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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
Sylvester Stallone, Mar/Apr 98

(continued from page 1)

While I was growing up, my father and I were never very close, and even now there is a bit of awkwardness when we are around each other. We never seem to be able to open up and feel comfortable around one another. I was eager to please him this visit.

As we walked in, I caught the unmistakable aroma of a fine cigar. We walked into the humidor and I selected a Victor Sinclair. My father, not being very familiar with today's quality cigars, selected the same per my recommendation. We went to the back room, with its large couch and cushy wing-back chairs flanked by small, round tables with linens and a largescreen television. After we seated ourselves, our drinks were brought, as well as our cigars, properly cut and ready for lighting.

The afternoon could not have been any better, as our every need was met. My father, who is not easily impressed, could not stop commenting on the quality of service, atmosphere and, to boot, the fact that his team was winning. What really got to me was that for the first time in my 33 years, Dad and I talked like we were old friends. It was something that we had tried to do for so long, without success. I believe that day's combination led to this. I never would have thought that my passion for a good smoke could be the key to a closer relationship with my father. That afternoon will always be in my memory. I only hope to have more of them. Just Dad and me.

Forester H. Sinclair III
Bonney Lake, Washington

* * *

Dear Marvin,

I drove to Vermont last spring with two of my friends to meet my son and my brother, who was flying in from Chicago. Together we proceeded to Montreal to visit a family friend. We had a tremendous time, including visits to the cigar stores. We enjoyed La Casa del Habano the most. They have very nice people, and we were allowed to browse, sit in some very comfortable chairs, drink free coffee and liquor, listen to great jazz and just enjoy fine cigars. They had a large walk-in humidor filled with Cuban cigars, but because of the price, I decided not to make any purchases (I have a son in college). However, my friend thought the empty Cuban cigar boxes would be novelty items and purchased two by making a charitable donation of $5.

When we later crossed the border into Vermont, we were stopped by Customs and asked if we had anything to declare. There were five of us in the vehicle, and all of us were smoking cigars (it was a nice day and the sun roof was open), and we were just having a great time. As the driver and owner of the vehicle, I replied there was nothing to declare. They asked me to park, which I did; they asked us to step out, which we did; and they asked if they could search my vehicle, which I allowed them to do (having lived in Germany in the early 1970s, I was thinking an American border stop is no big deal). They asked me what my occupation was, and I told them that I was a counselor.

I have seen the look of little children at Christmas when they rush to the tree and open a package which they had hoped (and even prayed) for the whole year. It is an amazing sight, and that was exactly the expression on the border guard who discovered the empty Cuban cigar boxes in the back of the vehicle.

Thereafter, each of us was taken individually into a room, made to empty our pockets, and watched by two guards without a trace of humor. They became particularly upset with me when they found out that not only was I an attorney, but I had a military ID card (LTC in the Reserves). They could not believe I would be smuggling Cuban cigars into America. I told them that I was not smuggling Cuban cigars into the country. If they asked me once, they asked me a half dozen times where the cigars were in my vehicle. The greatest comment was from my son, who said, "I'm sorry Dad, but I had to give you up." Nothing was found. After a wait of almost two hours, they allowed us to go to Vermont--with the boxes.

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