Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Jack Nicholson, Summer 95
(continued from page 1)
Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, has a "Resolved Through Sharing" program for grieving parents who have lost their newborn child.
The program gives the personal belongings of the child to the parents in a decorated cigar box. The volunteer staff of the hospital decorates the donated boxes.
This program has met with great success and is a comfort to the parents during their time of sorrow.
The purpose of this letter is to request that your readers save their cigar boxes for this project and forward them to: Patricia A. Reynolds, R.N., 11041 North 41st Place, Phoenix, Arizona 85028.
Making your readers aware of this wonderful project will bring joy to someone in a time of need and a good feeling to all those who contributed.
Kelly P. Reynolds
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Recently, on a business trip to South Lake Tahoe, I decided to go down to the Casino at Caesar's Tahoe and try my luck at the blackjack tables. This particular evening, the casino was very crowded. I walked all around the casino looking for a nonsmoking table. I am so accustomed to smoking my cigars outdoors, I never think to smoke them indoors where they may offend someone.
The only open table in the whole casino was a $25 smoking table. Feeling lucky, I sat down. Each of the other five players were all smoking cigarettes. After a half hour of cigarette smoke filling the table, the five cigarette-smoking friends all turned to me, almost in unison, and sarcastically asked me, "This smoke doesn't bother you? Does it?" I politely replied, "No. Not at all."
I decided it was now time. I reached into my jacket pocket and pulled out my favorite cigar. I cut a perfect cat's eye with my cutter and took several matches to assure a good light. Then, with a cloud of delicious smoke surrounding the table, I looked to my tablemates and asked them, "This smoke doesn't bother you, does it?"
It was an outstanding turn of fortune. Just then the dealer gave me my first blackjack of the evening. My smoking companions cleared out quickly, only to be replaced by a more friendly group of cigar-toting gents who couldn't help but be pulled to my table by the familiar scent of a good cigar.
Herbert R. Solomon
* * *
I must confess that I am a cigar-loving immigration inspector stationed at Cincinnati International Airport, and as I write this letter I am enjoying a Dunhill Montecruz #210. I began reading your "Out of the Humidor" section in the March 1995 issue when I caught sight of the words "Customs" and "Cincinnati" in one of the letters. Aside from some of Mark Twain's tales, S.P.'s letter was one of the most interesting stories I have ever read.
S.P. and his friend seem to forget it is against the law to import Cuban cigars into this country, unless you are one of the few Americans permitted to travel to Cuba. Daisy, the Customs Service narcotics dog who alerted customs officers to S.P.'s friend, is unable to respond to S.P.'s letter due to anatomical limitations.
As a gentleman, I feel compelled to defend her honor. Daisy is trained solely to alert to the presence of narcotics and not to detect Cuban cigars. Your readers should know that Daisy has a success rate of over 90 percent, and the majority of the remaining 10 percent have admitted to using dope or being at parties or clubs where dope was smoked. If Daisy was trained to alert to the odor of tobacco, she would hit on me and several other officers who smoke.
I keep a full humidor of Dominican cigars in my cigar-friendly office, and usually smoke two a day. Never once in three years has Daisy expressed any interest in me or my humidor, although she does like my candy jar. Any Cuban cigars found during the course of a search for narcotics would be incidental. Never once in my long career with the Immigration Service, working side by side with the Customs Service, have I seen a person referred for search because the officer thought he/she was carrying Cuban cigars.
Customs officers are charged with the enforcement of the laws of the United States. They do not make the laws, nor are they allowed to interpret them. Until such time as the policymakers in Washington decide to lift the embargo against Cuba, as much as it pains some of us, customs officers will continue to seize and destroy Cuban cigars. I have personally witnessed the destruction of thousands of Cuban cigars, and in the case of a box of H. Upmann Sir Winstons, I was nearly brought to tears.
As I stated earlier, I truly enjoy a great cigar. I have resigned myself to the fact that Cuban cigars are not permitted to be imported into the United States, and until such time as they are, I limit myself to enjoying the fine cigars crafted in the Dominican Republic and Honduras.
What S.P., his friend and your readers must remember is that smuggling Cuban cigars, or any other items, into the United States is a crime. If you get caught, the cigars will be destroyed and all you will have left is a "lousy receipt." If you do get caught, please try to remember that the customs officers are just doing their job, and that, for many officers, destroying Cuban cigars is not something they look forward to when they get up in the morning.
Brian D. Nicholas
Cincinnati International Airport
K-9, U.S. Customs Service
Cincinnati International Airport
* * *
This letter is for wives who condemn or merely tolerate their husband's cigar smoking.
When my husband started enjoying an occasional cigar, I accepted it reluctantly, but used the opportunity to sit with him. He asked me to try a puff, and I was surprised at the fine taste of a good cigar. Before long, I was sharing so many of his cigars that I started buying my own. Now we often enjoy cigars together; sometimes with a good Bourbon. And we relax, listen to music and talk.
Cigar smoking has done wonderful things for our 15-year marriage.
To those who cannot tolerate their partner's cigar smoking: "Ladies! Wise up! You're missing a great opportunity, as well as a tasty, relaxing past-time!"
Penfield, New York
* * *
Years ago as a journalist I spent a week in a small Mexican town with John Wayne, the late, great movie star who loved cigars. At that time, while working on a story I would smoke up to 10 inexpensive, but quite good, cigars. They were long and black, as slim as Wayne himself. He saw me smoking one on the set of his movie, Cahill, and asked if I had a spare. I said sure, and gave him one.
At the time I had brought only one box with me and they were getting low. Every day thereafter, Wayne would ask if I had another cigar. He liked them and apparently had run out of his own brand. On a break I went to the local town and searched for a cigar. None were for sale in the entire town. I was running short, and if Wayne kept smoking mine I would be lost in Mexico without a cigar. And then it happened. I ran out. Wayne was disappointed. In desperation I started rummaging around the set and came upon a box of what looked like cigars. I lifted one, lighted up and spit it out. It was a prop cigar--no tobacco, all brown paper.
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