I must have stopped and started this post a million times. The particulars don’t matter too much. I learned when we lost the Little Robusto that the “if’s” and “why’s” can drive you mad. My older brother died this past weekend. He was four years older than me which came in handy my high school years. He was there when I was a freshman (he a seasoned senior) giving me pointers on how to ask a girl to homecoming and later helping pick out what to wear and the whole corsage thing. He was there when my high school girlfriend and I broke up. We looked a lot a like back then so he ‘lost’ his license when I was 17 and he was 21. He was there when I got married. He was there when the Little Robusto was born and he was there to carry his casket. He was there to share in the joy of the birth of my Petite Corona, later becoming her God Father. He was just always there.
Chris was responsible for my introduction into cigars so you can say he was part of the foundation to the start of The Stogie Review. Back then in the late 1990’s, when he first introduced me to cigars he was a big fan of the Rocky Patel Vintage 1992 and later the La Aurora Ruby Preferidos. As we got older, the usual commitments of life made enjoying a cigar together rare. We kept putting it off. The last time we shared a cigar was when my Uncle Charlie passed away back in October. We both smoked cigars that I had blended at Joya de Nicaragua during Cigar Safari earlier in the summer. We watched as our kids played together in my parent’s backyard and we both said how too much time passes between seeing each other and both promising to do better.
I was going through photo albums at my parents house so that Michelle could maybe put together a collage of my brother. I remembered after high school he took a trip home to Chi Chi Jima and thought those pictures would be perfect for the collage. I picked up my phone and started texting him to ask if he knew where they were. I typed a halfdozen words…and I paused. Thats when it hit me. The son, the father, the husband and my brother that was always there, always around…isn’t anymore.
When you light up today, tomorrow, this weekend…do me a favor? Tip your ash for those that we have lost. May they find the peace that they couldn’t find here. For me, like with The Little Robusto, cigars can be a band aid.