Hence embedded in the divine and righteous Man Chair with the rising smoke from a Cain F Habano 550 slowly circling the room, my thoughts are mostly memories today - memories of a friend I lost on Friday who was laid to rest today.
If you've been enjoying cigars for more than a few weeks, you know how they possess many strange yet wonderful powers. Cigars are a great equalizer able to bring different backgrounds, lifestyles, professions, politics, ages and tax brackets together in a civil, respectful and enjoyable manner. Cigars create the environment that grows strong friendships and, just as cigars require a certain commitment of your time and thoughts, the friendships formed over cigars are committed friendships lasting many years often over many miles. Cigars are how I met Mark.
When I brought this little idea called the Blowin' Smoke Podcast to market, Mark discovered the show and decided to drop me a line to comment on something we discussed. That email led to another and another and soon Mark was a contributor to the show as well as a regular attendee of some of our larger herfs during the year. Mark was one of my biggest fans and I became one of his.
I cannot recall a time that Mark traveled from Buffalo to western Pennsylvania for a crazy herf or the annual Cigar Crawl that he did not come bearing gifts - each one with a story, and each story a reflection of the man Mark was. He would remember a small detail of a passing conversation or a comment you made and use it to stumble upon or seek out the perfect thoughtful gift.
Mark loved his family and you knew it. The proud father of two fine young men, Mark was always updating us on their school work, hobbies and community service. Mark's boys have a better grasp of the world around them than most adults I know and neither one of them are old enough to have a beer with me to toast their old man. Mark and Diane have raised them well. They will succeed.
There was one thing, however, I was always jealous of with Mark - his ability to enjoy what he enjoyed. That may sound silly, but it's true. With all the stresses of life, and later a cancer diagnosis, Mark would make it a point to enjoy what made him happy as much as he could and usually bring someone else with him. Because he loved roller coasters, Mark joined a group that traveled together to enjoy famous coasters. Because Mark loved professional wrestling (to this day, Mark...I still don't get it), he got involved in his region be penning a newsletter, becoming known in the inner circles, and eventually becoming a ring announcer. Because Mark loved fireworks, he signed himself and his best friend up for pyrotechnics classes. Because of these and many other things Mark decided to jump into, things I would guilt myself out of, he always had great stories to tell. I'm going to try to be more like Mark and try new things, get more involved. Life is, indeed, too short.
When Mark told me of his cancer diagnosis a couple years ago, I only wanted to think about him beating it, being strong and winning. Mark was beating it. He was strong and he was winning. And then he wasn't. You can only take so much and Mark fought hard. Cancer took all his strength until there wasn't anymore.
When I received word that Mark had passed, I had just lit up a cigar called "Simpatico." I found that to be appropriate. So, if you don't mind me asking, please pray for and smoke one for Mark and his family. Then, take a couple of minutes to think about how your life has been enriched by the people you've come to know through cigars...these magical little cigars. Rest easy, Mark.
Hot and sticky and on the road for Blowin' Smoke #110!
As they celebrated their customer appreciation days, we parked our butts at the Smoker Friendly - Cigar Express in Monroeville, PA, for some herfing fun and a brand new Mystery Cigar of the Day. Store manager, Rob, made our mystery selection, talked to us about the store and some of his special deals, and fired up the grill for some burgers and weenies too. Chris from Oliva/Cain/Nub was also on hand and joined us for a segment of the show too.
In addition to a Mystery Cigar of the Day, we had a lot of listener emails to enjoy, great stories to share from the world wide web, a new 5 Things for your brain to ponder, and a special farewell to a good friend.
So grab an icy cold PBR (or not), spark a big fatty and herf along with us right here on Blowin' Smoke #110!
The Havana Room felt like an island south of Miami as we gathered for cigars and BS for Blowin' Smoke #111!
With a full roundtable of Cretins, including the owner of Slippery Rock Cigars, and (almost) world famous boobie aficionado, Joe Durso, we fired up a brand new Cigar of the Day and witnessed a rare occurrence in the current Cigar Match battle.
Joe took on 5 Things duties this time around and, along with fun feedback from our friends on Twitter, we tackled some important issues like what to call the eventual little blue pill for women, the "furries," and what to call a bikini barista run by your El Freako.
Plus, we update the upcoming annual Cigar BBQ at Slippery Rock Cigars, and more right here on Blowin' Smoke #111. Spark one up and join us!