The statue, designed by Jim Gray, dates back to 1987, a year after a nearby theme part got rechristened as Dollywood.
"Daddy used to go down to the courthouse where they had erected a statue of me," Dolly says during an Apple Fitness+ Time to Walk interview. "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.'"
That reads like good-natured teasing, but Robert must've been legitimately worried about pigeon poop on his daughter's statue. As you might expect from a songwriting great, Dolly vividly describes how her dad would clean her hometown statue after-hours with "a bucket of soapy water in the back of his pick-up truck."
"That touched me so much," she adds. "I loved my daddy and wanted him to be proud of himself, as I was proud of him."
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In the same interview, Dolly credits her dad with inspiring the work ethic that's made her a Grammy-winning country music legend, movie star, philanthropist and Imagination Library founder.
Dolly, fellow recording star Shawn Mendes, NBA player Draymond Green and Orange is the New Black actor Uzo Aduba fly solo on the first four episodes of Time to Walk. The interviews offer company during workouts, as both New Year's resolutions and the pandemic find more people jogging or walking in their neighborhoods or on treadmills.
"Often podcasts are hosted," said Apple's senior director of Fitness Technologies, Jay Blahnik, to Tech Crunch. "In our journey to build out this experience, we certainly considered if there should be a host walking with this person. What we realized is that, for what we were trying to create, the intimacy of having the singular guest talk to you felt a lot more like you were on a walk with them. The notion that it's not happening in a studio (in almost all cases), that they're walking someplace that inspires them."