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Dear Marvin,

The contagious effect of a cigar never ceases to amaze me. I have just returned from the Hootie and the Blowfish concert here in Dallas. My best friend and I are avid cigar enthusiasts, and chose general admission lawn seating tickets so we could enjoy the show and smoke our newly purchased Fuente Fuente Opus X double coronas.

When we arrived at the show, the ushers were asking that we sit as close to the people near us as possible because of the large crowd. My friend and I were naturally concerned that our cigar smoking was going to cause problems and complaints, but we went for the light-up anyway. There we were: a beautiful September night, good food and drink, great music and two towering cigars.

We could see the faces of people cringe and frown, but we couldn't hear what they were saying as we puffed away when the lights went down. Within minutes, the person behind us said with great excitement, "Can I buy a cigar from you? What a great way to enjoy the night!" My friend and I have a long-honored tradition that we always carry extra cigars and never accept money for one. We gave our new friend a cigar, and our enjoyment got larger. Moments later the ladies to our left were curious and we gave them a cigar that they shared. The woman to my right leaned over and said that she loved the smell of my cigar, and I gave her the Opus X wrapper for her reference to buy for her husband.

Before we knew it, the surrounding participants on blankets were all enjoying the cigars, the music and the beverages. Hootie played slightly longer than the smoke of my double corona, but the memories of the night will last for a long time.

Thanks, Cigar Aficionado, for creating the public awareness that allows us all to enjoy events without having to sacrifice the pleasure of our cigar smoking.

Matt Manero


Dear Marvin,

I am the owner of a funeral home in a largely populated Cuban area in New Jersey and an avid cigar smoker and reader of Cigar Aficionado. One afternoon, two individuals came in to price pre-arranged funeral arrangements for their father. After some discussion of the type of funeral services they wanted, I left the arrangement office to make a phone call.

When I returned, one of the daughters had my current copy of Cigar Aficionado in hand. She questioned me on how long the publication has been in print.

Being of Cuban heritage, they were well versed in cigars and stated that their father was also a cigar smoker. They told stories of their father and how they missed the smell of cigars in their house since he could not smoke since becoming ill. I asked if they minded if I smoked during the conclusion of our discussion. They welcomed the opportunity to savor the aroma of a good cigar once again.

At the conclusion of our talk, they stated they had been at two other funeral homes in the area and decided to use our funeral home because of my love of cigars. They requested that their father's last Cuban cigar be buried with him. I assured them that the cigar would go with him.

Mark Bannworth
Bannworth Funeral Home
Elizabeth, New Jersey

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