Thursday, May 30, 2024

Bob Dylan and Neil Young at the VFW


Bob Dylan was extremely interested in my account of my library job's social hour/farewell at the local VFW. Bob and I go out for drinks whenever he's in town, but more at cool cocktail bars and good smelling distilleries that serve, you know, good food and drinks. No shade on the local VFW, but... it doesn't.

Nevertheless, Bob loved the idea of the VFW, so he flew in from... somewhere. I think the South, where he'd been touring.

He's always touring.

I met him at the VFW. He brought a friend, or an acquaintance. Bob knows a lot of people. I knew this person too, but only by virtue of his fame. It was Neil Young.

Bob didn't introduce us. And Neil had the slightly stunned look of a person who left a rare day off on his own tour in order to fly to Minnesota and go to a VFW because of god knows what Dylan told him.

We signed in, which I learned one does at a VFW, and we grabbed a table. No one recognized us. We fit the average age demographic, with me being the youngster. We ordered Bulleit Ryes and ginger ale. Bob looked super happy for some reason I could not fathom. Neil fidgeted, but settled down drinking. He finally noticed me. "Are you a musician?" He asked.

"No. I write a blog." I replied. "Clerkmanifesto."

"It's sort of good and read by no one." Bob commented drily, insulting at least six of you out there on the Internet who do actually read it. Look at you now! But I've never noticed any of you to take offense at this sort of thing. Also, Bob reads clerkmanifesto or we wouldn't have been sitting in a raw VFW in a Saint Minneapolis suburb.

Neil took out his phone and started fiddling with it, I assumed to conduct some personal or professional business, but no. He showed me the screen. It was clerkmanifesto. "Is this it?" He asked.


Neil started reading.

Bob and I drank and talked about what we always talk about, which is pretty much anything, and I won't go into these discussions in this particular post. Maybe in a future account. Every once in awhile I'd sneak a peak at Neil's phone. It was always clerkmanifesto. He was quietly reading slowly through, though the sheer volume of clerkmanifesto was bound to defeat him sometime in the evening.

After too many drinks and a wind down with barely tolerable burgers and fries, the VFW closed and spit us into the night. Neil put away his phone and politely said goodbye. He had to get going.

Bob and I went to a nearby swamp to go for a walk in the warmish night.

We didn't say much. We just walked along with the strange sounds in the water. Then I asked "Do you think he liked it?"

"Who?" Bob asked.

"Neil Young. He said nothing and read clerkmanifesto for five straight hours." I exclaimed. "Do you think he liked it?"

"Why would that matter?" Bob asked with genuine interest.

I thought about the question for awhile, but didn't answer.

We walked quietly for awhile more.

Then I started singing softly:

"Oh, the hours we'd spent inside the Coliseum

Dodging lions and a wasting time

Oh, those mighty kings of the jungle, I hardly stand to see em"

Usually when I start singing Bob Dylan to Bob Dylan he gets quietly and amusingly irritated. But for some strange reason he started singing along with me!

"It sure has been a long, hard climb

Train wheels running through the back of my memory

When I ran on the hilltop following a pack of wild geese

Someday everything is gonna sound like a rhapsody

When I paint my masterpiece"

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes it's not enough to know the meaning of things, sometimes we have to know what things don't mean as well. Like what does it mean to not know what the person you love is capable of? Things fall apart, especially all the neat order of rules and laws. The way we look at the world is the way we really are......Robert Z


If you were wondering, yes, you should comment. Not only does it remind me that I must write in intelligible English because someone is actually reading what I write, but it is also a pleasure for me since I am interested in anything you have to say.

I respond to pretty much every comment. It's like a free personalized blog post!

One last detail: If you are commenting on a post more than two weeks old I have to go in and approve it. It's sort of a spam protection device. Also, rarely, a comment will go to spam on its own. Give either of those a day or two and your comment will show up on the blog.