Dream of: 04 July 1995 (2) "The Source"

The extremely conservative senator Jesse Helms was visiting me at the Summerdale Drive House. Standing in the living room, he looked like his normal self, the way I had seen him in pictures and on television. Quite friendly, he presented me with a gift, which I immediately examined: an unusual silver dollar. The dollar was in an average-sized metal pie pan, and was as big as, and in the shape of, a pie. At first the dollar clung to the pan just as ice might cling to its tray, and I could not remove it, but finally, after I had handled it a while, the dollar loosened up from the pan and I was able to pull it out.

Happy to have the dollar, I turned it over and over in my hands. Although the dollar was heavy and made of pure silver, it appeared translucent. I held it up in front of my face to try to see through it, but I could not. I was grateful to Helms for having brought it to me, and I could tell I was going to enjoy having it, even more than I had thought when he had first presented it to me.

I wondered what would happen if I took my silver dollar into a store and tried to pay for something with it. Although it was legal tender, it appeared to have been minted just for collectors, and was obviously worth more than a dollar. Maybe Helms was not as bad as I had envisioned him. If I were a senator, I might even visit Helms in his senate office. I could just imagine his welcoming me in and trying to cajole me. I might even let myself be influenced by him.

When Helms walked to the other side of the living room and began talking with someone else, I sat down and listened. The way Helms was speaking, his words seemed directed at me. He was strongly disparaging rock and roll music, saying he could not understand why anyone would listen to it. Feeling as if I needed to respond, I abruptly spoke up in defense of rock and roll. Helms turned and looked straight at me. Obviously he was a more formidable adversary than I had originally thought. Although I had pictured him as somewhat of a bumpkin, I now saw he was actually quite astute.

He said something which I did not quite understand. It sounded as if he were saying radio broadcasts of rock and roll were sometimes channeled from one side of the country to the other, and he did not understand why that was necessary. He also mentioned something about the "source." I quickly inferred by the "source" he meant God. He seemed to question why people did not listen directly to God. I chimed in that not only did I listen directly to the "source," but that I also liked to listen to rock and roll.

I told him I liked rock and roll for two reasons. First, I liked rock and roll simply for the pleasure it caused me when I heard the music. Some people might find hearing Beethoven's Ninth Symphony pleasurable just for the music itself. That was the way I felt about rock and roll.

I then prepared to tell him the second reason I liked rock and roll: the message in the songs. A line from a poem by T.S. Eliot passed through my mind, "Let us go then, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky ..." I knew T.S. Eliot had not written any rock and roll music. However, I recalled Eliot had been mentioned once in a song by Bob Dylan. Of course Dylan was not a hard-core rock and roll artist, but he still qualified as a rock and roller. I could point to Dylan as an example of someone who wrote poetically and delivered a message. Dylan could illustrate the second reason I liked rock and roll: the message. If necessary, I might even play some illustrative Dylan music for Helms.

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