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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
Cuba, May/June 2007

Dear Marvin,
I usually make a practice of staying away from places where my presence is not appreciated. When the city council of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was considering a citywide smoking ban last year—to include all bars, restaurants and even the park along the Susquehanna River—I wrote a letter to the Patriot-News. I stated that I would take my Friday night cigars, my socializing and my money across the river to towns and establishments where I could enjoy the view of the Harrisburg skyline as a backdrop to the river. Although I am not claiming credit, the city council restricted its smoking ban to city government buildings.

When Philadelphia recently enacted a similar ban, I eliminated that city as a venue for my attendance at jazz concerts. If Florida, New York, Nevada, Ohio, Arizona or California wants to ban, restrict or outrageously tax tobacco, do not hold Cigar Aficionado events in those states. Cigar Aficionado should vote with the collective wallets of Big Smoke attendees and boycott those locations in favor of cigar-friendly venues. Perhaps they won't be "big" smokes, but numerous regional events may increase overall attendance and make a financial statement to the Smoke Police by rewarding cigar-friendly locales at their expense.

To commemorate last year's Great American Smokeout, most hospitals in central Pennsylvania banned smoking in vehicles on hospital parking lots. Should the trend continue, expect smoking to be illegal in your own house when minor children or grandchildren are present. Now is the time to make a stand to protect yet another disappearing freedom. Otherwise, we will be reduced to crying in our single-malt Scotches at the local cigar shop, the only legal place smoking may be permitted.

Tony Gonzalez Sr.
Gardners, Pennsylvania

Dear Marvin,
I want to tell you about someone very important in my life. A little over five years ago, I met the woman of my dreams. Her name is Danika. She is smart, beautiful, and cares a thousand times more about others than herself. She means the world to me. Shortly after meeting her, the time came that most single men detestÉmeeting the parents!

I remember the day as if it was yesterday. We pulled up the drive, put the car in park and she said to me, "Now don't be nervous, my dad can be pretty intimidating." Instantaneously my heart rate skyrocketed. After entering the house and going through the proper introductions (sweaty palms and all), I was asked, "Chris, would you like to join me for a cigar on the deck?" Now, I had grown up in a household where smoking was everything but acceptable. My mother to this day still tries to make me feel guilty for enjoying one of life's true pleasures.

Contemplating the situation, I agreed. He handed me a few choices and I selected the one that, in my ignorance, looked to be the best. It was a Macanudo Robusto. We sat on the deck, smoked the cigars and watched the autumn leaves fall, all the while getting to know one another. It was the best day!

As my relationship with Danika progressed, so did my relationship with her father. He would get me cigars every time we visited. I almost didn't realize it, but my love for cigars was growing with my love for her and her family.

He has become a very big influence on my life. I go to him for advice in business, love and life. And no matter how hard the situation may be, he is always there with wise words and a great cigar for reflection.

I recently became the husband of that amazing woman. Her father and I enjoyed a Cuban Romeo y Julieta that he purchased for me in Scotland. It was the best day of my life, not just because I married the woman of my dreams, but because of the time I shared smoking with my father-in-law.

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