When I was in college, I was dating a girl. Don’t call the PC Police, this was the 1960s when boys dated girls. I was her boyfriend and she was my girlfriend. Get over it!
Anyway, she came from “old money.” One of her cousins up on Cape Cod was having a party and she wanted to go. Her father had “absolutely forbidden” her to ride on a motorcycle so naturally, she hopped on the back of my motorcycle and we headed north from New Jersey.
The party was at a beautiful old, cedar-shingled mansion on the beach. There must have been 100 people there with a live band and an open bar. I didn’t quite fit in with most of the guys since I was wearing Levis and a motorcycle jacket. These guys looked like they had just stepped out of a cognac ad in some posh magazine. There they were: from their perfect haircuts down to their Bass Weejun loafers, with or without socks, their perfectly creased H.I.S. trousers, and their Arrow shirts with fraternity ties. And of course, either a blue blazer or a madras blazer, or best of all, a blue blazer with madras lining!
There was one other guy dressed like me there, so we naturally gravitated together. His name was Bob and he was a folk singer. He and his girlfriend had ridden his bike up from New York. We exchanged some bike stories and then I “borrowed” a bottle of rum off the bar and he and I went out to the beach to continue the conversation.
Now, this was one of those pitch-black New England nights with a bazillion stars lighting up the heavens. It reminded me of a Van Gogh painting! We sat on the beach then wound up laying in the sand. Bob was on his belly sifting sand thru his fingers. I was on my back a few feet away looking up at the stars. As we passed the bottle of rum between us, he told me he wrote songs about the poor and the downtrodden and how useless life was and how the world sucked in general.
I said, “Man, you got the wrong perspective! Look up at the sky!” Then I stood and gave him a hand up and we spun around and around gazing at the amazing sky, one hand waving in the air and the other still passing the bottle back and forth. By now the bottle was empty, spirits were lifted, and it was time to go back and rescue our dates at the party.
The following year, Bob Dylan came out with “Mr. Tambourine Man.” If you listen closely to his long version, (not the Byrd’s cover), the fourth verse contains references to a windy beach and dancing beneath a diamond sky as well as other descriptions that seem very familiar to that night long ago. I have no idea if I had anything to do with it, but I’ll always remember that starry, starry night on a Cape Cod beach.