Monday, August 17, 2009

Like A Rollin' Stone

By Jim Parks

There goes a little old man walking and stopping, staring at old houses in a minority neighborhood in a shoreside New Jersey community during summer's dog days.

He is slight of stature, walks haltingly and with a painful looking limp.

He has been standing, staring at a house for a particularly long time when one of the residents on the block becomes nervous, calls 9-1-1 and asks for the assistance of the police. This man looks suspicious or quite possibly in distress. Can they come and help?

Two young officers approach him in their patrol cars, ask him for identification. The little old man says he hasn't carried an ID card or driver's license for many, many years. He rarely drives, has a business office to handle his affairs, and just doesn't see the need.

His name. Bob Dylan.

The officers, both of whom are in their twenties, have never heard the name before. It doesn't ring a bell.

Following the time-honored formula from the King's Bench, a three-pronged test of a man's own recognizance to a peace officer, they ask for his address and his date of birth. He gives them the information.

They ask the acid test question. What is his business in the neighborhood? He tells them he is on tour.

Just what does he mean by that? What does "on tour" mean, they ask.

He says he and some other men are doing a multi-city tour, a musical show playing stadiums throughout the U.S.

Who are these men? Why, Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp.

They immediately put him in the car and take him back to the hotel.

"He couldn't have been nicer," one of the officers told a local reporter.

I wonder how it must have felt, to be on your own, a complete unknown, like a rollin' stone.

I'll bet he felt free. I'll bet he felt fortunate and alert and alive and well.

At least, that is what I wish for him.

Walk on, Mr. Bob Dylan. You are welcome in my town any time, sir.

Rely upon it. We are here for you.

...You're invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal...

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