Many of you may know that Robert and have known each other a long time. So long, that I really can't remember a time when he wasn't in my life.
We met in the first grade, at St. Patrick's Grammar School, and became lifelong partners. I think I have shared every birthday with Robert for the last 52 years! So many presents! And birthday cakes! And parties! And love.
I can also guarantee that there hasn't been year that the two of us have not celebrated his birthday in style! One year I surprised him with a trip to San Francisco (when we were in college - that was a big deal back then!). One year, I surprised him with a new navigation system in his 240Z. And there have been surprise parties, trips to the Hollywood Bowl, star parties at the Mount Wilson Observatory, Mountain Birthdays...just too many to recount. I love spoiling him.
He's always been my buddy. Very early on in our relationship, we realized that it wasn't just that we liked spending time together, but that we were alike, that our ways of looking at the world were aligned, that we enjoyed reading poetry together (who does that?), that we both loved Shakespeare, and Shelley, and nights by the fire, instead of nights on the town.
And that made us buddies. I think that I was influenced by the 1920's song "My Buddy" by Kahn and Donaldson. My parents listened to those kind of songs on the Hi-Fi. But Barbra Streisand sings it on her "The Way We Were" album, which is certainly the reason that I was familiar with it.
So, one day I just told Robert he was my "buddy." And it stuck. Today, we mostly call each other "buddy" unless we're being more formal, or we're with a group of people that we don't know very well. It sometimes surprises people, because, well, we're not exactly the "pet name" type. But I don't consider it a pet name, really. It's just a statement of fact.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Hubbell! A great guy. A beautiful soul. A wonderful father. But most of all, my buddy.