Hop in! Where you headed?

I aim this blog at Hitchhiking stories, obviously. However, you can take that in the 'poetic' sense, as we are 'snakes' in time and the asphalt rivers take us to many places, as well as 'places'..

.... occasionally my own 'Road' spurs me to use this blog to communicate with someone I've 'travelled with' who holds a special meaning to me.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Bob Dylan - 3rd party anecdote HE was hitchin'

Dateline Ashland, Oregon, 1970 ( unless my memory polices my precision post-post):

I'd been staying on High Street with Lydia and her friends. I think around that time my buddy Morley Hughes, whom I'd met when he'd been visiting Yakima a year or so before, was also living in Ashland. We hitched together alot--more to come about Morley. We all had an acquaintance, another long-hair, who lived in town, a tall fellow and I don't recall his name. He was employed though, which set him apart from us. But it was a cool job as late night/all night janitor at the Angus Bowmer Shakespearean Theater
I think we'd run into him in the afternoons sometimes in the local restaurant where sometimes the actors would have lunch.
I recall a burly actor in casual clothes who was playing Macbeth at the time loudly proclaim,
" WENCH! ANOTHER FLAGON OF COFFEE!" in his stage voice. Damn, he needed no amplification. Big Lungs, we'd call him if he was to become a character in this anecdote, but he's not.

Our janitor friend would generally get off work, then walk home through Lithia Park, named after the famous Lithia water, which perked from underground springs, and has a variety of minerals and chemicals, including lithium. I could struggle to make a connection here to Hollywood being a town of manics and how actors maybe could benefit from learning their craft in a town that provided such a liquid for free in their water fountains around town,......but I won't. The other 'aside' about the Park is that is that it was indeed designed by John McLaren, who also designed the Golden Gate park in San Francisco...and, whether they still survive there or not, there were Black Swans in the park when I was there, for the tourists among you, the hunters not so much.

Our janitor pal's place must have been on the little road that borders the park, probably near where I lived with Alaska John in my then future temporary home (another 'incarnation' in Ashland).

One day, after he awoke from his day sleep (night-shifters understand this), he trudged to the coffee shop/restaurant, and, in a very low keyed manner, very cool, like not-trying-to-impress us, he told us a tale of an encounter he'd made at dawn.

6 AM. Same day, earlier. He was tired. Probably mentioned lighting a joint for his short walk home, a small studio, I believe near the park. You walk through the park from the Angus Bowmer Theater then get to a place up-park where there used to be a home. The cement foundation is barely seen, but the steps leading up to where it had been are still used. The home had been on the park side of that little road I mentioned earlier. No other homes were on that side, I believe. The park folks probably tore it down or something when the park went in, but these cement steps remained and were used to climb to the road above. They were known as "The Wishing Steps", for the mythical purposes we all needed at the time . A good place to sit and enjoy a toke. Sun was still trying to get it's head over the 'sill' of the horizon.

So. As he lit a number, our bud saw a stranger parked on the top step, with a backpack. His recounting to us right then, in the same tone as he'd begun, included this at that point,"...it was Bob Dylan". No exclamation point. Very cool.
"I just greeted him, and asked where he was headed. He said he had a farmer friend in Yreka, NOT Eureka, and was hitchhiking to go see his friend. He stopped in Ashland to rest a bit and perhaps because his friend wasn't going to be home til afternoon.
"I said, 'I'm on my way home...you want some lumpy mush?' Dylan said, "Sure. Thanks." and we walked to my little place.
"As I reheated my lumpy mush on my little burner, I had the hi-fi playing Dylan tunes. I never asked his name, or mentioned his name. But it was Bob. No doubt.
"We enjoyed the mush, he said, "Thanks, man", and then hit the road."

I know what you're thinking. But I believed him. Never had a reason to doubt him.
My friend Evelyn and I saw Dylan with Waylon a few years ago in Portland. That was the second time for me. I'd seen him with The Band at the old Seattle Center Collisseum, in 1976, I think. My girlfriend, Laura is deaf, so she enjoyed my Mariott suite while Ev and I enjoyed the show. I enjoyed the element of lots of folks about my age who lived through the same things almost as much as Dylan himself. I play guitar. I think it's still true that I've forgotten more Dylan tunes than all the other tunes I do remember. But I kinda decided my favorite, if there is one, is Boots of Spanish Leather. It can make me cry. After the Portland show, I got back to Seattle and 'lifted' many different versions of that off the internet by various artists.
I then read his book, bought with his complete poetry, which I still am working through,saw the interview with Ed Bradley on TV, and am even more of a Dylanophile now.

This Ashland tale brings back warm and free and footloose memories for me. Perhaps to anyone else it isn't much, but I hope it is. If anyone knows this Morely Hughes, or someone named Lydia who may have been there in the early seventies, please relate this to them. Thanks.

No comments:

Post a Comment