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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
maduro issue, Winter 93/94

(continued from page 4)

Steve Tortorici
Pensacola Florida

* * *

Dear Marvin:

I am a 28-year-old traveler currently working as a waiter at a prominent Los Angeles restaurant. I was introduced to cigars a year after my return from a four-year odyssey across Europe and Africa. It was an old friend and my current manager, "George," who got me started. Needless to say, I am hooked.

I am curious about what smoking cigars means to different people. I started with George. He answered in his heavy Brooklyn accent, "you know, the finer things in life. When I smoke a cigar, I feel like I'm one of the elite. Fine hotels, good food, cars, the works."

I smiled. It has a similar meaning for me, but not the same. To me, smoking cigars is a mark of individuality. It is standing out from the crowd. It is being "an original." It is taking a stand and staying there. I could even go so far as to say it is the "rebel" quality of cigars that appeal to me. Freedom to go anywhere, do anything, at any time.

Images of cigar-smoking soldiers, cowboys, writers and yeah, even crooks come to mind as I smoke my H. Upmann Robustos while skateboarding home from work. We, the "fringe" element. I am in good company here.

For most of my peers, pleasure money is spent on beer and adult toys. I, however, would rather save the majority of my funds for traveling. I spend the rest on good cigars and decent bottles of red wine (not to mention subscriptions to a few good magazines).

I'll be leaving again in a year. I plan to spend three to four years traveling around Asia. The only difference with this trip will be the small stock of cigars I'll carry in my pack.

Alex Gary
Santa Monica, California

* * *

Dear Marvin:

Because my wife has asked me to, I smoke my Hoyos outside. I do not mind, as it's rather pleasurable to watch the stars shine and the clouds pass as they go about their nightly mission of drifting across the north Florida sky. It also gives us quiet time together because she joins me.

The chance to smoke my Hoyos doesn't come along too often as I am in the Navy, stationed in Jacksonville, Florida. When I'm out to sea, which is often, I don't have the time or place to smoke, so I just reread my CIGAR AFICIONADO magazines and think of when I'll be back in port with my family and able to light up my Hoyos once again.

I was born and raised in Tampa, Florida, the "Cigar Capital of the World," and therefore am well acquainted with cigars and the Cuban tradition of cigar making.

Amazingly enough, I have never been fortunate enough to have a "real" Cuban cigar because I was only 11 years old when the embargo went into effect. Now that I've learned so much about cigars from your magazine, when I go overseas next year, I'll be able to pick out a fine Havana and my dream of smoking one will come true.

My paternal grandfather had his own cigar making shop in Tampa, and I am fortunate enough to have some of the bands that he used on his cigars. I do not know, however, when he made them or for how long. My father and his siblings have passed away and I never asked them about my grandfather's cigar making days. I was young and uninterested. I am interested now, but my family's part in the history of the tobacco industry in Tampa is now lost to me. I hope to one day meet someone or read about my family's contribution and I will know a little more about how Poppa helped the tradition of fine cigar making to continue in the city of Tampa.

Thank you, Marvin, for your efforts in bringing cigar smoking back to respectability and the status it once had years ago. You have my full support and backing. Keep up the good work.

John W. Gulley Jr.
Jacksonville, Florida

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