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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
James Woods, May/Jun 97

(continued from page 1)

Over all, Cigar Aficionado is and has been a superior magazine. While I wouldn't know how to rate Cigar Aficionado by number, I do know it would be keyed to the word "Classic" on the Cigar Aficionado 100 point scale. Keep up the fantastic work!

Ian A. Paul
Orting, Washington

***

Dear Marvin,

This past Christmas I was so moved and excited at what happened that I had to write this letter. I come from a loving family who happen to despise smoking, be it a cigar or anything of the sort. I, on the other hand, have become very fond of the "art" of cigar smoking. However, of all the members of my family who dislike the act, my grandmother had a very interesting attitude toward my newfound passion.

At first, she frowned at my smoking and judged this as just a nasty habit. She even went as far as clipping out a newspaper article that simply did not paint a rosy picture about cigar lovers, and mailed it to my office. However, the more she noticed my love for a good cigar, the more she began to inquire about them. She had an interest in the variety of sizes, the unique shades, but most of all, she noticed the bands that would come off the cigar when I would light up, and wondered how I would dispose of them. This past Christmas morning, I finally found out why she was so curious about the cigar bands on my beloved cigars. The final gift under the tree was a rectangular box that I hadn't noticed until my grandmother placed it on my lap. She said, "This is a special gift, a family heirloom if you will. Go ahead, open it." So I did.

What was inside might not mean very much to some people, but to me it was a treasure. I opened the box to find a notebook, a very old, dusty, faded notebook. As I looked closer, engraved on the outer front cover was the name of my grandfather, whom I happened to be very close with before he passed away four years ago in March. When I opened the notebook, I was overwhelmed to see my grandfather's 74-year-old cigar band collection that he compiled as a young boy. This notebook contains thousands of cigar bands, all in order by brand, all labeled in his boyhood handwriting. My grandmother was so full of emotion as she began to explain how my grandfather would rummage below grandstands as a child, looking for the cigar bands that would be left behind following an election or a celebration, to add to his favorite pastime.

I thanked my grandmother with all my heart for this wonderful gift. She may or may not understand how much it meant to me, since the feeling that came over me was indescribable, although, once again I felt close to my grandfather.

Dan Lilly
Walnut Creek, California

***

Dear Marvin,

I was looking forward to enjoying some fine cigars on a recent trip to Chicago. Considering the city's past history, I assumed it to be a cigar friendly town. In fact, I was very pleased with the well-stocked humidors at several outstanding cigar shops and their knowledgeable and friendly staff who supplied me with a wonderful array of Dominicans and Hondurans. With my travel humidor in hand, I set out to enjoy a nice long smoke at a local hotel.

I called the Four Seasons Hotel and was told that my cigars and I would be welcomed.
My actual experience could not have been further from the truth. The hotel set aside a small room with a bar for the "smokers." Unfortunately, this evening the room was closed for a "private party." I was relocated to the main lounge and was told by the maître d' that, 'yes,' it was OK to enjoy my Montecristo Churchill and a single malt Scotch. No sooner did I remove the cigar from my burlwood travel case than a waiter rushed to tell me that my cigar could not be smoked in the hotel lounge. An inquiry to the maître d' revealed that a couple sitting on the other side of the lounge had complained (I hadn't even lit the cigar!) and the hotel's "policy" was that if any patrons object, you cannot smoke a cigar. It was offered that I sit in the lobby until some others had finished tea and it would be OK to smoke there. Not wanting to light up my favorite cigar only to have to put it out, I left feeling bewildered, betrayed and misled.

Imagine my anticipation, shortly after this experience, in looking forward to a skiing trip to Park City, Utah, with my trusty travel humidor in my ski bag. With the thought of nothing better than a great smoke in the great outdoors, I was dismayed to find that Utah's Clean Air Act "prohibits smoking in any public building or place." The only place you can smoke a cigar, it seems, is if the cigarette smokers allow you in a private club!

But I found what it takes to enjoy the warmth and comfort of a lit cigar in hand (or glove)--peace and quiet on skis at 10,000 feet atop the summit!

Robert M. Kershner, M.D.
Tucson, Arizona


Editor's note: In the March/April 1997 issue of Cigar Aficionado, Rich Andresen of Dallas wrote to complain of the treatment of cigar smokers at The Broadmoor resort in Colorado. Here is The Broadmoor president Stephen Bartolin Jr.'s reply.

To: Rich Andresen

I really appreciate your taking the time from what I know is a very busy schedule to share your thoughts and comments concerning your recent stay. I am glad that, overall, you had a pleasant time and enjoyed The Broadmoor and I am grateful for your candid comments concerning our cigar smoking policy.

Honestly, when I read your letter, I was embarrassed. I couldn't agree more with you. I think it is very outdated. In fact, we are designing a room right now, just the way you suggested, as a special bar lounge dining area for cigar lovers, specializing in fine after-dinner drinks.

We will get this straight-ened out, Mr. Andresen. I appreciate your, bringing it to my attention.

Stephen Bartolin, Jr.
President, The Broadmoor
Colorado Springs, Colorado

***

Dear Marvin,

Recently, I came down with a head cold that progressively worsened. Tired and run down, I refrained from my favorite pastime, you guessed it, cigars. I thought, why ruin a perfectly good cigar when feeling so bad. Being reduced to napping, sneezing, resting and medicating, I felt I couldn't possibly enjoy it. On the second evening of my ordeal, I said to myself, why not have one. If it makes me feel worse, I'll just put it down.

To my amazement, immediately after lighting, I started feeling better. Not only did my nose clear up, my body aches went away. Now I don't claim to have been cured, but I started feeling better instantly. After smoking my cigar, the symptoms never quite returned to their previous severity. I bounced back immediately, getting off the couch and helping my wife with the dinner dishes and even the laundry. Could I have stumbled onto a cure for the common cold? Maybe not, but I'm convinced that it may be the next best thing to it.

It wouldn't be fair to reveal the name of this "miracle" stogie for fear others won't have the same results or may refrain from using accepted medical practices. If this information were to leak out, I fear I'd never be able to get them again from my favorite tobacconist. Some drug company might even try to slap a patent on it, too! Oh, I can see it all now--the doctor says, "Take two cigars and call me in the morning."

With all this in mind, you can bet that the next time, I'm not going to wait so long to start feeling better.

David A. McLaughlin
Erie, Pennsylvania


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