#FarrisStory: The Man On The Front Porch

"Many people speak of smoking in general as a 'bad habit,' I elder friend that I watch over the years of growing up in Los Angeles as a young African American. He sat in a chair all day. On my way to school he was there, on my way home he was there, on the weekend hes was there rooting us on as we raced out on bmx dirt bikes on the local side walk. He was there, I grew up, left home, moved away had a child of my own, went to the Army, came home traveled the world, and I never asked him his name.

I one day pull over my suv and stopped and talked to him asking him a series of questions, the first of course was 'whats your name?,' But by the end of the conversation I learned that he had been married once in his life, had one daughter,and they both have passed on now. He had been a cowboy in the Black Rodeo, been in the war, watch the riots in LA during the sixties, with all that he remembered me a couple of friends, he mentioned that some done well for themselves, some did not, and some have passed on earlier than he would have like to see, he never liked seeing young folk dying, they should live a full life, but I guess GOD has another plan, he stated.

I asked one question I have always asked the elders, 'What is the secret to living long/' He say simply...'Boy I don't know! We all have a plotted time and when it over its over! But I have sat here for more than 40 years watching all y'all, I have three Cigars, and 1/2 pint of brown brandy, before it was whiskey don't like it too much anymore, and I am 106 years young and I do that everyday. I don't need any help, I cook my own food, I buy my own shit, and I still drive.'

I asked do you think it the Cigar and brandy is the key...? He said 'I don't know young man, but seeing all these young women walking pass me everyday couldn't hurt!!!!'...we both laughed.

That conversation was 2003. I went to the war in 2003. Came home drove by to see if he was there....he was not. No one in the neighbor hood even knew him...He called himself ...Mr. Swane... " - Earl from Poplar Grove, Arkansas