Dolly Parton has always talked about her father – Robert Lee Parton – and how he provided for their family “by the bend of his back and the sweat of his brow.”
The family patriarch first worked as a sharecropper in the mountains of East Tennessee and eventually started tending his own small tobacco farm and acreage. However, the farm’s income was never enough for his wife and twelve children that Robert also took some construction jobs. Dolly recalled how they used to take turns rubbing their father’s hard-working and weather-beaten hands using corn silk lotion.
Although their house is filled with love, the family struggled every day living in poverty and money has always been an issue. In fact, when Dolly Parton was born, her father couldn’t afford to pay the doctor, so he gave him a sack of cornmeal instead.