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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
Michael Douglas, May/Jun 98

(continued from page 1)

To top off that wonderful dinner, we sipped cappuccino and each smoked Cohiba Esplendidos; that cigar is as its name describes: splendid. Complemented by the steak dinner, the cappuccino and the company of my father and my two best friends, I must say that I have never enjoyed a cigar more.

As we smoked our exquisite cigars, we entertained each other with speculation on the fight. Nothing we anticipated, however, stood up to the reality of that infamous night. I thank the boxers for one thing, and one thing only: for providing the punctuation that ensured this special evening would never be forgotten.

Aaron Guy Leroux
Amston, Connecticut

* * *

Dear Marvin,

I hope you will allow me the privilege of paying a cigar-related tribute to some people who mean very much to me. I have been a subscriber from the beginning and can think of no better forum to do it.

I am a U.S. Army captain stationed in Korea with the 2nd Infantry Division, about 13 miles from the DMZ. I have been in the Army for a little over seven years now, taking the road less traveled and enlisting after graduating from college. I was an infantry- man ("grunt"), was later selected for and graduated from Officer Candidate School and commissioned as an infantry officer, and went through many courses of training such as Airborne and Ranger schools.

Ranger School is one of the nastiest courses in the military, especially during the winter months, and spans 72 days, taking place in desert, mountain and jungle environments, where there is no shelter, no sleeping bag and the luxury of only one MRE (Meal Rarely Edible) a day. This is where my tribute begins.

Between each phase, usually after parachuting into the next location, we sometimes were allowed to open "care packages" from loved ones back in civilization. The contents had to be consumed in a limited time, usually with the result of violent sickness because of shrunken stomachs for those who received the rich foods we craved and requested in the incoherent letters we had scribbled quickly.

I had that experience as well, but the gifts as great as gold were the Macanudos that my future wife mailed to me. Tobacco products were allowed to be taken into the patrolling phase, about 10 days in each environment. They could be smoked only in extremely limited quantities, but the joy of lighting a fine cigar during the medics' periodic foot checks for frostbite was indescribable. The moment of relaxation in between the stress, sleep deprivation and toll of exposure to the elements gave new energy for the next patrol. My wife's steady stream of letters and those cigars helped me make it through that ordeal.

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