Open packets of butter—five—formed a semi-circle at the crest of his breakfast plate. It was a week ago today, and in our back booth at Corky’s, only Lester noticed.

“Are you going to use all that?” he asked Bobby.
“Not necessarily.”
“Do you always put out the same number?” Les wondered.
“Yes,” assured Bob, calmly.
“This,” I chimed in, “Is what I grew up with!”

       “…You’re still damn good
       No one’s gotten to you yet
       Every time they were sure they had you caught
       You were quicker than they thought
       You’d just turn your back and walk…”

He’s been called rambunctious and a party animal. Not so, not really. One who’s known him a half-century plus, with tongue tucked in cheek dubs him Groovy and yes, we all—especially those there “in the day”, get it. We see, though, that he’s so much more. He is Robert George, our friend— and we love him dearly.

How can you not love someone that in fifty years, PLUS, has never let you down? Never NOT made you smile? Only been loyal? Still, as the lyric goes, it’s the laughter we will remember…

Ermine does. From China last week, he readily shared. It was in junior high that with Snyder and Wieder they took out Mark’s father’s car. Apprehensive at first—(Erv was then but 14)—it was Bobby’s “fueling the fire” that urged them on. Bob was, even then, the straw that stirred the drink.

Stu too recalls. From his rocker down south he recounted how right after college the two of them rented the upstairs of a duplex in Bayside; they were temporary New Yorkers selling Highlights. According to Fenton they never quite called on leads before noon. The pair preferred, rather, to sit home watching game shows. “We had “Three On A Match”, “Concentration”, and “Jeopardy”, Stu said. “But don’t tell your father.”

       “…You always said
       The cards would never do you wrong
       The trick you said
       Was never play the game too long…”

The afterglow of Ermine’s tale and the twinkle in Stuart’s eye still shine as their memories from the 60’s and 70’s live on. Me? I recall too the 80’s. Joke as we do, tease as we must, our friend Bob was a local pioneer, blazing a path with his weekly televised play-by-play of major league softball in Cleveland. (We were in different worlds back then—you know how it is when you get married and the wives direct social traffic).

And the ‘90’s…. Bobby, of course, was the catalyst for our short-lived radio show. Stoked by his true passion, broadcasting, his smile lit up the studio. Stu and I had our share of fun—don’t get me wrong. So did Ed. No one though, enjoyed it like Bob, (and that includes, clearly, our listening audience). “I’ll bring us in,” he would urge during breaks, ALWAYS…like a kid asking “Can I bat first?” It mattered not. He was the radio man—not us. Heck, we had as much fun watching Bob have fun as we did doing the show itself. I submit to this day that the booth at ‘HK, whether down at Tower City, officiating mudwrestling with “The Riz” on Brookpark, or even afloat in Vermilion’s Wooly Bear Festival, was truly Brother Bob in his natural habitat. Indeed, he had a charge so electric, a current so strong, that it took me some two decades to realize, (listening to old tapes only he’d maintained), that we really weren’t good.

Bobby was. Bobby is.

Good times only make lasting memories when founded on more. It is the quality of Bob’s friendship and constancy of his loyalty that enriches every link in our chain. His sometimes unnerving, but ever-undeniable charm… his self-comfort, his affable ability to look the world in the eye, say “Take me as I am”… his remaining steadfast to beliefs and devout in his brotherhoods…

To this day Bob has never lied to me. To this day he holds a mirror to my face and tells me the truth as only a lifelong friend can. Through all the laughter, and yes, some times tears, I, among others, hold him dear and wish him today, the happiest of birthdays. Moreover, we’re thrilled that our freckle-faced friend is…still the same.

       “…I caught up with you yesterday
       Moving game to game
       No one standing in your way
       Turning on the charm
       Long enough to get you by
       You’re still the same, You still aim high…”

Bob Seger

We were still there at Corky’s solving the world’s problems. I started to sneeze. Six times, maybe seven I roared. When it stopped, someone, Himmel perhaps, said “God bless you.”

“See, Bob proclaimed, “ This is what I grew up with!”

4 Responses to “STILL THE SAME”

  1. alan wieder says:

    Wonderful gift to Snydo on his birthday — Hope breakfast was something of a roast. Happy Day

  2. Stuart says:

    Happy Birthday to our “Leader of the Pack” What a glorious and wonderful life we have shared. “When I’m 64″…how did it get here so quickly? B is so right when he says Still The Same and we would not want it any other way. Wish we could go out in the Mustang tonight to celebrate. If you find some way to do it I’m calling SHOTGUN!

  3. bob says:

    My special friends from Rowland will always be just that, special. I can honestley say that I have very few memories that were not positive from those days. Appreciate the Blog B …

  4. Hal Bogart says:

    Bob: Sincere wishes for a happy birthday. Simon Tov AND Mazel Tov. BOTH.

    Oh, and with regard to Fran Ross, her response was “Who is Bobby Snyder?”

    Have a great day.


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