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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
Premier Issue, Autumn 92

(continued from page 23)

This morning I went to my tobacco store to pick up my usual two boxes of cigars, which lasts me about two weeks, and I showed the May 26th USA Today article on cigars to Richard Hopkins Jr., the owner. He smiled as he read it, and then reached under his counter and showed me the Feb. 15 issue of The Wine Spectator. I was as much taken in by the "The Allure of Cuban Cigars" article as he was with the USA Today article. Result, we both are ordering the premier issue.

Also, as an aside, we both love wine. In fact, I am enjoying a bottle of it while attempting to type this letter.

I have been smoking cigars since I was 18 years old. Should I make it, and at this point there seems to be absolutely no reason why not, I will be 74 years old this September. The reason for this attitude (should I not be giving myself a "Kinahora?") is that I rarely have been to a doctor, never been in a hospital (as a patient), never had a physical checkup, enjoy the better things in life (although not as often as I'd like to, but it's "still there", have a wife who cooks and bakes everything from "scratch," will not eat chicken in any restaurant, and always have a glass of wine or brandy every night.

Why did I start to smoke cigars 57 years ago when I was 18? In 1936, I got a job in a foundry for $12 a week, damn glad to get it, pouring molten metal into a mold, by hand in a smoke-filled room with little ventilation, no masks, no goggles and beat-up gloves. The "older guys" there (25 or 26 years old) told me, "Kid, if you want to work here you better chew tobacco or smoke cigars." I chewed tobacco ONE TIME ONLY! Then I bought some 5 cents Amerada cigars and worked my way up to 10 cents Royalists. My cigar goal was to smoke a 25 cents La Palina or El Producto.

I worked in the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia for 15 years as a melter ($6.60 a day) pouring gold, silver, bronze and nickel, all by hand, in a smoke-filled room, no mask, no goggles but better gloves.

I used to smoke eight to nine cigars a day, but today have cut back to about four or five, only because of the cost, since a half-decent cigar could run at least $1.50 each. My wife does not object to my smoking in my home (I come with the cigar) but I will not smoke in front of people who object, like my daughter-in-law or anyone else. What do they know about the better things in life? They are brainwashed by screwball groups.

Anyway, in 1967, my wife and I went to Expo `67 in Montreal, Canada--you're probably too young to remember it. We had a lovely time and met some fine people. Among others, I visited the Cuban exhibit there and, of course, bought a box of Cuban cigars. I was told, much to my surprise, that I would have some problems getting those cigars across the border. (We were driving.) So I took the labels off the cigars and put the cigars in an empty U.S. cigar box.

As we arrived at Sault Ste. Marie, coming into the U.S., we were stopped at the border by the idiot custom people. One of them asked us where we had been (when we crossed over into Canada we were welcomed). When I told him we were at Expo `67 and he saw I was smoking a cigar, he asked if I had visited the Cuban exhibit.

I told him I did, as I did all of the other exhibits. In a very stern and arrogant voice, he asked me if I bought any Cuban cigars, like I was bringing in drugs. I told him no. I wanted to tell him it was none of his damn business, but my wife held me back. Anyway, the moron told me to open my trunk. I did, and he saw the box of unlabeled cigars. He asked if they were Cuban. I told him they were Canadian.

He did not believe me but had no choice (my wife was shaking), and I finally was permitted to cross to my own country. I cursed him and the unconstitutional law that made me lie.

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Comments   2 comment(s)

Gary Frandsen — Port Byron, Illinois, usa,  —  April 12, 2013 2:15pm ET

Dear Marvin:

After reading the latest edition of Cigar Aficionado,I realized that our article about Laurence Fishburne left out an acting credit. He was in the 1986 CBS TV Show
"Pee-wee's Playhouse" as Cowboy Curtis.
I do enjoy reading your magazine cover to cover and will be a life long reader. Thanks

john zakes jr — La Porte, Indiana, USA,  —  May 13, 2013 12:17pm ET

I have been a subscriber for at least 15 years. love the articles and especially the ratings. Enjoy the pictures also. I just wish they would print only pictures with the cigars actually lit. was no big deal for awhile but in the last year,I have seen people holding unlit cigars the wrong way!! the wedding pictures are really prone to this. just doesn't seem to be right-my opinion.

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