DaDane of DaWeek

 Created: 04/12/04


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– Bob Dylan, DaBlues & Toad Night –

April 12, 2004 – Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. The story I am about to tell you is beyond strange...

Saturday Morning
Saturday 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. We 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 used, too.

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.


Yes, hello. Is this Ginnie Saunders?

Yes, it is. And who are you?
(The caller's voice was very strange – hoarse and gravelly.)

This is Bob Dylan.

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.

Ummm... you're Bob Dylan, are you?

Yes. I have two Great Danes and I am a big fan of DaDane of DaWeek. I'm in town for a concert tonight.

Really? You're Bob Dylan and you have two Great Danes. I've never heard about Bob Dylan owning Great Danes. What color are they?

Blues, of course. I'm a big fan of the Blues. I wouldn't have anything else.

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 names?

Elvis and Victoria.

Really (followed by a pause). So why are you calling me?

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.

Not yet. 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?

Yes, I'm Bob Dylan. And I don't want to see your house. I don't care about your house. I just want to see your toads.

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.

I'm sorry, but I'm just not convinced you're Bob Dylan. Maybe if you sang something?

I am not going to do that. You can hear me sing at the Township tonight. Listen, if the toads come out I want to see them. I will phone you exactly one hour after the concert ends to see if they're out. Will you be home by then?


Fine. I'll talk to you later.

Bang went the receiver. I turned to my husband. "You'll never guess who that was," I said.

Saturday Afternoon
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 fact 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 may have 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 of that?!)

I also learned that Dylan's concert tour, called the "Never Ending Tour, began sixteen years ago. Hence the name. Dylan spends nearly half 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?

Saturday Night
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 never acknowledged the 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 the other musicians. The audience roared (and stomped) for more. The minutes ticked by. Dylan and his guys finally came back. Their encore was long and 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. (A Saturday night 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 down 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. I 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.

Toad Night
Well, he never called back. We still don't know who "he" was, but we like to think it was, in fact, Bob Dylan. I guess the only way we'll ever know is if he posts a comment here on DaDane of DaWeek.


In case you're wondering, Bob, Toad Night took place last night. It was a day later then we expected, and the first time they've done it on Easter. As I write this, the toads are still singing out on the pond. They've been at it for almost 12 hours now. They'll probably quiet down around noon, but come evening, they may be back for one more round. I wish you could have seen them.

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