Saturday, February 21, 2009


Today is my good friend Buck’s 50th birthday. Some people call him Buck, while others call him Jonathan. (Jonathan is his first name, Buck is his middle name.) But me?—even though I usually call him Jonathan, I also call him Dooder. Yep, that’s right. Dooder. Why Dooder, you ask?

Well, if you hang around me a lot, you know that I say the word “dude” pretty often. And somehow when Jonathan and I were just starting to get to know each other, that word morphed into the word “dooder” in my conversations with him. So that became my nickname for him. In response, he started calling me Poodle. I love our nicknames for each other. And I love my Dooder.

He is the kind of guy who would do anything for you, including scooping and disposing of nasty, stinkin’ cat poo while you’re away on vacation—even when you tell him he doesn’t have to. He’s just that nice. He’s also really funny and an awesome pianist.

I remember when I first heard him play the piano. My friend Diane and I were visiting him at his previous home on the South side, and he started playing Flight of the Bumblebee. My jaw dropped. I had no idea he was that good! Diane and I started firing requests at him, and he indulged us by playing all of them. Then I said, “Can you play the Brady Bunch theme?” And he launched into this extremely elaborate version of that song. Diane and I started laughing and couldn’t stop. It was just so funny to hear that song played like a classical piano piece from the 1700’s. Jonathan looked at us with a confused smile. “What? What’s so funny?” he asked. We just kept laughing and laughing.

Jonathan is just a really funny guy. For those of you who may not have checked out his blog, I highly encourage you to do so. This is one of my favorite things he’s ever written. It made me laugh so hard.

But most of all, Jonathan is just a really nice guy. About 6 months ago, when he heard that my friend Diane wanted to try Hungarian food, he immediately volunteered to cook a full Hungarian meal—and not just for Diane, but for Diane and for three other people. And it was fantastic. Oh, yeah, that’s right—he’s also a great cook. We all oo’d and ahh’d over the three yummy courses, including the delicious main course of chicken paprikash. He made us really love Hungarian food.

I’m telling you, everyone needs to have a friend like Jonathan. He is multi-talented, and has had many interesting experiences in his lifetime—from growing up as the son of a Baptist minister in small-town Texas, to living as a Catholic priest-in-training in Toronto, to living in a 60’s-style high-rise building in downtown Chicago.

I feel very lucky to have a friend like Jonathan, especially since he’s my neighbor and lives only a block away from me!

And he’s very young-at-heart and SO doesn’t look like he’s 50 years old. See?

Happy Birthday, Dooder! Thank you for being such a wonderful friend!


Leah said...

awwwwwww..Happy Birthday!! You all make me want to move to Chicago, you're so nice and friendly. Seriously.

Barb said...

That was a great tribute to a really special and wonderful guy. I'm still just getting to know him and adore him already.

Sling said...

Happy Birthday Buck!

jp said...

That was a wonderful and fitting homage to a wonderful person, of whom the world could use more of.

Happy birthday Uncle Buck!! (And happy Saturday to MHP and everyone else!!)

rosemary said...

I'm with Leah...Bappy Birthday Buck and I would come to Chicago to say it personally because I am going stir crazy in Idaho...but you have winter there if you ever change your b/day to July...I'm there to help celebrate.

Maria said...

He has kind eyes.

Lisa said...

I was just thinking the same thing as Leah. I am so homesick for Chicago these days. Well, except for the weather.

Your dooder sounds like a wonderful person and I love his blog! That story is hilarious!

Happy birthday, Jonathan!

Buck said...

You are truly a WONDERFUL friend and I am so lucky to have you and Iwanski just a block away.

And I wouldn't scoop kitty poo for just ANYBODY!

Love you lots, my Poodle

Diane said...

Happy belated B-Day Jonathan!
My favorite memories spent with Jonathan usually include beverages! Hmmm... foot theater,,, need I say more? oh, and how about "I Think I Love You" tee hee!