Dolly Parton Revealed Why People Being Late is Her No. 1 Pet Peeve

by Jon D. B.
(Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)

Want to make Dolly Parton love you? Who doesn’t? Turns out, the secret is to always be on time. And by on time we mean early.

“Everybody says that if I’m on time, I’m late.” These are the words of Country Queen Dolly Parton. It’s a motto to live by, surely, as no one ever enjoys a late arrival. Yet as common of a pet peeve as lateness is, it may surprise Parton’s fans to know how strongly she dislikes the act of being late.

Speaking to Parade back in 2011, the one and only Dolly Parton told film critic Thelma Adams as much. Adams asked the iconic Appalachian for “what ruffles her feathers,” and Parton replied sternly with:

“People being late. I hate if you’re at a meeting and waiting on somebody. I’m the most prompt person. Everybody says that if I’m on time, I’m late.”

Spoken like a true Tennessean. We’re big on manners here in the South, and Dolly Parton is no exception. Honestly, she’s as much the Queen of Tact, Kindness, and Love as she is Country in our book.

For proof, critic Thelma Adams was then interviewed by Parade a few years on in 2016, as well. As part of her interview, she told the trade: “I loved interviewing Dolly Parton because she actually called early — she had the best manners, was totally in the moment, down to earth.”

See? Bless you, Dolly Parton. Never change.

Dolly Parton: ‘I always feel like I got my work ethic from my dad’

As any fan of Dolly Parton knows, the “Songteller” comes from the most humble of Appalachian beginnings. Born and raised in Sevierville, Tennessee, the living legend was born the daughter of a sharecropper, her father Robert. Dolly was the fourth of twelve children reared by her mother, Avie, and will be the first to tell you she owes everything to them. Especially her “daddy.”

(Photo by John Seakwood/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

“I always feel like I got my work ethic from my dad,” the icon tells listeners in her debut Fitness+ episode, where she discusses her father at length.

“Daddy used to go down to the courthouse where they had erected a statue of me,” Dolly continues. “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.’”

“So I went home and I said, ‘Daddy did you know, they’re putting a statue of me … down at the courthouse?’ And Daddy said, ‘Well yeah, I heard about that.’ And 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.” 

The point of this story, however, lies directly in the work ethic of the Partons – be it Dolly or Robert. The Parton daughter still recalls how her father would take “a bucket of soapy water in the back of his pick-up truck” in the middle of the night. There, at the Sevier County Courthouse in her hometown, Robert Parton would secretly scrub the statue of his daughter – and the Dolly plaque below it -to keep it pristine.

“That touched me so much,” Dolly says. An impact that lasts to this day.