Rock Star – Bobby D

Bobby D in action

If there was an award for the person who has attended the most parties on the Hawaiian islands over the last forty years I guarantee my friend Bobby D would win hands down. I spent one Thanksgiving day with him and we visited three separate celebrations while, on any regular weekend, he’s likely to be found dashing from one fun event to another. Weekdays he’s usually heading to the beach for his daily swim or flying to another island or running around to keep his landscaping business afloat. It’s tiring trying to keep up with this sanguine sexagenarian. While it’s probably his hyper activity that keeps Bobby D looking ageless he claims it’s more about the gorgeous good-looking company he keeps.

My quintessential hippie friend has lived in Honolulu since 1980 but he’s just as likely to be seen frolicking playfully on the Big Island, Maui or Kauai. He knows people on all the islands especially party people like our jugglers, the Sufi dancers, the burning man tribe, the carnival organisers, local musicians and other entertainers. He’s a friend to all but most typically surrounded by bevy of beautiful babes especially when camera’s come out.

I first met Bobby D in 1983 when I started producing macadamia nut butter. After successfully wholesaling it in health food stores around the Big Island I needed a distributor on Oahu, got introduced to Bobby D and hired him to be our Honolulu distributor. Three months after I had sent him cases of product he’d failed to sell a single jar so I flew over to fire him. He wasn’t home when I arrived and I was pretty shocked after his wife Lynn told me “he’s a loser forget him, why don’t you hire me instead.” Pretty quickly I got the picture that she was in the process of separating from the whimsical Bobby D. I decided to not work with either of them, collected my cases of product and thought that was the last I’d ever see of him. Not quite!

On a later marketing trip to Honolulu I reconnected with my juggling buddies Benji and Jeanne and got blown away by their one ring vaudeville show. They worked a pitch in Waikiki and made a decent living as the One Ring Circus with a busking act that featured juggling, unicycling, stilwalking, acrobatics and a load of laughs. A few weeks later they invited me to their New Years Eve party and who shows up but Bobby D – of course! From that day a new relationship started for me and the deadbeat salesman that has stood the test of time and many tribulations. He’s one of the most fun and loyal friends I’ve ever had.

Bobby D’s people connections extend far and wide and never cease to amaze me. He knew Iris, who I met sailing in the Caribbean, he knew Bob Crossley a juggling film maker, he introduced me to Mark Glick with whom I wrote my biggest grants for HICCUP programs and S.P.A.C.E. construction. As a professional landscaper he has friends in that circle, he’s also a member of Bellyacres, the Sufi community, the Hawaii burning man tribe and has connections with several theatre and musical groups. Although he’s never been more than a novice juggler he became one of our founding Bellyacres members and routinely flew over from Oahu every time we had any kind of event, party, juggling festival and even our boring annual general meetings.

Bobby D rarely misses the opportunity to join a musical jam playing harmonica, drums, guitar, percussion or flute and he loves to sing along. He regularly frequents the most happening hip music venues and gets to the best concerts which has connected him to a wide range of professional musicians. At his 60th birthday party he had some incredibly talented stars grateful to perform for their favourite community celebrity. His nickname comes from his Bob Dylan roots but his musical tastes encompass the whole 60’s and 70’s rock n roll era. He grew up in Marin County listening to San Francisco’s ‘Summer of Love’ bands while his Celtic ancestry has drawn him to the likes of Donavan and Van Morrison. His most frequent FaceBook posts are clips of his favourite music from the baby boomer era.

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Bobby D with a couple of fans

Aside from keeping his landscaping business alive, while engaged in lots of travels and a very active social life, his biggest accomplishment has been raising two very successful kids. He now gets the satisfaction of having his son CJ return from NY to live on Oahu while his daughter Jamila has given him two wonderful grandchildren to entertain with his pirate stories.

Jamila, Bobby D. and CJ

Early on in Bellyacres history he staked out the housesite right next to mine making us very close potential neighbours. This was unique in our community because everyone else fiercely protected their personal space and maintained as much distance as they could from their fellow communitarians. Being very close to Bobby D was never a problem and we always remained on excellent terms even when the tree house he built glared at me through my bedroom window. Later on he allowed me to use his abandoned cabin foundation to build a goat shed which later got converted into a greenhouse and then a clown house providing much needed accommodation for interns and other visitors. Bobby D was always willing to accommodate the needs of our Bellyacres community and generously donated the roof trusses for our present greenhouse and loads of other construction supplies and equipment.

Bobby D has been consistently one of the most hospitable people I’ve ever met. His Oahu home has always been a welcoming hostel for visitors. I’ve stayed with him dozens of times as have other Bellyacres members and friends including the Hiccup circus crew when we were on tour, Mark, Terry, Cayenne, Rosey and even my sister and her husband while en route to and from the Big Island. Additionally, he has provided temporary landscaping work to a considerable number of Bellyacres interns and extended family transitioning to live in Honolulu. Whenever our circus visited Oahu he’s always willing to join in the fun and then take us to his favourite beach or other local hotspots.

Bobby D’s vibrant, colourful personality is reflected in his eclectic style of letter writing- rambling, free form, flowing and verbose. Here’s unedited excerpts from one typical note:
“As Luck would have it I was there already at age 16…didn’t have to travel anywhere…The myriad of bands we were privileged to hear is unfathomable today……….What can I say ??
True Story ; from Thursday 7/13/17 In a Honolulu Starbucks….. As I knelt on one knee, to set my pant leg straight over my boot, A very attractive lady standing right in front of me turns and says: (in an astonishingly pleased manner) “Oh……I thought you were Proposing to me…… And I was going to say YES !” ….She proceeded to give me her phone number after I gave her my card…..I returned with: “So Sorry I have to run to an important meeting…I’d Love to talk with you more….and I hope to see you soon….” and I Toasted coffee cups with hers……it was then the lightning bolts of tasty energy coursed through my veins saying : YES !! …….Sooo we shall see if ‘ol Bobby D …….is all he’s cracked up to be……May we all be free from strife………Peaceful journeys, My Brother……..My Captain
Yer Mate, now and always Roberto de la Luz….aka Bobby D
May we always strive to be Free…The way we are meant to be….from Dylan : “Dogs run free….why can’t we ?” Peace On The Planet”

So speaks my very renegade, celebrity playboy and great friend, handsome Bobby D


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Published by Graham Ellis

As a child of the '60's with a wanderlust spirit I just followed my dreams and opportunities as they arose. My journey took me to some of the brightest and darkest places imaginable. I met amazing people on the way, some were famous and some are infamous. Some are just great friends with stories that blended with mine as we traveled together on land, on the sea and in the sky. We all share the renegade spirit !

2 thoughts on “Rock Star – Bobby D

  1. Aloha Graham Im enjoying your wonderful writing about your adventures and friends. Ive often thought of writing with a similar theme. Its still on the dream list to manifest in its time.

    In my current life chapter Im very busy with my counseling practice assisting others through these crazy times. And my favorite part is my sweet family has bern on island for a long visit escsping mainland fires and Covid.

    How blessed you and Dena are to have each other. I look forward to meeting her some day.Blessings to you both and your family.

    Warm aloha Amrita Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 2 people

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