Dolly Parton’s success is a true rags-to-riches story. The kind movies are made of — just look at the new TV biopic Coat of Many Colors for proof of that. The fourth of twelve siblings and daughter to a poor farmer and construction worker, Parton has inspired countless others in their quests to follow their dreams.
She’s also a pretty good role model when it comes to giving back.
In a video for Billboard, Parton shared the first Christmas gifts she ever bought her parents as soon as she hit it big in country music, first as a songwriter and then as an artist. “It was always my wish to do something great for my family,” says Parton. “My daddy always drove a truck. I bought my daddy a big blue truck, and he was always so proud of that. He never would trade it in. He kept it. The truck is still very much in the family today. Daddy’s gone now, but I still have the truck. It’s on some of the property that I bought that daddy used to own.”
It doesn’t get much driving time anymore, but all the nieces and nephews get to play on it.
As for her mom, “I bought my mama a Cadillac,” says Parton. Dolly would trade in the car every few years for her mom, with the final model being a big gold one. “That went back to me when Mama passed on,” says Parton. “I wouldn’t take nothing for it. My husband drives it a lot. Because it was Mama’s car, and I still drive it some, I call it the ‘Dolly Mama.’ Everybody knows not to mess with the Dolly Mama, because that was such a precious thing. I was always proud that I could do for my family when I started making some money.”