Nathan and I just spent the morning watching the entire first season (well, entire is kind of the wrong word, we watched it all, but there were only four episodes....) of "Feasting on Asphalt." Two link choices for you, either here or here. Have you seen this show? It's Alton Brown, whom we love, from "Good Eats." (When we talk about AB around our house, it could be either Alton Brown, or our original AB, the Adventure Bunny.) Alton Brown driving across the country on a motorcycle with his buddies, eating great local food. Downside to watching the show, no matter what you are currently eating, or what you've eaten recently, the people on TV are eating better than you are. Season Two is on the air now (DAD!! They just cruised through MOLINE on their last episode. No Fish Fry, but they did go to the John Deere factory.)
Anyway, as the show goes to commercial, they always have some "road" quote, which they show paperclipped to all the great photos they've taken of themselves along the way. And in season one, they quoted Professor Tolkien, you know the quote about how one never knows where the road is going until one gets to the end of it.
Nathan posed the question : "Is Tom Bombadil really Tolkien?" and of course my first reaction was "no," because we know that Professor Tolkien really identified with Beren, so much so that it's on his tombstone. (Where is he buried? Why haven't we been there?) But with a little more thought, I do see the appeal of the idea. Tom's the Eldest, he's almost outside of the story. Tom was there, in a sense, before the story started. Tolkien himself is outside of the story. My new theory, if Tolkien put on the ring, he wouldn't have been invisible.
We said we should put the idea before Tolkien scholars. And so, I have.