Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Greg Raymer, Sept/Oct 2004
(continued from page 3)
Union, New Jersey
Editor's note: I think you are being a bit harsh on Ms. Stone. Many movie sets have become nonsmoking. And she, unlike some knee-jerk antismoking zealots, has made a point of how much she used to love a cigar. In several public interviews she has defended cigar smoking. Asking that cigar smoking not take place in a closed environment where she is working is probably not an unreasonable request.
Not too long ago I was fortunate enough to take a cruise down to the Caribbean and had a cigar experience that I'd like to share with you.
I started smoking cigars about 10 years ago with a handful of buddies with whom I go camping. As a result, cigars for me have always been about quiet pleasures and good company.
So when the cruise ship we were on pulled into George Town in the Cayman Islands, I made a mental note to treat myself to a couple of fine Cuban cigars. My wife and I planned to see the town anyway, so it wouldn't be that difficult to find a cigar shop. Obviously, I wasn't the only person to have this thought. As soon as we got off the boat, I was confronted by a line of tourists who were all in the process of lighting up Cuban cigars. Seems that the locals knew what people wanted and an enterprising soul had set up a tiny kiosk at the end of the dock to meet the demand.
Now, it was a hot day with not a cloud in the sky. The dock didn't have anyplace to sit and barely any shade of which to speak. But all these guys were too busy puffing on their forbidden pleasures to even care. They stood around sweating and smoking and looking remarkably happy with themselves because of it. But that wasn't for me. Much as I craved a cigar, I knew my wife didn't want to stand around in the sun waiting for me to finish my smoke and I knew that wasn't how I wanted to enjoy it. So I passed up the opportunity in favor of a little sanity.
George Town is a great place filled with bright, sunny shops and warm, friendly people. We wandered around for hours, taking in the sights, talking with the merchants, buying a few souvenirs and generally enjoying the day. As often happens in the Caribbean after a long, hot morning, a sudden thunderstorm appeared just as we were entering a secluded little courtyard filled with small boutiques. The courtyard also had one real-life cigar shop. The dark clouds had rolled in with amazing speed and lightning now flashed across the sky. The thunderclaps were so loud that they echoed off the buildings and sent people running for cover.
My wife, who had noted my restraint so far, took one look around and said: "Why don't we go into the cigar shop and wait it out. You can get your Cubans." I knew there was a reason why I married that woman. So we ducked into the open doorway of the store. The shop was just a tiny one-room establishment with shelves and shelves of cigar boxes. Like some ancient bookstore, the boxes were stacked in any manner that would accommodate them and the aroma of finely aged tobacco hung in the air, both rich and inviting. The owner welcomed us in with a broad smile but then excused himself, saying that he had to go out and get his birds. Without another word he ran out the back door of the shop. Needless to say, my wife and I followed him.