March 16, 1965 to April 23, 2010

This is the Smokey I like to remember.
This is the Smokey I like to remember.


When I was a kid, I had some cousins who came to live with us for a short while. My parents took them in to help their mother out. She was a single mother raising two boys and a girl. I am also raising two boys and a girl, so I sympathize with her much more now than I did back then.

The girls in school were all crazy about Smokey and his little brother in our younger years. They were the cutest guys in town. It was a little weird for me, because they were my cousins. Their sister is one of my closest friends, as well as being my cousin. She hid me out when I was a runaway to help me hide from my violent and abusive father. The boys were a little on the wild side, and I liked them both. I was a little on the wild side, too. They were my second cousins, as our grandmothers were sisters. As time passed, we all grew up and got married. We had children. We experimented with life, and some of us experimented with drugs.

As the years passed, my life changed, and I would see the three of them intermittently, but we never really got close again. Before I knew it, a violent crime landed Smokey in a wheelchair, and his life was never the same.

He was in a great deal of pain, even though he was paralyzed, and he was addicted to drugs. It would be safe to say that his drug use and that basic lifestyle ruined what was left of his life. I felt sorry for Smokey, and I did care about him. He was liked by a great many people, and I was greatly surprised last week when I got a text from someone in my past who had also been friends with Smokey that said, "Did you hear about Smokey?"

I froze as I read the text, not knowing what to expect. I sent a text back inquiring what he was talking about, but then I just called. Evidently, Smokey had been murdered, and they had caught the guy who had done it after hours of standoff at an apartment complex.

The police wouldn't tell us how he died or why, and they wouldn't do anything without his daughter's permission, with whom we had had very little recent contact (and with whom I had actually had NO contact before). A few days after Smokey's murder, his sister called me and asked if I wanted to go to Smokey's trailer with her. Evidently, the daughter had been nice enough to let us handle the details. I agreed immediately, without really thinking that there might be anything there I didn't want to see.

That realization began to sink in as I pulled into the trailer park. This particular park has a very bad reputation for being a place where drugs and crime are rampant. The first thing I noticed when I walked into the trailer was how dirty the floor was. It didn't sink in until much later that the brown stains all over the trailer floor were anything I might not want to be standing in

Drugs can ruin a person's life. If Smokey had had his way, he would've been closer to his family. I think it was heartbreaking to him that he had so many "friends," but so few close family members. I didn't spend a great deal of time around him, as I was much closer in age to his siblings. I regret that now. However, the lifestyle he led would have prevented that.

This was a coldblooded murder. It was a horrible thing to do to a man in a wheelchair. He couldn't even defend himself. My cousin didn't need to die. I don't care what he did or didn't do. Murder is NEVER the answer. I looked up the murder suspect on the local internet and was surprised to see he had a rap sheet a mile long (sarcasm here). He apparently won't be getting away with murder, however.

The song below will be playing at Smokey's funeral in May, and I want to express the sorrow our family all feels for this terrible experience. May you rest in peace, Smokey. You are loved.


More by this Author

Comments 16 comments

saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

I am very sorry to hear of this senseless killing of a man in a wheelchair, this world is gone mad. I can feel your pain of the loss even though you might not have been close the last few years, he still remains an important figure in your past. Why do we go astray, I am trying to convince my youngest son not to go in the direction of drugs, he to is experimenting and I fear for his future. I pray that he sees the light before it becomes addictive. My prayers are with you and yours on this sad occasion.

advisor4qb profile image

advisor4qb 6 years ago from On New Footing Author

Thank you, saddlerider1

James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

He is handsome in the photo you provided with soulful eyes. What a pity. How sad life can be and often is. What can we say? This story is tragic. But it is also beautifully written. Thank you. Smokey . . . RIP

advisor4qb profile image

advisor4qb 6 years ago from On New Footing Author

Thank you, James.

Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

I feel so sorry for Smokey. This is so wrong--killing a guy who can't get out of a wheelchair.

It's also a good public service message not to mess with drugs.

advisor4qb profile image

advisor4qb 6 years ago from On New Footing Author

Thanks, Paradise7!

I feel very sorry for Smokey, too. I still can't believe he is gone. It's very sad for our family.

bart  6 years ago

i was sad and upset to hear the news about smokey and relieved they found the guy who did it. i visited a few years ago and i went to see smokey and passed some time with him. we visited our grandparents grave together and talked about his drug problem. he could never stop using even tho he tried. he loved his family and was sorry for all the things he did to them and hoped one day they could forgive him because wanted to be in their lives once again. well, he got his wish, soon after with shelly n kc and they started talking again. i'm sure he was happy and i know he would not want us to be sad but it's hard. he will be missed and definetly not forgotten. Smokey we love u :)

advisor4qb profile image

advisor4qb 6 years ago from On New Footing Author

Bart, your words brought tears to Michelle's eyes. Thank you. We all love Smokey.

ally 6 years ago

when i heard abt smokey when my grandmother phyllis called me n told me wat happen to my cuzin i was very sock n i didnt noe wat to say he was a very nice guy i had really never met him i went over there a few years ago but really never got to meet him... but i did talk to him alwayz thro the phone he cared abt me n wanted to keep in contact with me so he bought me a phone...i am very sad abt diz situation i cnt believe sum one wuld do this to him thats very wrong..n from today im still sock n cnt believe it.. we all love u smokey n miss u

advisor4qb profile image

advisor4qb 6 years ago from On New Footing Author

Thanks, Ally. I'll tell Michelle to read this, too.

advisor4qb profile image

advisor4qb 6 years ago from On New Footing Author

Smokey's service will be May 8th, Saturday at 2pm at the Candlewood for anyone who wants to pay their respects.

Tracy 6 years ago

All My Love to the Brown Family.. You are all in my prayers..

Jimmy E 6 years ago

I'm very sorry to hear of my old friend and what happened to him. I last saw Smokey a few years ago over by the "Que" where we used to shoot together, after an afternoon of playing football at Crane field. I was sad to see how things were turning out for him. My thoughts and prayers go out to his mom, Michelle and Casey.

advisor4qb profile image

advisor4qb 6 years ago from On New Footing Author

Thanks, Tracy and Jimmy. I told Michelle, too.


Tonya 6 years ago

I am so deeply sadden when I heard the news about Smokey. I still cant beleive it, but now knowing from his passing, my mind comes to knowing I know he is now free from living in pain and now resting at peace. After long years of separation as many miles away from each other we finally from the last two years had re-connected through telephone and text in which my mother (Phyllis) and my brother (Bart) had gone to Florida to visit everyone there from the last two years ago and had also located Smokey while there visiting in which I came in contact with him as well through telephone, exchanging pictures to see how we look, as well as my daughter Tatiana and son Abel today. My daughter was also getting to know Smokey as they were sadden as well. And that with many conversations amoung us. As just not long ago, in February 2010. We talked about our birthdays as we are close in age and months from each other. As that comes to my mind alot now. I just barely got to catch up with Smokey and within each others lives and as while knowing of how much he had gone through in his life and wanted him to come down to California to visit us but NOW???

I know now Smokey is at peace. Love you Smokey>>.Your Cousin Tonya..

advisor4qb profile image

advisor4qb 6 years ago from On New Footing Author

Thanks, Tonya. I'll also let Michelle know you posted.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article