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Out of the Humidor

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

(continued from page 4)

On the eve of my 19th wedding anniversary, two weeks after my 41st birth- day, I celebrated several blissful moments worthy of your readership. Any cigar smoker worth his ash would envy the time my family and I recently spent at the Elk River Inn and Touring Center.

We have always celebrated our anniversary by taking a vacation trip to the North Carolina mountains or South Carolina coast, with a couple of Caribbean cruises for good measure. Never, before this trip, had our children tagged along. However, this ski trip to the West Virginia mountains would not be complete without them.

We left home two days after Christmas and didn't encounter snow until we crossed through the tunnel separating Virginia from West Virginia. By the time we got off the interstate, we were driving through a veritable blizzard. The first night we were too tired to do anything but crawl into our warm cozy beds.

The next day, after sleeping in late, we spent snow tubing and shopping for ski attire. After returning to our cabin, I poured myself a stiff Scotch, stepped out onto the covered porch and fired up my La Gloria Cubana Robusto. By then it was nearly midnight, and an unearthly calm had settled around the former sheep ranch as I walked down the drive, across the Elk River bridge, to the main highway. The winter stars twinkled brightly in the night sky as I contemplated the nearly finished day, and interestingly enough, it was still snowing in the cloudless night.

The next night, after a full day of strenuous Nordic skiing with my wife and daughters, the girls napped while my wife and I sipped bartender Mark's wicked hot chocolate in the inn.

Following a sumptuous Italian feast prepared by my gourmet wife in our cabin's kitchen, I played a challenging game of Scrabble with my youngest daughter before putting both daugh-ters to bed. As the witching hour again approached, I noticed that my wife had fallen asleep on the sofa. It was now or never!

After putting on my bathing suit and covering up with ski bibs, jacket, woolen socks, snow boots and ski gloves, I pulled my fleece ball cap over my head, poured myself two fingers of Glenmorangie, picked up my pocket humidor and trudged through two feet of snow to the nearby redwood hot tub perched on the deck behind the old farmhouse next door.

After stripping down to my bathing suit, I grabbed my Scotch and Fonseca pyramid and stepped daintily across the icy deck, immersing all but my head and hands into the 120-degree water. The snow actually sizzled as it hit the water, adding to the clouds of steam that were soon to be combined with my own smoke. As the snow landed in my glass, it released the wonderful flavor of my birthday whisky. I thought, this can't get any better! All I was missing was my beautiful, bikini-clad wife! OK--forget the bikini!

As I dictate this letter, the snow is tapering off and we are preparing for bed. A full day of Alpine skiing is planned for our anniversary, followed by a fabulous home-cooked meal by the inn's fireplace. And yes, I will try to improve upon the previous two evenings with my Arturo Fuente Gran Reserva Hemingway. Perhaps another letter to the editor will be in order!

Chuck Morgan
Charlotte, North Carolina


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