Dolly Parton showed why she continues to be one of country music’s class acts last Saturday when she met up with a young fan with Down Syndrome by the name of Gage Blackwell for some hugs, laughter, and a spur of the moment Dolly Parton/Kenny Rogers duet.
Gage’s Facebook page posted multiple videos of Parton’s visit, including their initial meeting in which Dolly bursts out in glee, “Well who is this? Is this my boyfriend? Is that Kenny Rogers?” Dolly jokingly went on to call him “Gage Rogers” as he smiled broadly and eventually joined her in singing the famous eighties Parton/Rogers duet “Islands in the Stream.” The video of Parton and Blackwell has had over 500,000 hits on Facebook.
Watch it below.
Dolly and Gage continued to rejoice in their visit by telling stories, talking about Dolly’s upcoming projects, and, of course, singing more songs, including Parton’s “Coat of Many Colors,” “Jolene,” “9 to 5,” and Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.”
While Dolly Parton is a country music idol, Gage is no stranger to the genre of country music either, having uploaded multiple videos of his renditions of other hits from singers such as George Jones and Tammy Wynette.
Gage’s mother, Lynnae Blackwell, talked to Today about the experience that happened at Parton’s Tennessee theme park, Dollywood, on Saturday, also known as World Down Syndrome Day. According to Lynnae, someone at Gage’s school saw one of his Facebook videos where he gushed about Dolly and encouraged the boy’s mother to try and contact Parton’s business partner to see if a meeting would be possible. Much to her surprise, Parton, a singer known for her genuine personality and big heart, was more than willing to oblige.
Lynnae had this to say of the encounter, “Gage loves country music and for him to get to sit with and sing with someone he idolizes like Dolly was just heartwarming.” And Gage was also sure to express his gratitude and joy about his visit with Dolly stating on his Facebook page, “This was the best!!!!!! I love Dolly and I want to marry her!!!!”
While Dolly’s husband of nearly forty-nine years might object to that, Gage is undoubtedly happy to know that Parton seemed equally as excited and grateful to have spent such quality time with him. Parton joked with the young singer as she signed an autograph, “We might be going on the road before you know it!”
[Image courtesy of Today]