed open, and I saw the Willis Clan pour out into the theme park, all wearing matching “Willis Clan” shirts.

One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Sixseveneightnineteneleventwelve. Mom. Dad.

And then the world went into slow motion as the youngest boy leapt into the arms of the oldest son, the sun glowing off their matching gelled up hair like halos. The little boy nestled his face into the crook of his hero’s neck, little pudgy fingers clasping themselves together in a love lock.

Rip and Tear went my uterus.

Joy. Unity. Buzz. Community.

It’s a shredder on my heart. To that end: an image of me and my son blinking at ourselves, waiting to be amused or entertained by each other in a moment of mutual loneliness.

Smaller posses rambling and rumbling in and out of the larger posse that doesn’t need us: “You can’t ever know this that we are, you of 'not-us,' and while we enjoy you, we don’t need you. We’d love a cup of your coffee if you are offering, but if we don’t get it, our meal won’t be ruined

I could never be a Mom to a small village. I’m WAY too into doing my own thing. Telling one uber-smart little boy to play by himself for an hour is one thing. Telling an army to zip it while I work on a paragraph: not so much.

We want what we don’t have. The grass is greener. And for them, the glow of green from their grass better be the reflection of a whole yard of hundred dollar bills. To buy even the cheap barbeque meal for the family at Dollywood is gonna set them back 140 damn dollars.

4. There is some SERIOUSLY shi*tty show on TV

I’ve been away from cable TV for a while. Roku, mannnnnn. No time: Grad School. So expensive. I have better things to do with my time, blah blah blah.

But The Willis Clan is on America’s Got Talent!  So when I TV stalked them, I saw the previews for the new NBC show Night Shift. And if I wasn’t such a Klassy Lady, I would make a stupid joke about how it should be called “Night Sh*t.” But I won’t.

It looked so bad, I had to look away from the TV so the actors didn't see me see them. I just felt so embarrassed on so many levels. Like that feeling when you are looking in the cracks to see if the toilet stall is occupied, and you look someone right in the eye as they sit on the toilet.

Oh, I know it's only a TV show. I know they can’t really see me. But that’s the only way I can describe how uncomfortable I felt seeing grown-up actors say lines like, “I’ve seen you sucking on a bong like you’re giving it CPR.”

If you’re super busy, you can go, now. The next bullet point is kind of stupid. I'll understand if you leave.

5. I would not do well with one of those cars with a “start” button.

You know the kind. Where just by being IN THE CAR, the key chain makes it possible for the ingnition to be turned on with the press of a button? Yeah, if that’s the future of cars, I need to keep my Corolla in such fantastic condition that it outlives that key fad. Because if I don’t have to take the key out of the ingnition, I won’t. I will just leave those keys in the car, because they will be one less thing to lose in my house.

Told ya that one was stupid.

Well, that's my piece, and that's my peace. Thank you for taking the time to read my silly words. It means the world. Carry on....

Old Single Mom
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