Out of the Humidor
(continued from page 1)
"Oh, Pierre liked his fine, but the president is really enjoying his!"
"You're too much, Lawrence. You mean to tell me the whole world may go to war any minute over the Cuban situation, depending on whatever decision Kennedy makes, and the president is in there now smoking one of my contraband Cuban cigars?"
"Why not?" he answers.
Why not, indeed. After all, what better way for the president to relax his nerves and do some serious thinking than with a fine Havana cigar? I fantasize--the irony of it--that JFK makes the right decision because one of Castro's cigars, which I have supplied him, puts him in the right frame of mind and helps save the world from nuclear destruction.
"Har-r-rumph!" goes Lawrence.
"I think they'd really like some more--how many you got?"
The son of a bitch has been reading my mind. Now he's got me. It would be against the national interest, nay, against humanity, for me to refuse at this point.
"Would you believe six, William?"
"I'll settle for eight," he replies.
"Look Bill, this isn't my beat, and I don't want to cramp your style," I say, "but I would like a little acknowledgment. I know I can't go in there--just give me your word that he knows who's supplying them."
"Scout's honor," says Bill, and he's off to the president's office looking like a cigar-store Indian come to life.
Fade to the next morning when the president has a meeting scheduled with the National Security Council just prior to a national announcement of a blockade of Cuba. I am standing in the corridor alongside the Rose Garden as the president comes striding down the hall, his back and shoulders stiff and erect from the brace that makes him look taller than he really is. He looks a little tired and drawn, puffy around the eyes. But he is smiling as I say, "Good morning, Mr. President."
He stops for a moment, looks quickly, almost surreptitiously, over his shoulder before looking back at me. JFK pats his breast pocket gently, raises his right hand to his mouth, takes a puff from an imaginary cigar and exhales. His face breaks out into a big grin and he makes an A-OK sign by forming a circle with his right index finger and thumb, extending the last three fingers. He tops it off with a wink and is off down the hall.
"Good luck, Mr. President," I call after him. "And thanks, Bill," I say to myself. "There are some honorable newsmen left."
Riverdale, New York
Riverdale, New York
Editor's Response: I know that President Clinton loves cigars. I hope that he comes out of the closet this year and joins in the tradition of world leaders like JFK.
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After reading letters from fellow cigar smokers around the globe, courtesy of your fine publication, I feel compelled to share my somewhat unique viewpoint.
As a twentysomething graduate student, I am far from what your magazine and the media in general present as the typical cigar smoker. I have helped many of my generation to discover the joys of a fine H. Upmann, Ashton or Henry Clay, to name just a few. I feel confident in reporting to you at Cigar Aficionado that there is an entire generation of young cigar smokers ready to carry on the fight against those who would keep us out of restaurants, offices and other venues. We are looking forward to a long life of sampling the world's finest cigars and many more issues of Cigar Aficionado to guide us along the way.
A. William Dowdy
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In reading Diana McLellan's piece, "Is the Air Any Cleaner?" I could not help but recall our happy days at the now-defunct Washington Star, where we were journalists together in the 1970s, when reporters were allowed to smoke cigars in the city room. But more to the point, I refer to her recollection of food writer Judith Olney demonstrating at a Washington dinner party how a cigar should be served to a gentleman. The tale inspires my own recollection. To wit:
I was having dinner at the Taipei Hilton in 1980 and ordered an after-dinner Habana cigar and a bowl-sized snifter of excellent brandy. Waiting for this treat, I saw my waitress off in the distance pushing a rolling table toward me. A little lake was set up on this table, and, floating in the middle of this lake, surrounded by tiny floating candles, was an Oriental boat. In the middle of this boat, in a cedar box on a cushion of velvet, was my cigar. The waitress lifted the cigar out of the box gently and handed it to me for inspection, as one would handle a bottle of fine wine. I fondled it, sniffed it, and pronounced it fully acceptable. She then took it from me, snipped the end of it, and ran the tip of her tongue (not a flame) gently up and down the length of it. It was a somewhat erotic moment. She then lit it, carefully and professionally, took a few puffs and blew a lovely smoke ring. She handed it over with a smile. I will not go into what I did later that evening after I had finished that cigar and then another, except to say that it was a most memorable night. And all fired up by the small favor of a cigar.
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While I purport to be the greatest fan of fine, hand-rolled, long-filler cigars in the valley of the sun, there are many cigar lovers living in the desert Southwest. I recently decided to display my great passion for the leaf by means of ordering personalized, automobile license plates (reading Cigars) for my Porsche 911. As you can see from the attached photographs, I am a driving billboard for those of us who relish cigars.
I would like to encourage and challenge the readers of Cigar Aficionado to apply for similar personalized, automobile license plates in their respective states or provinces. What better way is there to demonstrate one's affection for fine cigars than this?
Mark Cary Edwin
Editor's Response: Dear Readers, if you have a cigar-related, car-license photo, please send it to me. It would be great fun to publish a collection of the photos.
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