Remembering a Minnesotan’s Miscellany mentions

Excuse our immodesty, but surely Bob Dylan’s appearances over the years in North Carolina Miscellany played a small part in bringing him to the attention of the Swedish Academy:

— On his view of Billy Graham as a rock ‘n’ roll model

— On his performance in Charlotte during Watergate

— On his debt to Thomas Wolfe

— On his visits to Carl Sandburg and from Bland Simpson

If only he could’ve waited for Love Valley before going electric….

 

When Bland met Bob… and when Bob met Carl ….

“Sara Dylan answered the door, gave me a blank look, and closed the door. About two minutes later Bob Dylan himself appeared and stepped out onto the small porched entry. He wore blue jeans, a white shirt buttoned all the way up and a black leather vest, and he was very friendly and relaxed.

” ‘Bland. What kind of name is that?’ ”

— From “Christmas With Dylan: A true-life pilgrimage” by Bland Simpson in Creative Loafing (Dec. 15, 2004)

I don’t know which I appreciate more about “Christmas With Dylan” — its unforgettable, out-of-left-field last line or its serendipitous parallel with Dylan’s own youthful pilgrimage:

“On the porch was Mrs. Lillian Sandburg. She didn’t seem startled. …. Dylan announced: ‘I am a poet. My name is Robert Dylan, and I would like to see Mr. Sandburg.’ She disappeared into the house….Finally, the poet appeared, a genial, slow-moving man …. He wore an old plaid wool shirt, baggy trousers and a green eye-shade over shell-rimmed glasses….Sandburg: ‘You look like you are ready for anything….’ ”

— From “No Direction Home: The Life And Music Of Bob Dylan” by Robert Shelton (2011)

 

South of the Border pales beside north of the border

“The Dismal Swamp Canal, on the border between Virginia and North Carolina… was basically a dredged passage through the marshes, and it enjoyed brief fame because of a hotel built on its banks directly on top of the state line.

“Young eighteenth century swells would hold duels here, one man standing in Virginia, the other on the far side of the border, making their crime legally ambiguous — particularly important if one of them died. And gamblers could scurry across the hotel lounge into North Carolina whenever any Virginia marshal arrived to break up their game.”

— From “The Men Who United the States: America’s Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible” by Simon Winchester (2013)

Charlotte to the Great Dismal Swamp perhaps being the cultural equivalent of Murphy to Manteo, I’m only now discovering the notorious Lake Drummond Hotel.  A more detailed description can be found in “The Great Dismal: A Carolinian’s Swamp Memoir” by Bland Simpson (1990).

 

No Tar Heel can escape Bill Friday’s dragnet

“Couple of times a year, Mother could be counted on to call me: ‘Frank, turn on the public TV! Bland’s on Bill Friday’s show!’

” ‘Mother,’ I said, ‘who isn’t on Bill Friday’s show? Before he quits, Bill Friday will have interviewed every single person in the state. That’s why they call it “North Carolina People.” He’s using the alphabet — when he gets to the Waynesville Qs, then it’s you and me, Mom.’ ”

— From Frank G. Queen’s introduction of Bland Simpson as recipient of the North Caroliniana Society Award for 2010