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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
Denzel Washington, Jan/Feb 98

(continued from page 1)

It was such a sensual and nurturing experience that I felt impelled to try it myself as a deeper sharing between us. I was immediately hooked, and now a year later we are still smoking at least one cigar a day together in "our" precious room. He has moved in with his girlfriend, but we own two businesses together and work six days a week. Every afternoon we take our work up to the cigar room and allow ourselves the pleasure of finishing our day with each other. It hardly seems like work, and sometimes it isn't!

The end to our story has not been written yet. I love my husband, and the cigars, very much. I am writing a book about our journey through his experience and how much we've learned and grown from it, and about how much we still love each other. The book will have a happy ending one way or another--of that I am sure.

Sherri Scott McLean
Seattle, Washington

***

Dear Marvin,

I have recently taken up enjoying a well-made cigar. Lately, though, I have realized how much most of the people in this area hate cigar smokers. Recently I went to a Philadelphia Phillies game. The whole time that I was walking around I had my Macanudo 1993 Vintage in my mouth. I got a lot of comments from the ballpark employees. One man even said that the cigar looked like it was going to be a very good smoke.

As my friends and I made our way to our seats in the upper deck, which after buying the cigar was all I had money left for, we sat down and started to enjoy the game. At this point it was the fourth inning and I decided to light my cigar, when all of a sudden this lady jumps up and says, "Could you put that damn, disgusting thing out?" As a gentleman with good manners, I told my friends that I was going to move my seat. So we moved halfway across the ballpark, where there was not one person within 20 rows. (At this point I still did not know that it was a smoke-free stadium.) As I was puffing, a ballpark employee came up and told me--didn't ask me--to put that thing out. I kindly asked him why and he then told me that the establishment is a smoke-free one, so I then said, "But sir, there is no one within 20 rows of me." He then called security and they told me the same, so I asked if there is anyplace I could smoke; they told me, 'Yeah,' and escorted me out of the stadium. On my way out I started to puff furiously on the cigar, blowing the smoke in the guys' eyes. I just wrote this to ask you if you could address this situation. I don't understand why, since this stadium has no roof, you cannot smoke. Personally I think this is discrimination.

William Tirpak
Sayreville, New Jersey

Editor's note: Keep protesting. Write your government officials to complain. At the very least, outdoor stadiums should have a designated smoking area. But don't blow smoke in someone's face; it only reinforces their anti-cigar prejudices.

***

Dear Marvin,

I have been smoking fine cigars for a few years now, ever since having my first Cohiba following my initiation into Beta Theta Pi fraternity. I believe a good cigar is more than the cigar itself. I like to refer to it as a smoke, an experience encompassing the people, place, circumstances and, of course, the cigar. This is one of those fine experiences.

While on my September break from my year-round, hectic schedule of medical school, I had the opportunity to visit Rushing River Provincial Park, on the Lake of the Woods, Ontario, Canada. I was there only two days before it closed for the season, and to my delight, I found that I was the only person in the 200-plus-acre forest. So I hiked a few miles onto a secluded, rocky ledge overlooking the river. In total silence, I sat there for hours smoking a very nice (yet relatively inexpensive--medical school costs a pretty penny!) Fonseca. Outside of my usual world of tests, patients and hospital calls, it was just what I needed: only myself, the wonders of nature and a good cigar. Now that is what I call a true smoke.

C.S. Prough
Kansas City, Missouri

***

Dear Marvin,

As a frequent reader of your letters to the editor column, I am often intrigued by the quality of the stories read. Weekends with a Fuente Fuente OpusX and a Montecristo No. 2 are a normal occurrence, it seems. As a young aficionado, I have learned how difficult these cigars are to come by and was extremely skeptical of a few of the letters in your column. However, I have just spent the most amazing weekend of my life and the following is all true, right down to the very last Cohiba and Partagas.

The weekend of my parents' 30th wedding anniversary, they planned something special., two days of euphoria that anyone is lucky to experience in a lifetime. The weekend started with the gracious gift of several Cuban cigars from a close friend. Thanks to your magazine, I knew the best Cuban cigars to choose.

Saturday morning, a stretch limousine picked up my parents, my brother and his wife, my sister and her husband, myself and my girlfriend for a weekend in New York City. We checked into one of the finest hotels in the city, The Palace Hotel. The men were then off to lunch followed by massages at the Peninsula Hotel. The women were off to Georgette Klinger for facials, manicures and pedicures.

After an amazing one-hour massage followed by a steam, we journeyed to the roof-top bar at The Peninsula Hotel for drinks.I sat down and clipped the end off a Montecristo No. 2 and I was in heaven. Those who have had fine massages know the euphoric feeling afterwards. A great Cognac and the world's best cigar brought me to a new level of pleasure. I can't even begin to tell you the power of this cigar, but it is amazing.

We met the women back in our hotel rooms for an hour of rest. It was some of the best resting I've ever done. We were told to meet in the downstairs lounge of The Palace, where we enjoyed fine wines, hors d'oeuvres and a Cohiba Robusto. Marvin, I'm not sure the weekend could have gotten any better at this point; it was truly unbelievable. After an hour of wonderful service, food, drink and cigar, a limousine whisked us all off to the Majestic Theatre. We were ushered to our orchestra seats for Phantom of the Opera. At that point, I felt as if we should have been making a documentary, with Robin Leach as the host. Phantom was breathtaking, a show that captured the audience from the curtain's open to the final curtsy. It was the first time I had ever been a part of a standing ovation so well deserved. As we left the theater and hopped into the limo, I'm not quite sure how the night could have gotten any better, but it did.

We proceeded to the Rainbow Room for drinks, dinner and dancing. We had an hour to kill before dinner, so we decided to sit in the lounge, overlooking Manhattan. At this point, I was handed a Partagas Serie D No. 4. There was no smoking allowed in the dining area, however, but cigars were welcomed in the lounge. Sipping a house drink, I could not help but thoroughly enjoy this spicy, yet soothing cigar.

As the hostess took us to our table for dinner, I was captured by the atmosphere of this magnificent establishment. Obviously, we were given the best table The Rainbow Room had to offer. How else could a weekend like this unfold? The evening progressed with family conversation, dancing and fine dining. A truly wonderful affair for all.

The next morning, I awoke to room service, wonderful cappuccino, "Meet the Press" and a second Montecristo No. 2. I'm not sure what heaven is like, but this was the closest I've ever come. After a wonderful morning, I walked across the hall into my parents' room to find my entire family reminiscing about the weekend activities. I sat down and let everyone know how special they are to me and what a truly wonderful weekend it was. I wished my parents a happy anniversary and 30 more glorious years.

Marvin, I owe a debt of thanks to my family. That weekend goes down as one of the greatest in my life. We truly captured the essence of family, love and friendship. It went well beyond the materialistic pleasures we had experienced, to a level of closeness that few are fortunate enough to feel in their lifetime.

Jeremy O. Skule
Washington, D.C.

***

Dear Marvin,

It all started when I was younger, but it is good to be young and happy. My brother had some of his friends over to play poker and one of them was smoking a cigar. I had never smoked anything before and never wanted to, but the cigar appealed to me for some reason. So I asked if I could have a draw and I did. I did not think it was anything special, but a little while later I realized that I loved the aftertaste in my mouth, and decided that I would like to buy and smoke a cigar of my own.

So, my birthday was coming and I told my brother that I just wanted a good cigar from him. He bought me a Macanudo and gave it to me before I went away to our country home in upstate New York to celebrate my birthday. On one great summer night, I drove our boat out into the middle of the lake we lived on, sat back and enjoyed my present. It was fantastic.

Since I was not old enough to buy cigars yet, I would have my brother or father get them for me. My dad had no objection because he knew I would not smoke often and he, too, was a cigar smoker. I allowed myself to enjoy only two or three cigars a month; I figured I was young and would like to stay healthy. Well, as all cigar smokers understand (I'm sure), I could not resist. Now I enjoy about two a week.

I am now attending school in Connecticut and am old enough to provide smokes for myself. I have my own humidor here at school and have a fine collection of smokes sitting in it.

The first weekend here it was crazy. There were so many people partying in my dorm that I felt I just had to escape--and what better way to do that than with a cigar? So on my way outside someone saw the cigar in my hand and asked if he could join me. We sat outside on the edge of a bridge and talked and smoked until our cigars burned to the labels. I am well aware of the fact you are not supposed too smoke them that far, but we still wanted to talk and just kept puffing. We hardly knew each other but shared so many stories that we hardly noticed. It was a wonderful night and my maduro Macanudo Hyde Park Café helped me make what is today my best friend here at college.

I just want to say that it does not matter how old you are, who you are or where you are. What matters is the cigar.

Chris Place
Hamden, Connecticut


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