Thursday, October 22, 2009

In Loving Memory of Rudy Garmendia

It has been just over a year since our industry lost one of its greatest leaders, Daniel Miranda of Miami Cigar & Co. Danny was too young and good to leave us so soon. Sadly, today I was informed of another great loss which has come as a big surprise. One of my oldest friends, Rodolfo (Rudy) Garmendia, was killed by a drunk driver on August 11, 2009 on 836 in Miami. This tragedy is unfathomable, and statistically improbable, but true. Rudy left behind three beautiful children, a wife, and extended family. He was just 36 years old.

Just a few weeks ago I was sitting on the rooftop of the Clevelander hotel in SoBe with friends and family telling "Rudy" stories; twenty years after the fact, he had us laughing! To my mothers surprise she learned a lot more about our high school exploits than she ever wanted to know.

Rudy had an extraordinary ability to make people smile and laugh. He had a special swagger and a natural exuberance for life. He was also a classic Cuban exaggerator and ball-buster and we loved him for it! And he was a cigar lover. He was beautiful.

I'm writing about Rudy because he embodies all of the great things that I happen to love about my friends, tobacconists and cigar smokers: they have a unique gift for savoring and creating special moments. In many ways cigars add punctuation and anchor the special moments in our lives; they are part of the process of relaxing, decompressing, and savoring our time. And, while we all live and die, very few of us have the ability to create and spread as much joy and fun as Rudy Garmendia. I suppose the lesson I will take from this tragedy is to show more exhuberance for life and smile more! That is the greatest gift I ever got from Rudy. Thank you Rudy; I will miss you and learn from you as long as I live.

My heartfelt condolences, prayers, and love will continue to go out to his family and friends.

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