Sunday, December 11, 2016

One More Speech for Posteritry: State Senator Tomassoni Introduces Governor Dayton to Proclaim Bob Dylan Day in Minnesota

Copyright © Nobel Media AB 2015. Photo: Pi Frisk.
Ceremonial fuss, pomp and circumstance took center stage in Oslo and Stockholm on Saturday. Nobel Prizes were awarded, speeches were given, and the proud and the brave who received invitations were dressed in their finest threads. According to the dress code, guys were not only required to wear a black tailcoat with silk facings, their black trousers were to display two rows of braid down each leg. A white stiff-fronted shirt, white stiff wing collar attached to the shirt with collar studs, white bowtie, white low-cut waistcoat, black dress socks and black formal shoes were also essential attire. Shirt studs and cufflinks should be silver or white. And don't forget your white handkerchief. Fortunately the ladies had a few more options. Any color will do for the evening gown, as long as the end result leaves you suitable for framing.

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By way of contrast it was anything goes in Hibbing. When the temps hover near zero you can hardly expect the locals to focus on looking cool. The aim is to stay warm.

Our ceremony in the Hibbing High School auditorium began with the Star-Spangled Banner, followed by a warm welcome from retired Hibbing teacher Craig Hattam who then introduced State Senator David Tomassoni. The senator seemed to relish the task of introducing Governor Mark Dayton to mark the occasion. After a short speech it wasn't long before the governor stripped off his suit jacket to join the rest of the T-shirt clad locals from the Hibbing Dylan Project. When in Rome, do as the Romans do, right? Leave your stiff shirts and britches in Scandinavia.

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State Senator David Tomassoni's speech may not have conveyed the same gravity as Professor Engdahl's Award Ceremony Speech in Stockholm, but it was perfectly suited to the occasion. After being introduced by Craig Hattam, whose Facebook post set in motion the Hibbing Dylan Project and an avalanche of activity here these past eight weeks, Senator Tomassoni got right into it.


The Senator
Thank you Craig. Thanks to all of you for being here. This is a mini-indication of the global impact Bob Zimmerman has had on the entire world. Just when you think his career might be winding down, he wins the Nobel Prize for Literature. As Craig said, “It all started right here on this stage.” I’m not sure it was a positive start but he certainly used it as springboard and in true Iron Range Fashion he said, “Trust Yourself”, "It’s Up To Me,” and he went on to be the Bob Dylan we all know and love today. And thank you Governor for making the trip to this historic school on this historic day. Without getting political, I guess the 2016 election is an indication that the “Times They Are A Changing!”

So as I was driving down “Highway 61” my brother Dick called me. Now, Dick and Connie Perpich (God rest her soul), as well as many others, have been promoting and pushing for some type of Bob Dylan exhibit or statue or museum or even all three of them for quite some time. In fact, one of the places that Connie requested memorials to be sent to is the Bob Dylan Fund.

When Craig posted his comment on Facebook, things started happening as there are Dylan fans all over the world and it was clear that something was “Blowin in the Wind!” So while the family doesn't like the statue idea, everything is negotiable so who knows, but we do have to do something to put in place something special honoring Hibbing’s favorite son, Bob Dylan, because people will come from all over the world to visit a tribute to Dylan. So maybe a Self Portrait, maybe a statue or maybe a museum. I know we have to “Handle with Care” and “Maybe Someday” we can “Ring Them Bells” and say “Congratulations.” Hibbing is “Never Gonna Be The Same Again.”

So Dick asked me why I was driving down “Highway 61”... I said, “I was having a bit of the “North Country Blues” and I hadn’t “Revisited Highway 61” in some time. He asked where I was on “Highway 61” and I said, “Down Along the Cove!” He asked me if “There Was a Slow Train Coming”, but I said, No It’s a “Long Time Gone!”

So Dick said, “The reason I am calling is, “As I Went Out This Morning” I just heard about Bob Dylan getting the Nobel Prize for literature. I said, “What Can I Do For You?” Dick asked me to call Governor Dayton and ask him to proclaim today, Bob Dylan Day in Minnesota.

I said, “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” I’ll make the call. Now, I have to believe when the Governor sees an Iron Range phone number come in on his caller ID, he probably thinks, “Can’t Escape From You?” But I know the Governor is A Man of Peace. So I left him a message and told him not to worry cuz this was going to be an easy request, “It’s all Good,” Governor… We would just like you to proclaim December 10, 2016, the day Bob Dylan is receiving the Nobel Prize for literature, Bob Dylan Day in Minnesota. The Governor called me right back and said, “Can’t Wait!” to do it. He said, There’s some “Odds and Ends” to clear up, but he would be coming Down the Highway himself to present the proclamation in person. I said, “You Don’t Have to Do That!" He said, I “Got My Mind Made Up!” See you there….

So without further ado…Let’s Give Governor Mark Dayton a big Iron Range welcome.

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The Governor mentioned The Shadow Blasters and The Golden Chords.
Whether he got a thrill from being on the same stage on which young Robert Zimmerman's high school bands performed is hard to say. Both times Robert Zimmerman performed the principal pulled the plug. No one pulls the plug on Bob any more, and no one pulled the plug on Governor Dayton. When it came time to read the actual proclamation, he skipped the details -- Wheras this and Whereas that -- and got right to the heart of the matter by declaring, "Today is officially Bob Dylan Day in Minnesota," or something to that effect. And it was true.

In good Iron Range fashion the crowd took their time dispersing with a portion finding their way to their man from the Capitol for photos or autographs. It became apparent that the governor, who prefers to be punctual, needed to escape to another engagement.

 So did the locals. There was a party waiting for us at the Androy Hotel. The night was still young.

For another good reader check out What Bob Dylan Learned In Harvard Square.
Official: the Governor's State of Minnesota Proclamation.

If you look real close you'll see some of the folks here walking with a little extra spring in their step this week. Meantime, life goes on... Just keep breathing.

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