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Out of the Humidor

The Editors
From the Print Edition:
John F. Kennedy, Nov/Dec 98

(continued from page 4)

However, the innocent until proven guilty method on which our country's system of justice is founded did not play here. They confiscated ALL my cigars. I dug a Fuente band out of the ashtray as evidence of the cigars' origin, but the uneducated INS inspector wouldn't know a Dominican cigar from his you-know-what. Even though it did not read Habana, it did not make a difference to him. "That dark one, I know, is a Cuban," he said, "because I saw one just like it the other day." I was taught never to argue with an armed man. I left feeling lucky that I wasn't fined, or worse--tied to a torture rack in some immigration office dungeon.

Now I'm out a small fortune and have no cigars to show for it. The question remains, was I treated fairly? Or, more importantly, was it legal?

Alan Kleinfeld
Somerville, Massachusetts

Editor's reply: We sympathize with your plight, but it proves once again that U.S. Customs is playing hardball when it comes to Cuban cigars. Removing bands from legal cigars outside the United States is a mistake; it plays into Customs' hands by making you unable to prove your cigars are not Cuban. Was it legal? You can fight it, but you damaged your own case by mixing in Cubans. Was it fair? We never said confiscating someone's personal smokes was fair.

* * *

Dear Marvin,

I love my wife, and feel she is the kindest, most understanding and generous person I've ever met. She is always unselfish, and takes into account other peoples' needs. I could go on and on about my better half, but I'm sure you get the point. I am one lucky man to spend my remaining years with her.

I am a police officer and have been on shift work for many years. My wife and I have also opened a restaurant, which we started from the ground up. If that's not enough to keep us busy, we also have four children. Two of them are toddlers, just getting out of diapers. Our lives are full, and are duties occupy the entire day.

To make the most of our quiet times, we really kick back and relax when time affords it. Life is full of simple pleasures and momentary pauses of tranquillity. In a busy lifestyle like ours, we make the most of these moments.

Last year a friend of mine returned from a vacation in Cuba. He brought back five Cuban Montecristos for me to try. I had tried a few cigars in my life, but never the real thing! I waited for a special occasion, sat down, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I was about to say "this is better than sex," when I caught my wife's eye and refrained. The cigar has to take a back seat to some things in life.

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