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Great Moments

The Box
Robert Jay Fish
From the Print Edition:
Michael Douglas, May/Jun 98

(continued from page 1)

My two dental colleagues asked if I would accompany them to the newsstand located in the arcade adjacent to the outdoor café. One motioned for me to follow him into what appeared to be a glass-enclosed closet. After the sliding glass door was closed behind us, the smell permeating that closet hit me. I knew that aroma, but I couldn't place it. I looked around. I was in a cigar humidor. Hundreds of boxes adorned the shelves; some open, some sealed. All were made of wood and most had a curious triangle embedded into their lids. Then it all came back to me with a rush. These boxes were like the one my father had given to me as a young boy. Both men asked if anything was wrong with me because of the expression on my face.

After they made their purchases and we returned to our table, I explained. Upon hearing the story of The Box, they offered me a long, dark and wonderfully aromatic cigar. Now my wife was in shock. Knowing my strong feelings about smoking, she inquired as to the state of my sanity when I began to smoke it. She became much less agitated when she began to appreciate its nonthreatening, even acceptable aroma. It was a Davidoff Dom Perignon from Cuba; my first cigar, a most delightful and unforgettable experience.

By the time we were to return to the United States, I had become a frequent and recognized patron of that humidor, often accompanied by my wife, who would lend her assistance in helping me make my selection of Montecristos and Davidoffs. Since then, we have returned to that same spot every summer. During the 11 or so months between visits, my Davidoffs are never far from me. [Editor's note: At the time this story was written, Cuban Davidoffs were still available.]

Nowadays, when I have completed the task of transferring my Grand Cru No. 1s to my cigar humidor, I give the empty box to my young son. Perhaps someday, he, too, will fully understand what it is to truly appreciate and enjoy a good cigar. I hope so, for it is one of life's elegant pleasures.

Oh, by the way, I still present seminars in the south of France and I still have The Box. My son keeps asking me why he can't have that one. I just smile and quietly remind him that, one day, he will.

Robert Jay Fish, D.D.S., J.D., F.A.G.D., practices cosmetic, restorative and reconstructive dentistry in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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