Out of the Humidor

(continued from page 2)
After three weeks of Lisa's father, and then me, trying to persuade her to go out with me--Lisa had never before been on a blind date and had no desire to go on her first one with someone whom her absent-minded rocket-scientist elderly professor father [with all due respect] had chosen!--she finally agreed.
Our fateful first date was on Thursday, Nov. 17, 1994.
Not only are we still dating (exclusively, I might add), but my life has taken a dramatic turn for the better. I have taken an unpaid leave from work to spend time regaining my mental and physical health and to consider career and lifestyle changes. I spent 30 days in a prestigious and successful "rehab" facility--I have eight months of sobriety under my belt as of yesterday. And, last and more importantly, I am madly in love! So much so that, unbeknownst to Lisa, I intend to ask for her hand in marriage on an upcoming trip to Paris.
I am now a firm believer that a man's fortune lies not in his bank account but rather in his heart. By such a measure, I am an inordinately wealthy man, and it is fitting that such a moment is captured and shared with one of my "other" greatest passions in life--a good cigar.
David A. Walden
New York, New York

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Dear Marvin,
It's 12:40 a.m. My wife, my two-year-old, and my three-month-old twins are finally asleep. It's time for me. I settle down in the old, blue-leather wingback, a nip of 18-year-old Macallan at my side and the Autumn 1995 Cigar Aficionado in front. The humidor beckons. Heaven. Inside the ark, several Cohibas and Romeo y Julietas playfully tease. If only I could smoke in the house. For the next hour the pages of your magazine take me on a journey. The rigors of life begin to fade, the pressures of the market subside. I reflect on the weekend spent salmon fishing in British Columbia with my father-in-law and I realize that all is well.
Kevin C. Doyle
Tulsa, Oklahoma

* * *

Dear Marvin,
Mike Johnson ("Out of the Humidor," Cigar Aficionado, Summer 1995) appears pretty proud of himself after forcing a cabin-full of fellow passengers to smoke his cigar with him on a flight to London.
We cigar lovers have plenty of places to enjoy a smoke without imposing on others like that. Passengers in a plane are captives in a small enclosure with minimal ventilation and should have a right to breathe clean air.
The cigar smoking community doesn't need the bad PR from someone with no respect for the comfort of others, who brags about smirking in the face of a flight attendant who asked him to put out his cigar (knowing full well it's prohibited) and then takes another couple of puffs justto "show them."
It gives the impression that those who smoke cigars are akin to cigarette nicotine addicts who inflict their habit on everyone around them no matter where they are.
Thanks to Mr. Johnson, the crew and passengers of this flight now have an impression of cigar smokers as jerks, and now may think of that bad experience every time they smell the smoke of a cigar--no matter how inoffensive.
G. Nichols
Fort Worth, Texas

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Dear Marvin,
Well, I did it. I finally had my first smoke.
An extremely exhausting drive from San Diego to Los Angeles Airport (to pick up my husband) and then returning the same day can take its toll on a person, so upon our return home we dined out at our favorite café, then headed home to relax for the evening. My husband's first step was to slip into something comfortable, pour a glass of Port, head for the humidor and recline on the patio with the lights low, listening to classical music by Ravel.
I, too, began to unwind by having a glass of wine and reading the latest edition of Cigar Aficionado, featuring one of my favorite actors--Jack Nicholson! But to add to the mellowness of the evening I had my very first Macanudo. I was pleasantly surprised at the mild, sweet flavor and even more surprised at how long the flavor lasts. It was truly not what I expected, and I enjoyed the total experience. As an ex-cigarette smoker of some 15-plus years, my most difficult task was remembering not to inhale.
It was truly an eventful evening: to be accompanied by a wonderful and loving husband, a good wine, a flavorful cigar, a celebrated magazine and Jack--the perfect finale to the day.
Brenda D. Lefebvre
Rancho Santa Fe, California

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Dear Marvin,
I was sitting outside on the porch earlier today, reading the Autumn 1995 Cigar Aficionado as I lit an H. Upmann cigar, one of my favorites. As I lit the cigar, my dog, Shu Shu, a Samoyed, came running over and sat next to me, his nose in the air as if he was looking at an airplane flying overhead. That was the first time he ever did such a thing. It took me a while to understand that he was sniffing and enjoying the smoke of my fantastic cigar. Every time I stopped puffing on it, Shu Shu looked at me and cried as if I took something away from him. My dog does not like any food off the table, doesn't like beer or any other alcohol, but surprisingly enjoys my cigar as much as I do.
I used to live in Austria, and I remember my dad bringing home a box of Montecristo No. 3s every Friday. I always waited for him to come home before leaving to go out, so I could take one of his cigars. I remember one time playing cards with some Italians in Kitzbuehl, a ski resort in Austria. The stakes got high during one hand, and one of the players wanted to call my $100 bet, but he didn't have the money. I told him he could use his box of Romeo y Julietas as collateral; he accepted and lost the hand. The next day I was smoking a Romeo y Julieta on the ski lift. Some of my best memories have something to do with cigars!
Oron Benary
Dublin, Ohio

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Dear Marvin,
After reading the letters you receive every month decrying the lack of tolerance of cigar smokers among the general population, I would like to relate something that happened to me this past May.
I was attending a company meeting in Jefferson City, Missouri, and on the way I had stopped at a cigar store and purchased a bundle of Churchill-sized Dominican hand-rolled cigars. A colleague of mine (a cigarette smoker) and I needed to get together after dinner to discuss a few projects we were working on. I suggested that we needed cigars to properly conduct our business. He quickly agreed to try one. Since the hotel did not have a cigar friendly area, we decided to go outside and walk while we talked and smoked.
Unfortunately, it was raining quite heavily. In fact, it had rained so much that the hotel's underground parking garage had flooded, and was in the process of being pumped out. The smell of river water in the hotel lobby was quite strong. We decided to sit outside the hotel, on the steps under the awning to smoke. A few minutes after we started, a hotel employee came out of the lobby and came directly over to us. My first thought was "I can't believe we're not allowed to smoke outside!" However to my surprise, she said, "Would you gentlemen mind coming into the lobby to smoke those cigars? The smell from the parking garage is making us sick and we would love to smell cigar smoke!" Being the considerate smoker I am, I readily agreed! We went inside and spent a wonderful couple of hours smoking and talking. There were a few new guests who looked at us askew, but we knew we were there with the full authority of the hotel management. It made for a nice change.
Although I don't normally think of using a fine cigar as an air freshener, I am always ready to oblige.
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