Dorothy Lee was a tall woman, though slightly stooped. She was made of old stock, sturdy and angular. A wheelchair was in the middle of the front room, but she was not in it. She was greeting us like old friends at the front door.

When the initial shock of our arrival had passed, Dorothy Lee showed us around her home. The front door opened into the living room, bedroom to the left, dining room and kitchen a straight shot from the front room. Pictures of Vince were everywhere—a magnet on the refrigerator, a cardboard stand-up Vince in the front room, framed clippings on a wall. Dorothy didn't act gooey or silly toward Vince, but one look at her house and you could tell that she was a true fan.

Everybody's got a story, and Dorothy Lee had a wealth of them: Stories about her early childhood lived on a farm in Kentucky, too rural to have a "proper" address. Stories about the children she had raised—hers, her grandchildren, even some great-grandchildren. Stories about the husband she had buried thirty years ago.

Dorothy was born in 1911 and had lived in this house most of her adult life. The neighborhood had seen a lot of change. She grew up in a world that was completely segregated, and she would have been in her midfifties during the legendary civil-rights sit-ins in Nashville.

"I'm the oldest person in this neighborhood," she said. "When I moved here, it was all white. Now I'm the last one on the block."

She told us that people had asked her if she wanted to move. Seeming tickled to talk about it, she said, "You know, I'm just an old woman. I don't care what color a person's skin is." We asked her if she was afraid to live alone.

"What would I be afraid of?" she replied.

Dorothy had a sharp mind and a quick wit. The time flew by.
FROM: Amy Grant, Vince Gill, Rascal Flatts, Kenny Rogers: Home for the Holidays
Published on January 01, 2006


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