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My husband, Tim, and I were married after knowing each other only six days, and we come from two completely different worlds. He was born and raised on a farm in Duluth, Minnesota, and I am from Chicago. I love the city, he loves the country. While he loves to hunt and fish, I love books and poetry and am content to be indoors. While he loves to go camping, my idea of "roughing it" is when a hotel has no room service. We are complete opposites.
Ever since we wed 14 years ago, I have tried to find ways to delve into his world of interests and make those interests my own so as to find more in common with my husband. A few years ago, Tim would go out every Monday night to play cards with the guys and watch ABC's "Monday Night Football."
So I began to watch "Monday Night Football" myself, learn about the plays, the players, the teams, etc., so that when he came home I'd be able to talk over the game with him. He was amazed when I would say, "Hey, did you see when so-and-so did such-and-such?" or "How 'bout those Bears!" It didn't take long before the guys were coming over to our house on Mondays, and I became an even bigger fan than Tim. Now, football is something we both love and, more than that, it's something we share.
I also did the same with golf (which is Tim's first love). I sat through endless hours of tournaments, again got to know who the players were, etc. I even learned to play a little, and now it's an annual event on Tim's birthday that we go golfing together.
This now brings me to the final frontier: cigars. Tim loves cigars. We live on a somewhat modest income, but he has always loved the finer things in life--fine dining (he used to be a chef), golf and, of course, cigars. A few years ago, Tim discovered what he considers the ultimate pleasure--a fine smoke. He also discovered Cigar Aficionado. It takes him a month to get through one issue, as he reads it cover to cover. This newfound interest of Tim's did not please me in the least. Cigars were stinky, an unnecessary indulgence and a bad habit, as far as I was concerned. He has smoked cigars for a few years now, and I have been adamantly opposed as well as extremely uninterested in the whole thing (although it did make it easier to shop for Tim for Christmas and birthdays). This was one of Tim's pastimes I could not, would not attempt to share with Tim.
One day last summer I got up early and sat on our deck soaking up the peace and quiet of the morning. I felt like reading and found a Cigar Aficionado Tim had been absorbing the night before. I brought it outside and, alas, I was enthralled with the articles and everything else behind the glossy cover. I was hooked. Since then, I too am an avid reader and the first to purchase the magazine off the newsstand. I usually place the new edition on Tim's pillow, and he's always surprised and grateful that I had thought of him (he just doesn't know that when he's asleep I grab it and read it, too). But there was still the matter of my negative feelings toward the cigar smoking itself.
About a month ago, Tim and I went out to a nice pool hall. I love to play pool, but I soon realized there was an ulterior motive in his choice of places to play pool. This particular place has a huge cigar selection, and everyone can enjoy a good smoke without the usual stares and comments from non-cigar smokers. When Tim perused the display case of cigars for what seemed like forever, then picked one, I was very disappointed. He was actually going to puff on that reeking tube while we shot pool! But my enthusiasm for the game outweighed my disgust, and we went to pick a table and (finally) started to shoot. We played game after game while he took puff after puff. Would that darn cigar ever end, I asked myself?
I still cannot believe what happened next. When Tim went to get us something to drink, I took my shot, missed, then sat and waited for him to come back. So there I was, waiting. Then I looked at the cigar. I looked again. "No, I shouldn't," I thought. "I can't," I thought. "It would be really disgusting to take a puff of that tobacco sausage they call a cigar," I said to myself. Tim had been after me for so long to just try it, but I had always refused, no matter how long he extolled the virtues of cigars, no matter how endlessly he described the variety of tastes that could be enjoyed in just one smoke. I never believed a word of it. But that cigar beckoned me.
I walked over to it. I looked at it. I touched it. Then I picked it up. It felt good between my fingers. I then did what I had always considered the unthinkable. I lit it. I took a puff. I took another, this time a little longer. I savored the flavor of it. I sat on a chair and I found that I enjoyed each puff more than the last. So this is what all the talk is about! Why didn't I listen? I realized then how much pleasure I had missed out on.
When Tim came back to the table, his mouth dropped in shock at what he saw--his wife, who had for so long rebelled against the idea of smoking a stogie, in her own little world, relaxed, head tilted back, eyes closed, not even in a hurry to resume her all-time favorite sport. The look of sheer pleasure on Tim's face at seeing me with a cigar between my lips could not possibly compare to the look of pleasure on my own face.
Since that night we have discovered another common interest. We often go out on the deck, even when it's freezing cold outside, and lose ourselves to that world to which only a fine cigar can take us. Only now, we go to that world together. Love and a fine cigar--what more can one ask out of life?
On June 7, the Detroit Red Wings took the Stanley Cup in a sweep of the Philadelphia Flyers! I had a wonderful day with family and friends.
The day started out sunny and beautiful, a picture-perfect day to enjoy a hometown team winning the most coveted prize in all of hockey. I have played hockey since I was six years old, and have been a Red Wings fan ever since I could skate. I have seen that team go through some very rough seasons, but I always enjoyed watching them play.
From the old Olympia Arena to the new Joe Louis Arena, fans from all over were dedicated to that team! I know many people will say that their hometown team has the most dedicated fans, but after I saw how many fans showed up for our team's parade in downtown Detroit, I am convinced that the Red Wings have the most dedicated fans. Also, I can't describe to you the electricity that was felt inside Joe Louis Arena that night. It was something that I'll never forget. I was hugging and slapping high-fives with people I didn't even know, and it was great!
Anyway, back to Saturday, June 7, 1997. I had a party at my home in St. Clair Shores, and family and friends came to enjoy the historic event. To start it off, I hand-painted the Red Wing logo in my front lawn for everyone in my neighborhood to enjoy. Then, the party started! We enjoyed the game in my garage, because I have a 10-month-old, and I promised my wife to never smoke cigars in our home. I started off the evening with a Zino No. 6, one of my favorite cigars. I was kind of disappointed to see it rated so low in the August 1997 issue--maybe your tasters had a bad batch! After Darren McCarty scored the second goal of the game to give the Wings a 2-0 lead, I lit up a Por Larrañaga Fabuloso--another favorite. During this time, my father, father-in-law, uncle and friends were all enjoying cigars. Then the moment came: the Wings won, and Steve Yzerman was hoisting the Stanley Cup! My friends and I lit up Cuban Montecristo No. 1s! Nothing will describe that feeling: an excellent cigar, my favorite hockey team winning the Stanley Cup, and sharing that experience with my family and friends! The moment was awesome. We partied the rest of the night! Way to go, Red Wings!!
St. Clair Shores, Michigan
Here's one for romance! In May, while traveling in Paris, France, I came upon a wonderful discovery: Cuban cigars. Is it true what they say about these? Realizing that I would be in Paris for only 10 days, I knew that it would require a lot of sampling to get through all of the different varieties at hand. I tried Romeo y Julietas, Montecristos and Cohibas, and felt that the Romeo y Julietas were the find of the year!
I had imagined Paris to be number one in the fashion industry. Imagine how surprised I was when I could not find anyone enjoying a cigar. This did not stop me; after dinner and a drink, I lit up a fine Cuban cigar! Shocked onlookers turned and whispered, "A woman smoking a cigar--oh, my!" They watched, I smoked! They stared, I smiled and smoked some more.
Then the bravest man would approach and inquire about this. "Did I enjoy smoking cigars?" "Yes, very much so!" "Where are you from with that accent?" "Los Angeles, California." "Oh! This could only happen in California." They were so inquisitive. This went on almost every night; they finally concluded this to be sexy.
On my last night there, in the most romantic city, while enjoying my Romeo y Julietas, thinking how romantic things were--the name, the cigar, the town--the only thing missing was my Romeo. No sooner thought...a single stem, red rose appears...and a moment later a young gentleman approaches the table, intrigued by the woman with the cigar. After 10 questions, he wanted to enjoy also! We shared the cigar together. I then took the band off and set it on the table. He picked it up, memorized it and placed it on the table, then played with it--as though it were made of gold. I smiled and told him to be careful, that I would "make him my husband if he was not careful." He laughed and said, "I have always wanted an American wife!" We laughed.
Realizing that I had about 20 minutes left to my cigar, I agreed to be his American wife--for 20 minutes! He quickly asked for a kiss. Oh, Romeo!!!
Then he quickly asked for the honeymoon; wow, did this "French Romeo" move fast!! Enjoying my Romeo y Julieta, I laughed and told him that this was the honeymoon.
We then decided to go dancing. I had not found a dance place in Paris and wanted to try it all, so I agreed. He quickly tightened the band on his finger, reminding me that "I was his American wife!" Off to Moulin Rouge, to dance all night, with my new French husband, who was my husband for nine hours until he kissed me goodbye and off I went to the airport. Who knew that one cigar could make for such a romantic event!
I just wanted to present this poem to you to say thanks. Thanks for a great magazine and for bringing me together with others who enjoy the finer things in life. As an entrepreneur, I have a great appreciation for anyone who has the guts to put his money where his vision is and take on the risk of starting such a venture. It's people like yourself who ought to be admired in our society today, instead of our current crop of human debris. Anyway, I wrote this poem to honor one of my favorite passions and to all those likewise who savor one of God's greatest gifts to mankind -- a CIGAR! My best to you and to all those at Cigar Aficionado.
A cigar is a smoke it's plain to see,
One of life's little treasures it ever will be
On a warm Summer's day or a crisp Autumn's eve,
A cigar is delightful to give or receive.
From its smooth, silky wrapper with its bright oily sheen,
To the binder and filler that lies in between.
From its spicy aroma to its wafting blue smoke,
Light up in sorrow or while telling a joke.
When others around you just don't understand,
Smoke to the freedom you hold in your hand.
When life's constant worries leave you in a huff,
Just burn them away with each savored puff.
From Churchill to Burns, to Kipling to Twain,
Each cherished joining tobacco to flame.
At the end of the day there's no better greeter,
Than a cigar wrought with the scent of a humidor's cedar.
Hecho A Mano, it's made by hand,
Nourished by sunlight in a tropical land.
You can search the World over near and far, But please, if you do, take a cigar!