Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Danny DeVito, Winter 96
(continued from page 4)
SRA Nicholas A. DiTondo
Sgt. Israel Cruz-Colon
I am writing to you as a fledgling cigar aficionado (I am 22 and have been enjoying cigars for just over a year now) who has, for the first time, encountered the ugly tyranny of "cigar prejudice."
This unfortunate experience occurred on the first night of a recent family whitewater rafting trip down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. After a sumptuous dinner on the riverbank, my father, who introduced me to cigars, and I lit up Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur Banquets. Before long, we were joined by two fellow rafters, who had packed Arturo Fuentes in their waterproof luggage in the hope, like us, of finding cigar companions on the trip. Sharing a smoke on the first night of such a voyage was the perfect manner in which to savor the canyon's mystique as well as get acquainted with other travelers, since cigars can provide both a contemplative and social experience.
However, as we sat in camp around a butane lantern and puffed away, it was not long before, out of the growing darkness, arose the indignant cry, "Put out those damn cigars!" All of us were flabbergasted; first we were in, of all places, the Grand Canyon--it certainly couldn't be faulted as an enclosed space with limited ventilation. Second, on a trip of approximately 30 passengers, where everyone was encouraged to get to know everyone, the anonymous (although we later discovered who it was) cry of "damn cigars" we found to be a rather infantile response.
Nevertheless, the worst was yet to come. Shortly after this outburst, our trip guides came over to us on what they presented as a "diplomatic mission." In fact, they requested that we move with our cigars to a distant outpost of the camp which, ironically, was located next to the toilet facilities, a description of which is probably best left unwritten. Even our offer of cigars to any who would like to have joined us went unheeded. Hence, not wishing to tarnish such delightful smokes with such a pungent odor, we resigned ourselves to putting out half-smoked cigars.The next evening, before dinner was even arranged, the guides noted to the group that "for the smokers among us" there was a designated place at this campsite--a soggy mudflat just a short wade from the rest of the camp. So, there we sat, upon makeshift chairs (life preservers) and relished in our ostracism. Such exclusionary treatment continued until, by the last night of the trip, we were smoking off the back of the boats on which we had rafted.
Despite all, though, we enjoyed the majesty of the canyon, the company of new friends and, of course, the taste of fine cigars.
North Caldwell, New Jersey
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