Spirited Florida grandmother has determination to succeed
In Bonita Springs, Florida, restaurateur Dolly Scott is famous for her homemade coconut crème pie, one of 35 pies that she serves at Dolly's Produce Patch and Eatery on Bonita Beach Road. In fact, Dolly's pie choices are so popular that she has created a pocket-sized booklet called "The Sweet Story Dessert Book."
"When I put one of these booklets in a man's pocket, he never throws it away," says this pint-sized charmer.
One of her pies is called a "Kentucky Derby Pie," which she serves in May, when the Derby is running. The ingredients are pecans, chocolate chips--and bourbon!!
Getting the feisty grandmother of five to sit down for an interview is no easy task.
"Here, you eat your pie. I have a few things to do," Dolly says, as she hurries off to complete some task or help her son and partner bag up a to-go order.
Dolly's story is one of courage and determination. Shortly after opening her produce business 18 years ago, she fell and broke her back. This injury and her subsequent osteoporosis have not kept her down.
Ten years ago, her Norwegian friend Eva talked her into attending a Fred Astaire dance party.
"I'm sick and tired of seeing you work, day and night," Eva said. "What do you do besides work?"
At the party, a gentleman asked Scott if she would like to waltz. She answered, "I don't know how."
Declaring that she was a "natural," the gentleman proceeded to give Scott her very first lesson, and she was hooked.
For ten years, Scott has closed up her popular restaurant at three and headed for the dance studio, where she practices several hours.
"The more I danced, the more competitions I entered," Scott explained.
In July of 2011, Scott traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she took first place in the Silver division of the Fred Astaire National Dance Competition.
"Dance is the best thing I've done for myself in my whole life," declares the tiny senior. "I'll never stop!"
Dolly Scott's dance awards are not her only claim to fame. In 2001, she was one of 7,000 applicants chosen to carry the Olympic torch for the 2001 Winter Olympics.
"There were over 250,000 people who applied," Scott said. "Applicants had to be prominent in the community and be overcoming some adversity."
Scott worked with a trainer for three months.
"I was coming off a back injury, and I could hardly walk, much less run," Dolly admitted. "My trainer fixed up a baseball bat with three and one-half pound weights and told me to go down to the beach and walk."
When the time came to carry the torch, Scott was flanked by an aide, whose job was to keep the torch from falling.
"I reached a point where I wanted to run, so I asked the man if it would be okay," Scott said.
"Can you?" the aide asked.
"I can try," answered Scott.
And she did.
The story of Dolly Scott's life has been one of hard work and accomplishment. From her childhood, growing up in Minnesota in a family of 13 children, to the building of a successful restaurant from a humble produce stand, this diminutive lady of Scandinavian descent has shown what can be achieved through the spirit of determination.
When she saw that the stifling summer heat was devastating her business, Scott decided to begin free deliveries, so that busy business people could also enjoy her lunches. The decision helped save her business during the hot Florida summers.
Scott lost her husband several years ago, but her philosophy on her loss is indicative of her positive attitude.
"You can be alone, but you don't have to be lonely," is this cheerful senior's advice. "Most of my old friends are gone, but I make new friends every day."
She also has her four children, one of whom is co-owner of the restaurant, and her five grandchildren.
Life in southwest Florida is good for this dancing dynamo!