Dylan, DaBlues & Toad Night –
2004 – Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. The story I am about
to tell you is beyond strange...
morning (April 10) my husband and I were getting ready to head off to Columbia's
Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical
Garden's annual plant sale.
This is a much anticipated annual Spring event for us – and for Merlin.
always come back with pots of interesting landscape plants, bulbs and flowers,
all meticulously labeled (genus and species) and ready to plant. Merlin waits
impatiently for us, his nose quivering in anticipation of what's to come.
We haul the plants out of the car and line them up along the back wall
of the patio. When everything is in place, Merlin is invited to inspect the goods.
He is allowed unlimited
sniffing privileges – but no chewing.
And sniff, he does. We've discovered that "zoo plants" exude powerful
aromas undetectable by mere humans. Aromas that dogs adore. And what might be
the source of these compelling
scents? It's no mystery. The Riverbanks Zoo routinely uses dung from its exotic
animals as fertilizer for its lush landscape. Elephant dung (often called zoo-doo)
is particularly rich and plentiful. Rumor has it giraffe and
hippopotamus droppings are
Anyway, as I was saying before I was side-tracked
by the zoo business, we were heading out the door when the phone rang. I rushed
back inside and grabbed the phone on the third ring.
This obviously was some
kind of a joke. Bob Dylan was due to appear that
evening in concert at the Columbia Township Auditorium. We'd had our
tickets for over a month. Tonight was the big night and we were pumped.
At this point my mind was racing.
No way was this Bob Dylan. But what if it was? I couldn't think of
anything to say. I blurted out the first thing that came to mind.
I see... and what are their
Elvis and Victoria.
by a pause). So why are you calling
I read about Toad
Night on DaDane
of DaWeek. It gets pretty boring when you are on the road as much as
I am, so I'm online a lot. I was wondering if you've had Toad Night
yet this year.
As a matter of fact, tonight might be the night. We won't know for
sure, though, until we get back from the, umm, Dylan concert.
If the toads come out tonight,
I'd sure like to see them. Would that be possible?
Gosh, I don't know.
My house is a real mess right now. Are you sure you're Bob Dylan?
Bob Dylan. And I don't want to see your house. I don't care about your
house. I just want
I racked my brain. Who could
be calling me, pretending to be Bob Dylan? This was crazy. My husband
was back inside now, listening to my end of the conversation with an
puzzled look on his face.
Bang went the receiver. I
turned to my husband. "You'll never guess who that was," I said.
It was a fine Spring day. We went to the zoo, bought our plants (what
a haul!), and brought them home to Merlin. He had a great (dane) time
sniffing them while
we enjoyed our
lunch out on the back patio. Afterwards
I went to my studio and began "googling" for information
about Bob Dylan.
I discovered the little-known
that Bob Dylan does indeed have blue Great Danes. He has had the Blues
for decades, usually two at a time. And yes, his current Danes are
Elvis (makes sense, doesn't it?) and Victoria. You
read, recently, about Dylan's controversial decision to appear in a
series of television
commercials for Victoria's
Secret. The ads will be running all
this month. Nobody can figure out why Dylan agreed to do them. (Hello?
Maybe it 's because his dog is named VICTORIA. Has anybody else thought
I also learned that Dylan's concert tour, called the "Never
Ending Tour, began sixteen years ago. Hence the name. Dylan spends
of his days on the road and averages 100+ concerts a year. I suppose
with a schedule like that, you'd look for something interesting to
do when you aren't actually on the stage. Wouldn't you?
The concert began at 8pm. We had front row seats, center
balcony. There was no opening act, just Dylan and his 4-man band. He
took the stage wearing a long black coat and a white cowboy hat. He
audience; he just walked over to his electric piano and began playing.
As I listened to him bark and growl his way through the first song,
"Maggie's Farm," I thought to myself, "Yeah, the guy has Danes."
It was a good concert. We expected an intermission at some point,
but Dylan played straight through – for almost two hours! Then
he simply left the stage, without saying a word. He was followed by
musicians. The audience roared (and stomped) for more. The minutes
ticked by. Dylan and his guys finally came back. Their encore was long
oh-so-good. Dylan paused midway through to introduce the band.
I listened carefully. Was this the guy who had phoned me
earlier? I couldn't really tell. The encore finally ended
with a sizzling
rendition of "All Along the Watchtower."
I gotta tell you,
Dylan can put on a great concert when he wants to.
The Phone Call
Leaving the concert, we got caught in heavy traffic. We'd parked close
to the concert hall and now we were paying the price. Dylan, or whoever
it really was, had said he'd call in an hour. It should take us 35
minutes to get home, but we hadn't planned on being stuck in traffic.
We lost 15 minutes. We decided to try an alternate route that might
get us home faster. Bad choice. We didn't expect an 11pm freight
train?! Give me a break.) Another 15 minutes down the tubes.
While we sat in the car we had plenty of time to wonder: What was
going on back at the house? Was it Toad Night? Was it really Bob Dylan
who called? Would he actually
try to come out to see the toads?
We finally reached our driveway.
We knew we were late, but hopefully not too late. As we drove through
the woods we looked for toads along the way. Not a one. We rolled
our windows to see if we could hear anything. Not a peep. Drats! The
toads were sleeping in.
We heard the phone ringing in the house just as we were getting
out of the car. We ran to the door, side-stepping a solitary toad
on the walkway. My husband had the keys. In his haste, he dropped
the house-key. I moaned. He found the key and thrust
it into the lock. The door swung open just as the phone stopped ringing.
ran inside (dodging Merlin who was blocking the doorway, as usual)
and I lunged for the phone. A dial-tone – a flat, lousy
dial-tone – was all I heard. I turned to my husband. "Maybe
he'll call back," I said.
Well, he never called back. We still don't know who "he" was, but we
like to think it was, in fact, Bob
ever know is if he posts a comment here on DaDane of DaWeek.
ARE YOU OUT THERE?!