Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Ernie Els, November/December 2012
(continued from page 2)
I’ve been a cigar smoker for almost 30 years, and a faithful subscriber to Cigar Aficionado just two issues shy of its first edition. As I look forward to reading every issue, I have to say that I especially look forward to reading your subscribers’ letters in “out of the humidor” sharing their wonderful memories that were made all the more special because of the simple act of lighting up a cigar. Every time I read this section of the magazine, I frequently reminisce about my own special experiences, however, one in particular will always remain momentous in my life.
When my daughter was born 13 years ago this month, my father was extremely proud to be a grandfather for the first time. When I was a kid his generation left the diaper changing and stroller pushing to the moms. You cannot imagine my astonishment seeing my dad at age 67 proudly doing these things for my daughter.
About a month after my daughter was born, my father called me at work to ask if I had any cigars stashed at his house—of course I did! After I told him where they were he asked me to invite my brother-in-law Jimmy over for a small celebration in honor of my daughter’s birth.
Jimmy arrived just as we were all finishing dinner with my grandfather. My father showed us all to the unfinished room in the basement where he kept his work bench and his countless bottles of homemade wine, jars of tomato sauce and many other home-made items. He had finished the basement years ago when I was a baby. Just like any other traditional Italian-American family, we did all of our living (cooking, eating, entertaining) in the basement. Since it was the end of
October it was too cold to sit outside.
As we followed him inside the room, my father proudly showed us to a small table barely big enough to fit four people. My father had set up the table with a table cloth, an ashtray, my box of cigars (Arturo Fuente Chateau Fuente), wine glasses and select bottles of his own homemade wine that he saved for special occasions. My father was smiling ear to ear and was
excited for all of us to sit at the table. He was so happy and reminded me of a little kid that just found out he is going to Disney World for the first time.
We closed the door and my dad had turned on a fan which he installed in the room to take out the humidity and vent outside. That night it served as ventilation for the cigar smoke. While my grandfather was pouring the wine, my brother-in-law and I were clipping the cigars for all of us. My father and grandfather were not cigar smokers nor did they typically allow
anyone to smoke in their homes. However, for this special occasion, all rules went out the window. They knew Jimmy and I
enjoyed smoking cigars, so they both wanted to smoke with us. I have to say, they surprised me once more as they smoked the cigars as if they had been smoking them all their lives. The four of us spent the rest of the night smoking cigars, tasting and arguing who made a better wine, my father or my grandfather. We laughed many laughs and we made many toasts to my newborn daughter Gianna.
The smoke filled the room regardless of the fan. I’m sure it went outside the room to the rest of the house but my mother never complained knowing the mini celebration we were having.
Sadly, my father and grandfather have since passed away. But to this day, every time I light up a cigar or read the stories from other readers in Cigar Aficionado, I am immediately brought back to my special memory: that small room 13 years ago when I shared great cigars and wonderful wine enjoying a very special time with three very special people whom I will never forget.
Rahway, New Jersey
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