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Cigar Diary: Me and Compay

The death of Compay Segundo at 95 is a loss for the worlds of music and cigars.
James Suckling
From the Print Edition:
Francis Ford Coppola, Sept/Oct 03

(continued from page 1)

Just a year before, Segundo had won an award from Habanos S.A. for promoting the pleasures of smoking Cuban cigars. He, indeed, became an international spokesman for great Cuban smokes. But also he had an honest interest in tobacco. He occasionally visited his good friend Alejandro Robaina, the octogenarian tobacco grower from San Luis with a cult following for his great leaf, and liked nothing better than sitting on Robaina's porch in a rocking chair, smoking a cigar and talking about tobacco and life in general.

In fact, Segundo loved talking about tobacco. At the end of the dinner in February 1998, Segundo asked everyone to come outside the dining room to take a group picture in the hall of the hotel. Luckily, there was an empty cigar roller's bench that had been vacated for the night by the hotel's roller. With his giant Cheshire cat grin, he sat at the bench while everyone grouped around him for the photo. He was laughing and said in his earthy way, "I really was a bad cigar roller. Shit I was bad. Thank God I was fired. I never would have been famous in music!"

When he was finally getting ready to leave the hotel, I asked him one last question. We were all floating on good food, rum, cigars and the company. "Compay, you look like you are 50 years younger," I said. "How do you do it?"

He was 90 at the time. He looked at me with his bright, energetic eyes and cracked a huge smile. "Boy, it's very simple. I drink a lot, I smoke a lot and I fuck a lot."


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