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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
Wayne Gretzky, Mar/Apr 97

(continued from page 4)

Reading of his defense of cigars as not being a vice, I was reminded of a story that a cigar smoking priest of the Diocese of Tulsa, who is now in training for the Vatican diplomatic corps, told me. When he was a seminarian in Rome, he learned that Pius X, who was the pope from 1903 to 1914, called a bishop onto the carpet to reprimand him for his scandalous misbehavior with wine, women and song, and to correct his wrongs patiently.

The pope offered the errant bishop a cigar from the papal humidor on his desk. The bishop declined the offer with the protestation, "I do not have that vice, Your Holiness," to which His Holiness replied, "If cigars were a vice, I would not offer you one, for you have quite enough vices already."

After his death, Pope Pius X was canonized a saint and is now known as St. Pius X. According to Catholic belief, a saint is a holy person who is now in heaven. Although Pope Pius X may not have become St. Pius X because he smoked cigars, smoking cigars apparently did not keep him from being a holy man who is now in heaven. Indeed, cigars may have helped him be holy.

Let us salute not only Fr. H but also St. Pius X, whom we may regard as the patron saint of us cigar aficionados.

T. Gavin King
Claremore, Oklahoma


Dear Marvin,

I used to know nothing of cigar smoking except for the fact that my dad smoked a hand-rolled cigar on occasion. My first real introduction to the experience was after I had become an officer in the military.

A few times a year the regiment would sit down to a mess dinner where one could give a moment of silence for our fallen comrades, reflect on the proud history and fine traditions of the regiment, enjoy an excellent meal, and be at ease with fellow officers while still being respectful of rank and position.

At the end of the meal, a steward would pass by, offering digestives, snuff, cigars and cigarettes to those who wanted. I took a cigar but soon realized that it was not of the quality my dad smoked, lacking the bouquet and flavor that I had remembered from his smoking. Noticing that some of the other officers had provided for their own cigars, I took it upon myself at that moment to educate myself properly and obtain a selection of fine hand-rolled cigars.

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