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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
Denzel Washington, Jan/Feb 98

Dear Marvin,

In celebration of my 50th birthday, my lovely wife, Jane, surprised me with a trip to Italy. While in Rome, on Saturday evening the night before Easter, Jane (my wife is no fool, she bought tickets for two) and I entered a quaint café for a cappuccino and a lemoncello cordial. We were having a splendid time, enjoying the rich history and abundant art of this ancient city, but for one hitch: I had no cigars. I found myself craving a good smoke and, not knowing where to find one, especially at 11:45 p.m., resigned myself to an evening unfulfilled and frustrated. Jane, however, scoped out the place and immediately spotted an Italian man, perhaps in his late 60s, puffing away on a corona. Wasting no time, I asked him if he purchased the cigar nearby. Fortunately for me, his friend interpreted my question, as he spoke no English and I little Italian. The answer was a disappointing "no." I thanked him and as we turned to walk away, the friend said the man would like to know if I would like to have a cigar. My broad grin serving as a universal affirmative, he held out a box, opened it to reveal his last cigar, and gestured for me to take it. Shaking my head, I motioned that I couldn't possibly take his last cigar. Determined that I have it, he sternly gestured again that I take it. I did. He would have no part of accepting my offers to pay for it or to buy him a drink. As I lit the cigar, our eyes met, his as if to say, "I hope you enjoy it," and mine replying, "Thank you for your kindness." I shall never forget the encounter.

Roy E. Corso
Parkland, Florida


Dear Marvin,

First of all, I'd like to start off by saying that although this is a fish story, it's not a fish story. A couple of friends and myself were out salmon fishing on the Sacramento River in my boat. We had been there for a couple of hours with no luck, so I decided to enjoy a dark beer and one of my prized Arturo Fuente 8-5-8s.

As any good cigar does, mine brought me luck within about 20 minutes. My fishing rod went down, I sat my beer down, placed my cigar in my mouth and started fighting the fish. Life was good!

For a minute. As I fought the fish, I pulled back hard on my rod. Too hard. I brought up the rod right into the end of my cigar. Of course, the line got in the way and...Bink! Fish gone. Well, as if losing the fish and tackle set wasn't bad enough, have you ever tried smoking a fine cigar with monofilament fishing line mixed in? Don't. This really wreaks havoc on the taste.

Well, I'm not one to give up easily, even though my buddies were needling me something terrible, so I rigged up my fishing rod and cast out again. I then tried to knock off as much of the melted plastic as I could from the end of my cigar. I managed to accomplish this and had just started enjoying the smoke when my rod went down again! I grabbed my rod and began to fight the fish. This time I attempted to put my cigar down, but as I did it slipped and went overboard!

Well, this fish story kind of ends on a happy note. When I reeled the fish to the boat, I came to the end of my line. Wrapped around my hook was some fishing line! One of my buddies pulled the line in by hand and it was the same fish that had cost me my cigar. Twice!

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