It’s Bob Dylan’s 80th Birthday and that reminded me of this incident.
It was December 1977 or 1978 and I was driving from Madison to Minneapolis with April and Rachael to visit our families for Christmas. We stopped in Menominee to pick up April’s brother, Dean. Around midnight I stopped at the Big Steer truck stop outside of Osseo, Wisconsin, to get some coffee so I could make the next hundred miles to the Twin Cities. I saw a new red Cadillac in the parking lot. We sat in a booth and ordered. Dean, who was sitting across from me, said, “Guess what, there is a guy sitting over there who tries to look like Bob Dylan.” I turned around and looked. “Dean, that is Bob Dylan.”
“Don’t go up to him to say anything,” said April.
“No, we have to make sure that Rachael can say she met Bob Dylan when she was six years old. C’mon, Rach, let’s go meet Bob Dylan.”
He was sitting in the booth across from two guys. He seemed very small and was smoking a cigarette with fingers that showed nicotine stains.
“Hi, Bob. We just wanted to say how much we dig your music over the years. I’m Darryl and this is my daughter.
“Where are you guys going?”
“We’re going up to Minneapolis to see our families for Christmas.”
“Oh, yeah. I’m going up to Lutzen to see my mother.”
“I’ve been playing the guitar and singing since I was a kid in Minneapolis, so my daughter has listened to me play your songs for years.”
“What’s your name?” he asked Rachael.
“Oh, I like that name. What songs do you like?”
“I like Tangled Up in Blue,” said Rachael.
“I think Rachael has memorized that song. She’s heard the record or me doing it so often. Rachael, you know the verses by heart, don’t you?”
“Yes,” Rachael said. “Early one morning the sun was shining, I was layin’ in bed, wondering if she had changed at all, and if her hair was still red…”
“Well, you do know that song, don’t you? That’s really great.”
“Well, Bob, we don’t want to bother you, but we just wanted to say hello. Have nice holiday with your mother.”
“You, too. Good luck with your music.”
“Thanks, and same to you.