I don’t recall how old I was, I suppose eight or nine, when I tried smoking. We were still living at Granddad Holt's house so it was before 1936. Bob Buckley had gotten several cigars and a partial pack of Mail Pouch chewing tobacco from his father’s supply and came and got me. We went down over the hill to the spring house that covered the spring that at one time supplied the family with fresh water. We crawled up on the roof for some reason or the other for our great adventure.
Bob had smoked before so he started on the stogie and gave me the Mail Pouch for openers. He showed me how to form a plug and put it in my mouth, which I did. The stuff had a sweet, not totally unpleasant taste and made spit real fast. I "splooshed" a few streams of juice off the roof and decided, heck what’s the big deal, and ask Bob for a puff on his cigar. He obliged by giving me one of my own. He lit it for me and I began to puff, choked, gasped for air, then swallowed smoke, tobacco, juice and all. Bob thought that was real funny. All of a sudden I felt dizzy, so dizzy in fact, I couldn’t stand up. So I slowly collapsed down on the roof with my head hanging over the side and began heaving, and heaving and heaving some more until I was sure everything including my toenails would soon go over the side. I couldn't stop. I just wretched and wretched and wretched some more.
Bob got scared and ran up the hill and brought Mom down. By the time she got there I had, at last, stopped heaving and recovered somewhat. Although, I guess I was whiter than the provervbial ghost and more than a bit "willowie" on my feet. Boy did she ever give Bob a reaming. I don’t know whether she ever told his parents, but one thing I do know, he never offered me a "seegar" or a "chaw" of tobacco again. I owe him a debt of gratitude for that experience. I never tried smoking or chewing tobacco again, right up to now.