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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
Matt Dillon, Spring 96

(continued from page 8)

I'm writing to you as I listen to the piano compositions of Clara Schumann, feeling, at last, totally relaxed and proud of myself for having conquered adversity. Thanks to the time spent alone with Hoyo du Prince.

J.K. Belleau
Longueuil, Quebec

* * *

Dear Marvin,

My mother, who is retired and lives in Canada, has friends in Cuba and speaks Spanish fluently. I often try to find creative ways to occupy her time and one of the things that I find works very well is to send her on vacations to exotic and warm destinations.

As you know, Canada does not have a trade embargo with Cuba, and over the past six or seven years I have often sent my mother there to visit with her friends on weeklong charter trips. In that I am an avid cigar smoker, I would also give her some cash and ask that she acquire as many cigars for me as possible.

This request served two purposes, the first of which was to allow her to feel as if she had a mission on her trip and that I was getting fair value in exchange for sending her there, and the second was that I would acquire some very good cigars at a reasonable price.

I have been sending my mother there about every three months, and on each trip she returns with a bag of wonderful cigars for me. But on a recent trip she did something that I simply must convey to you.

Canada only allows you to import two boxes or fifty cigars on any trip. While my mother was in Cuba, I received a garbled collect telephone call from an operator yelling at me in Spanish, with my mother's voice in the background prompting me to accept the call. She told me she couldn't stay long on the phone as she had to leave for the airport, but asked that I get two cases of the best vodka I could find and meet her at the airport when she arrived.

I did not understand the request, but she is my mother and off to the store I went. Twenty-four bottles of vodka are quite weighty so I used a shopping cart to lug them into the arrival area. After the flight arrived, my mother came flying out of customs in a frantic rush to find me (and the vodka). Then, as the other passengers began to come through customs, each greeted my mother and exchanged a box (in some cases two boxes) of cigars for a bottle of vodka.

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